How To Launch Your Cannabis Brand Into The Metaverse with Wes McQuillen

Cannabis Brands and Retailers, Get Ready to Light Up Virtual Reality

While much of the population is still scratching their heads over how to access the metaverse, this new frontier is already attracting some of the world’s biggest mainstream brands. Stores, meetup spaces, and branded experiences are popping up all over virtual reality, but are cannabis businesses ready to light up this space?

There are massive crossovers between gamers and cannabis audiences, and with over 400 million metaverse monthly active users and an estimated market size of over $38.5 billion, understanding the space and what’s possible could greatly benefit your cannabis business before meta real estate becomes unaffordable

We are joined by award-winning marketer Wes McQuillen, Principal at ALTER Strategies, as he sheds light on the platforms, currencies, strategies, and metrics cannabis businesses need to know to build an engaging experience for their digital customers. We’ll start with understanding what your target audiences enjoy about virtual reality, the events and experiences they are interested in, and how you can make it affordable.

During the webinar you will discover:

  • How to create the kind of experiences that align with target audience personalities and the events they love: DJ sets, art shows, night clubs, meetups, etc.
  • How brands can use NFTs for direct relationships with customers, plus the best beginner wallets.
  • How to connect social platforms like instagram with virtual meta experiences
  • What cannabis brands shouldn’t spend money trying to build in the metaverse (for now, anyway)

Are you ready to push the bounds of virtual cannabis eCommerce? Then, join us and start building long-term brand equity with your cannabis customers.

Webinar Highlights

Strategies to Activate a Cannabis Brand in The Metaverse

00:07:13 – 00:11:18: Jake Litke, CEO of MediaJel, and Wesley McQuillen, Principal and CMO of Alter Strategies,  discuss the intersection of the cannabis industry and the metaverse. They mention the nascent status of the cannabis industry, particularly its legality, and growth over a relatively short period.

Inside the metaverse, the cannabis industry has employed a few notable strategies thus far. Examples include sponsorships at a music festival that ran for a few days and one cannabis brand that designed and launched a dispensary in the metaverse. Wesley McQuillen mentions Decentraland, a decentralized metaverse platform where individuals own virtual assets such as land, avatars, and collectibles.

Wesley discusses some cannabis brands that gained attention but were not successful in sales. Specific examples include the introduction of NFT collectibles and wearables in virtual spaces, with considerations for their impact on brand awareness versus actual sales in the virtual world.

Hiring A Metaverse Consultant: What To Look For

00:19:52  – 00:25:47: Jake Litke and Wesley McQuillen explore the challenges of selecting the right consultant to help with merchandising, specifically for someone unfamiliar with emerging fields in the cannabis industry like web3 and digital marketing. Given the absence of governing bodies in these evolving domains, they focus on discerning between genuine expertise and self-certification.

Wesley McQuillen shares the difficulty of finding the right consultant given the abundance of self-proclaimed experts on platforms like LinkedIn. He emphasizes the importance of humility and transparency in true experts, who refrain from making overconfident claims or guarantees. The discussion suggests that those who refer to themselves as “web3 experts” might not be reliable, as genuine experts will acknowledge the ongoing experimentation and lack of established best practices in these evolving fields.

Wesley gives practical advice for selecting a consultant with a proven track record by tracing blockchain wallet transactions over an extended period. He encourages individuals to seek references and tangible results rather than relying on social media followings, which may not reflect true expertise.

Finally, Wesley stresses the importance of skepticism, humility, and provable bodies of work when selecting a web3 consultant, particularly in the cannabis industry.

How to Join The Metaverse as a Cannabis Brand

00:38:27  – 00:48:11: For cannabis brands interested in joining the metaverse, Jake Litke and Wesley McQuillen cover the initial steps, potential strategies, and considerations for costs and compliance.

Wesley McQuillen cautions against impulsive spending on virtual land without a clear activation plan. Instead, he advises new users to familiarize themselves with the metaverse platforms. He recommends experimenting with scavenger hunts to gain exposure and understand each platform’s usability, controls, and user demographics.

For a cannabis brand looking to enter the metaverse, Wesley suggests aligning virtual strategies with existing real-world marketing efforts. Collaborating with established events or entities within the metaverse can be a practical approach, leveraging existing audiences rather than attempting to build one from scratch.

Although there are no written laws governing cannabis in the metaverse, Wesley stresses adhering to the spirit of compliance. He highlights the importance of age-gating, signage, and other measures to ensure responsible engagement.

Wesley cautions against building a virtual dispensary without a strategy, as regular e-commerce might be more efficient. Instead, use the metaverse for event-based activations with a precise time, place, and objective, because successful metaverse endeavors require thoughtful planning and marketing efforts beyond virtual construction.

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