Empowering Growth: How to promote my offerings and attract the right investor
Entrepreneurial business development executive who brings ideas and people together for the delivery of new products and services to market. The start-ups that I helped found have produced a variety of innovative applications and new businesses with measurable results. They range from downloadable marketing and educational tools to custom digital signage to on-demand apparel manufacturing. Founding partner of Whimsy Rose, a print on demand apparel brand; which has produced and sold over $20 million worth of apparel through its in-house developed production system. - https://www.whimsyrose.com/ Founded AppWare’s, creators of Deskplayer, - a marketing application design company that produced apps generating over a million downloads for brands ranging from Sony Music to Budweiser, to Marvel. Developed, and delivered customized video delivery and educational communications tools for corporations such as Deloitte Worldwide, to the Pharmaceutical industry for the on-demand delivery of accredited professional development educational courses to Physicians. New Initiatives: A co-branded community-based photo-apparel label and an On-Demand consumer profiling/persona services company. (ProfileNINJA) by http://statanalytics.ca & http://www.didanalytics.com Specialties: • Strategy for Business Development • Maximizing Sales • Analysis & Forecasting • Enterprise Sales to Senior Executives • Program Planning & Implementation • Product & Market Identification • Communication & Negotiation
SVP Digital Strategy
SVP Digital Strategy
Growth Marketing expert with over 10 years of experience leading Marketing Agency, Ad Network, and in-house Brand Marketing Teams. Jason is an expert in digital channels including Search Engines, Social Media Platforms, Programmatic Ad Exchanges, Influencer Networks, Email Automation, Content Marketing, and Partnerships. Jason’s accomplishments in these disciplines include surpassing industry performance benchmarks with both Fortune 500 companies and scaling startups, alike. Over the past 6 years Jason has worked with over 400 brands, many of which in the FinTech vertical and over 175 focused on Investor Acquisition initiatives associated with 9-figures of funding. DNA has developed unique first party investor data that has been instrumental in the success of these campaigns across Regulation A+, CF, and D raises. Jason has been showcased in Panel and Individual presentations at a high volume of Tech and Marketing conferences, along with his “Test. Optimize. Scale.” Podcast. He is also committed to a number of Thought Leadership content projects for 2020, including the Forbes Agency Council. Jason manages a Los Angeles team with experience in all aspects of the user journey.
Capital Raise Agency
"Dawson Russell has been helping brands and funds tell their story for the past 15 years. Focused on branding, media, and marketing he has managed more than 50 sponsor / fund campaigns. He believes in the art of story telling and using creative media to help bridge the gap from a “lead"" to an investor. Dawson founded Capital Raise Agency, a digital creative agency specializing in branding, media, and investor funnels to create brand awareness and investor leads for Regulation D, Regulation CF, and Regulation A offerings. He has worked with financial advisors and registered investment advisors for the past 15 years and has a complete understanding of the regulations and compliance needs throughout the RIA, broker dealer and sponsor channels. Articles about his work for sponsors has been published in Forbes, Real Assets Adviser, and more. Dawson’s clients have ranged from real estate, technology, crypto, hospitality, cannabis, B2B and B2C products, oil and gas, and the list goes on! He received a B.A. in Marketing from Dallas Baptist University in 2008."
Peter Daneyko 00:02
There’s my countdown. Okay. You think tech people would actually be good at tech some days?
Derrick Berney 00:14
Jason, I don’t think your camera is on.
Jason Fishman 00:18
Yeah, it looks like it was black on my side too, hold on just a second.
Derrick Berney 00:22
It’s showing your icon.
Peter Daneyko 00:26
Well, in 12 seconds, I’ll jump into a one-minute introduction, and then you guys are on Okay?
Peter Daneyko 00:45
All right, good day to everybody. I’m wishing everybody a terrific Tuesday. I’m Peter Daneyko of KoreConX. As we continue on day two of our KoreSummit talks empowering growth, today’s actually one of my favorite topics, is how to promote your offerings and attract the right investors. Well, this week, we focused on the cannabis sector. This topic relates to all industry sectors. As we know, regulation CF and Regulation A plus facilitate investor participate participation of both accredited and nonaccredited investors. And that’s the private industry and the public at large. Now, the messaging of telling your story has a lot of moving parts, like any marketing, you need to know your potential investor, audience, and budget accordingly. As companies look to get their message out to their audiences, it’s absolutely critical. They understand where to begin. That means lots of pre-planning questions. Do you already have a brand advocate base? Or are you starting fresh? What types of media should you use to tell your story such as video and what channels should you share your message with? Emails, social media publications, industry specific channels, you also need to be aware of what you can and what you can’t say and when. Just because you saw it being done elsewhere does not necessarily mean it’s compliant with the regulations. And most importantly, the SEC. Now, technology is here to get your message out there. But now also has the ability to efficiently manage 10s of 1000s of shareholders, which literally was unheard of not too long ago. In fact, a couple of private companies we work with have over 1 million shareholders on the cap table. Now. I say that because of the importance of pre-raise marketing for potential new investors, but also communicating with your existing investor base, now into the future, is all part of the mix. So today’s panel of seasoned marketing, and investor acquisition veterans are here to provide key insights into promoting your offering and attracting investors. Now, it’s my pleasure to introduce your moderator today from Digital Niche Agency, Jason Fishman. Jason, I turn it over to you.
Jason Fishman 03:05
Thanks, Peter, appreciate that introduction thinks it gives a good overview of the vertical and why this discussion is so important. As Peter mentioned, I’m with DNA. We’ve worked on over 300, investor marketing campaigns and collectively produced nine figures of capital. I’ve tried channels that have worked, and have run messaging that did not have optimized things to a point of effectiveness and able to share a lot of those learnings here today, but excited to be with the panelists and look at them, as the top agencies in the space for investor acquisition. That part of the planning determines how you’re going to get actual investors to your offering, get them to invest, and add enough volume to hit your goal. And want to start with the question. And even an intro for each team member. So we can go through the panelists and you could do an intro and explain why is it necessary to have investor acquisition. Why is it necessary to have a firm and how is this different from another marketing agency? Dawson? I know we’ve been on these panels before maybe you want to kick things off?
Dawson Russell 04:19
Absolutely. So Dawson Russell with Capital Raise Agency. We did our first Reg D offering about 13,14 years ago. So we’ve been in the capital raise space for a while and then over the last few years, obviously have transitioned over into more of the Reg CF Reg A space. But absolutely, I think it’s it’s a really, really great question to start off with, as far as you know, do you actually need an investor acquisition firm? How is that different from a marketing firm? And I think a lot of times what we find out is, you know, typically people are getting ready to do the raises. They’re obviously vetting In different companies, they’re having multiple calls. And, and sometimes we talked to issuers that have talked to what we would consider more of a traditional, you know, marketing agency, which I mean, there’s absolutely a ton of great ones out there. The problems that people run into is really when it comes to, you know, disclosures, and what can we say and what we cannot say, and, and so I think one of the things that we’ve tried to highlight in those conversations is listen, we realize everyone has a different fit for a particular agency, you know, I feel like we, you know, work well with other agencies in the space as well. But find someone that knows what they’re doing when it comes to, you know, regulation and sec and FINRA, and how they’re going to submit things to broker-dealers. And, so that’s the one thing that I would say, you know, when you’re looking at a marketing agency, yes, you want to find the best of the best, but find someone that has experience in this space and knows what exactly they can do and can’t do. Because unfortunately, you know, if something happens and something goes out, that shouldn’t have gone out, then everyone’s going to be in trouble. So that’s kind of how I would lead it off is you know, there’s a ton of great marketing agencies in this space. A lot of well obviously represented here on this call. And so I think just, you know, really know the difference between investor acquisition firms versus just a e-commerce or marketing firm that you could find anywhere.
Jason Fishman 06:28
And Jillian Bannister, honored right on the panel with you here as well, too. What are your thoughts on this? And can you give an intro on your firm?
Jillian Bannister 06:36
Sure. So Jillian Bannister, CEO of ascension, marketing, we, our offices in Canada, or Toronto and New York. So cover North American geography. We actually I totally agree with Dawson’s point of view on understanding and working with people and partners that understand the regulations, the SEC is really focused on making sure that everybody is following the regulations. So you really want to focus on, you know, creating a strategy that’s about pulling in best potential investors into your campaign versus pushing out your offer. And so there’s a lot of nuances and complexity, when it comes to language. And what you can and can’t do when you think about that framework that the SEC has put out there. You know, we’re a little bit, you know, unique in the sense that, you know, we started, we were marketing agency, 13 years old, I have been doing this a long time focused only in this in the capital, raising an investment management space, we actually started working on the capital raise space in the institutional market. And then obviously, with the advent of, you know, retail marketing campaigns moved into that space several years ago. I think the key thing, another key thing to think about when you’re choosing a marketing partner to work with is really making sure that they are able to understand your audience and get the right message. Messaging is one of the most critical aspects of it, it’s, you know, it’s kind of like fixing your furnace. It’s like words on a Word document. But it is actually a critical, critical part of your strategy when it comes to developing your campaign. Because it’s what is going to connect you to an investor, a potential investor that doesn’t know you and doesn’t have a relationship with you. It’s the way you’re going to drive engagement. So I would say that’s something that you really got to think about and ask the right questions when you are choosing a marketing partner.
Jason Fishman 08:51
Excellent. Excellent. So we’ve talked about compliance. Love how you pointed out pushing versus pulling of the messaging of the offer, as well as the audience and overall messaging as a whole. Derrick Berney, excited to have you here with us at cannabis dot wiki. Can you add to the discussion? Can you tell us more about your group?
Derrick Berney 09:12
Sure. So we’re a news and information resource about cannabis. Been in the space since legalization in Canada and come from a marketing background, usually doing media buys to generate leads. And when we have seen the cannabis market open up in in Canada decided to build a property so instead of having to buy traffic, you know, we could actually just generate it. So we’re part of Associated Press, Canadian Press routers, and Google News. When we put out three to five articles a day with long tails generating traffic SEO traffic for cannabis. We have about 2 million monthly uniques and Um, you know, we kind of just bring the cannabis community to it. So about the regulation and stuff, I would defer definitely to you guys, you guys are the experts in that. We’re just more of basically a news education resource that also there’s a law. I don’t know if you guys are aware of it up here, in Canada, it’s called C 45. Because we are federally legalized in Canada. There’s a law called C 45, which severely limits marketing and advertising. And so you’re not allowed to use celebrity endorsements, you’re not allowed to actually promote the consumption of cannabis. But one of the exemptions is if it’s newsworthy, or if it’s educational, so you can basically view cannabis wiki as a compliant landing page in that marketing funnel, where you can get the information out in a compliant way.
Jason Fishman 11:03
So being able to again, know the compliance and then find different workarounds. So if it’s an educational link, hey, now you are able to say more and talk about the product for the cannabis vertical further. The other thing that I want to add for investor acquisition and how we differ from another marketing agency, or even an internal marketing department because we do work with groups with full in-house teams, is the experience of the audience and the team. The experience in the sense of, we’ve all worked on a high volume of these campaigns, we know what the path forward looks like, from planning to month, one to month, two to different stages and extensions, to the closing messaging to what occurs in between rounds just did a webinar on nine things to do in between raises working with one client on their fifth round right now we can bring these insights to the table, the audience. The next piece, I would say, for my agency and what we do with advertising, what we do with outreach is our biggest value proposition, have over a million investor profiles with targeted client campaigns with this different than other third-party audience data that are available have a sense of those data sets and libraries as well too and can target accordingly for different investor profiles. And then the team being able to have a team of individuals I have media buyers who have worked on hundreds of campaigns content marketers are kind of high volume of these across different industries. So that’s what I’ve seen there. I don’t want to bucket everything together as investment crowdfunding, there’s Reg D for accredited investors only. Reg CF, retail and accredited as well as Reg A plus to both those audiences both different caps reg cf 5 million Reg A plus up to 75 million per year, not even touched on reg s, just looking at Reg D, Reg, CF and Reg A plus, What differences do you guys see in terms of marketing in terms of funnels, in terms of traffic sources, across each of these filings across each of these initiatives?
Jillian Bannister 13:17
One thing we’ve seen a lot of and we have a influence or network that we have access to, is that on the CF side that that, you know, really plays well, it’s an interest. You know, we’ve seen some great successes with some big companies doing that. But you know, one thing that I have seen a lot of or more recently is this narrative around having not just building an investor, database, or list or list of prospects, but building clients and customers alongside that. And I do see a lot of that conversation happening at the Reg CF level, where I don’t just want an investor, I want someone who buys into my brand, and who buys my product. So it is sort of a trend we’re seeing out there. And you can do both. I mean, with one of these raises and one of these campaigns.
Jason Fishman 14:17
Absolutely seeing those funnels.
Dawson Russell 14:21
Oh, go ahead, Jason.
Jason Fishman 14:23
Oh, was just saying seeing those funnels go from investor to customer and back and forth on the Reg CF and Reg A plus is huge. Dawson. Are you seeing that as well?
Dawson Russell 14:33
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we’ve definitely had campaigns where, either because of where they were at in the journey of their business, they didn’t have a customer base. And then the ones that have and it’s definitely when those things were, obviously, you know, is we’re doing kind of that discovery process. If we find out they have a huge customer base and a huge email list and a huge social following. I mean, I’d be lying if I said we weren’t a little bit more excited to jump into those type of raise. Because you just know, people that already believe in the product and already believe in the brand, the percentage of those that are going to potentially invest are so much higher and just so much warmer to the brand, you’re not having to do brand education, you’re not having to provide any type of credibility, as long as that brand has done a good job, obviously communicating to their base. And so, you know, it just gives people a little bit of a leg up to obviously start the campaign off on a good foot. And I think it’s also good at the same time that people are educated that, you know if you don’t have a customer base, and you don’t have a client list, that’s not the end of the world, it just does require a little bit more time and potentially a little bit more money to get things off the ground. So that’s one thing I would add, just as far as audiences go, you know, you’re going to have super, super warm audiences, if they’ve already bought your product, have it in their house, love using it and find out they can become a shareholder in your company, then yeah, you’ve You’re halfway there, you know. So I think that’s, that’s definitely something to look at.
Jillian Bannister 16:05
Yeah. And it’s interesting because if you think about your capital-raised campaign as also a brand-building campaign, I think that gets you a little further into it, and Dawson’s right. Like, if you don’t have that it’s not the end of the world, you’re just going to have to kind of come to terms with the fact it’s going to take more time, it’s going to take probably more dollars because you don’t have that brand recognition or at least the starting point of that brand recognition. So that’s just something also to be cognizant of when you kick off any, any raise you’re doing.
Jason Fishman 16:36
Almost like you have a first step of audience building so that you can take them further down that funnel and their consideration process where if you have that starting point, as Dawson’s mentioning of a large engaged funnel, large engaged audience you have that Headstart doesn’t mean you can’t do it just means you have to put more efforts into that audience building. Exactly. Yeah. Absolutely. Derek Are you seeing I didn’t mean to talk over there thinking I have a lag on my site.
Dawson Russell 17:06
To add real quick Jillian’s point, just I mean, I think it’s a great thing. Also, if you don’t already have that type of list to recognize that while doing this type of campaign, you are doing a massive brand awareness campaign. So while yes, you might not have someone invest day one or day 30, or ever, you might potentially grab them as a customer, depending on obviously what your business model is. So, you know, there’s, there’s kind of this dual marketing approach that I think a lot of times, as people go into the campaign, they’re not really even thinking that direction, they’re just thinking, investment, investment, which totally understand, but there is a huge avenue of brand awareness and b2b development or, you know, anything that could happen from that amount of ad spend, and advertising that’s going out.
Jillian Bannister 17:55
And that’s why it’s really not just only about the media spend, it is back to basics and marketing, key messaging, your brand, you know, what you are putting out there, once it’s out there, it’s out there. So you really want to make sure that you’re, you know, thinking that through thinking that putting turning on that marketing brain, in your head and, and, you know, using partners to understand marketing and what works and what doesn’t, to help you formulate, you know, a little bit of your brand as you’re going into your race.
Derrick Berney 18:32
Yeah, what I would say is specifically to cannabis, I think you guys are probably like in the US at that really sweet spot where it’s, you know, if you’re a cannabis company, and you’re considering raising, you should do it now. You know, what we found here is that you know, once it is federally legalized, that’s when like, a lot of laws came in and just make it difficult for brands to even just tell their story. So it’s like, one of our main things is like, you know, just even getting the brand out there getting the CEO getting the founders talking about, you know, how they connect to the, to the cannabis community. And like, you know, what made them a lot of them have like, great stories of, of, you know, why they became a cannabis user or a CBD user. And it’s like, by, you know, telling those stories, and kind of humanizing it and connecting with the consumers. You definitely can build an audience there. Especially here. Our packaging is kind of like, pharmaceutical, like, there’s no, there’s no like, you know, it doesn’t look good. It doesn’t. It’s all kind of, you know, like a pharmacy kind of right? So it’s really hard to stand out in the crowd, and it’s definitely something that needs to be done.
Jason Fishman 20:00
And for any of these raises what I want to add to the discussion is you start with these audience personas and for Reg CF Reg A plus, absolutely the investor, customer, great area to target. There are also various types of retail investors that are looking to get involved in private equity. They are diversifying and getting involved in, you know, five to 10 different deals, how do you speak to them? How does that messaging change from other deals that they’re seeing? How are you standing out? From there, the reg DS, the main thing I want to point out is the longer sales cycle and to account for it. And there can be aspects of that better offline. Going after credit investors, I think a lot of the elements of the story are going to stand out to them in a similar fashion, but typically more tombstone ads, Tombstone information, and things that talk to some of the deal points that are likely getting targeted with real estate ads. Reg D has really been braced by real estate and looking at IRR and looking at, you know, actual return projections and even some terms around it. So you want to look at how you measure up there on those types of filings. We’re talking about audience, we’re talking about existing brand advocates, how do you speak to those types of groups during the reg CF. Dawson, you’re mentioning, hey, if a brand already has an audience, what are the best ways to get them excited to get action around the investment from those existing audience members?
Dawson Russell 21:36
Yeah, it’s a great question. And it’s, it’s something that, you know, when we do find out that one of our issuers is going to have, you know, an email list that we’re going to be able to send out to, I think, you know, it in this is where we talked about it before, of, you know, hiring an investor acquisition firm versus a traditional marketing firm. And I think one of the things that, you know, our data has shown and just as we’ve gone through these campaigns, we’ve seen, you’ve got to build up the story a little bit, you can’t just all of a sudden send out an email that’s like, invest now, you know, click here and expect people to just jump in immediately, you have to, especially, you know, depending on the audience, you have to almost educate them on why you’re raising capital, what that’s going to be used for, even potentially, you know, sometimes you don’t want to get too far in the weeds on it, but But what is a Regulation A or Regulation CF, like, what is crowdfunding and so I think some of that education can be done either during testing the waters, or, you know, on the front end, before you’re actually sending out the invest, you know, winked to click on, and then also using things like webinars or video content to, to let the management or the CEO speak directly to their customer based on, you know, listen, you know, come along this journey with us, we will, you know. It’s one of those things, you’ve got to be able to relate to those customers and not make it feel so much like you’re just really wanting them to reach into their pocket book and checkbook and write a check, you know, so I think that’s one thing that, that we found is really, you know, growing the story with that customer base before you actually open cart, you know, so to speak, on the investment button is a big piece of something we would recommend. But yeah, that’s kind of the 30,000-foot view, I would say.
Derrick Berney 23:25
Can I ask you guys a question? What, um, like, Have you guys had, like, for instance, like, say, you know, it’s something that people would use, so say like a data company, cannabis data company, and they’re raising money. And they go, have you noticed, like, an is it? You know, something that works? Kinda like maybe giving them a lifetime discount on the services or something like off to like incentivizing the raise? Is that something that’s done? Something that works in the space?
Jillian Bannister 24:13
Yeah. There’s a bit of a delay on my end, too. Yeah, absolutely. Giving before you get is a whole concept of marketing that you need to embrace, whether it’s a value add information, like a learning guide of some kind, or if your product warranties, warrants, you know, giving something away. We’ve worked with, you know, mobile phone type companies who give a device if you know, as part of being a shareholder. So, you do have to think in those terms and provide something of value, right to hook and bring in people to start understanding, And then what you’re doing and just that first piece of engagement. So that is something I would also call a lead magnet in marketing. But you do need a hook and you need to give before you get. I mean, this is not just a transactional thing. Again, going back to this idea, this is a brand-building exercise for you. If you know, building that credibility, your story. The other thing I just wanted to leverage off what Dawson was saying like video, sharing, the management, speaking the story behind why this why you start why you started this company, what you’re trying to do, what your goals are, what your vision is, is hugely powerful when you’re going out and asking for people to to, to invest. So you want to be thinking in terms of building a relationship without having the actual face-to-face or screen-to-screen connection? And how do you do that. And the most successful type of engagement is through video.
Jason Fishman 26:04
agreed and to be able to take snippets of those videos to splinter into social to be able to talk about the traction over email. I’m a fan of social proof third-party validation as much as possible. People don’t believe what they see on the internet, even if they’re following your company, the ability to see a major strategic partner, a lead investor, a new publisher, a podcast appearance, she did an event that you’re speaking at this week, to have that spread out across a content calendar and take audiences exactly. As Jillian’s mentioning down that journey where they feel like they’re going through that they feel like they’re growing alongside you are key ways to say hey, you can be more than a customer, you can get involved here. As Derek’s mentioning, there can be perks, there can be other benefits to being involved. compliantly. And there are ways you can speak to that there are ways you cannot if there are sure discounts and advertisements, from what we’re told, of course, what about channels? I’m touching on a few here? Are there any key areas that you say every issuer should have? Whether that’s a blog and Instagram account, LinkedIn, or are, you know, answering questions on Quora, or Reddit, are there any places that you would highly, highly recommend to issuers?
Dawson Russell 27:40
I mean, I think I think one of the things that we’ve found is, you know, if, if they are hiring us to manage those channels, that’s one thing if they’re wanting to do that in-house are, outsource it somewhere else or have a, you know,, a nephew that is going to, you know, run their Tik Tok or something. It’s just making sure that it’s done consistently and, and done well for the brand’s standards and guidelines. So I think sometimes, what we’ve also seen as everyone tries to do everything, and what we try to talk to our clients about is let’s, let’s find maybe, you know, to social platforms that we can really execute on and do really, really well. And then once we feel like we’ve we’ve done a great job on those, maybe then we move into, you know, tick tock or LinkedIn if we’re on, you know, Facebook and Instagram. So I think, you know, not trying to be everywhere all the time, can be a think about temptation for brands, versus like, hey, let’s like I feel like our audience is living on LinkedIn, let’s let’s just tackle our LinkedIn and make it the best possible. LinkedIn we can possibly be. So I think, you know, that’s one thing I would say is just when you are looking at channels, don’t feel like you have to go and do every single one. Unless you have the team that can that can really back it up and help do it. If that’s internal or external team, whatever it is.
Jiillian Banister 29:09
Yeah, I would I 100% agree camping be on every platform. It takes a lot of content, a lot of team power to consistently feed the beasts of those channels. So you do have to be judicious about it. Marketing is about making decisions, and sometimes those decisions are about what not to do. So that, I would definitely do that critical thinking in advance. And that has to do with your audience, unpacking of who your audience is and what you’re going after. As part of that discovery phase in this in a campaign process. So yeah, I think that’s a really, really salient point Dawson.
Jason Fishman 29:55
It’s more important the engagement that you’re getting on each of those platforms the audience like you’re saying Dawson master a couple of those, take that show on the road from there and audience build and make sure you’re building the right atmosphere, the right environment on those next platforms. Derek, anything to add for channels and recommendations for issuers?
Derrick Berney 30:22
Um, I would just echo what you guys are saying about building the kind of community around it. It’s what’s up here, it’s definitely that’s the most challenging part, just because of the regulations. But yeah, if you can get out there, engage, you know, and, and really get your story out there and get the community behind you. We’ve told a lot of stories, like one I’ll tell you is about a company called Sweet Justice. And they used to work for both of them used to work for Coke, and 120 years, one, seven, and they made a CBD and THC beverage, they got four skews out now. And basically, you know, they told their story about, you know, working for the corporate world, and, you know, being wrong there. And then, you know, taking they’re coming together with a side product project. And that’s why they named it Sweet Justice, because it’s like, kicking it to the man like, this is the sweet justice of us, you know, coming together and launching our own product. And it’s like, after like telling that story, consumers really gravitate towards that, and then they start to support. Oh, I see Sweet Justice there. Let me get it, you know, let me try it. So it’s, um, it really is just about, you know, getting yourself out there. And letting the consumers know, hey, you know, like, they have choices, why should they choose you, and especially in the cannabis industry, you know, people like to support good people.
Jason Fishman 32:07
Absolutely. And the thing I like to point out about channels, and in taking that message, being able to find that the right people to support is what is paid with advertising, what is organic with content marketing, I like to look at paid as a traffic source, we can then retarget and continue to use paid, but I look at the organic to nurture audiences, I’m not expecting your organic to prospect and bring in new investors, it can. But it may be tough to do that consistently in a scalable fashion. So if we’re looking at the content channels, we mentioned a webinar. Absolutely. Probably my favorite one to mention, you could have a strong guest, if you want a monthly, bi-weekly, what have you that guests can then promote to their audience, it also shows that validation, you could splinter it out, as we talked about, you could transcribe it and take aspects and create an article, you could separately do an article will interview founders create an article in their voice. You can have video snippets from that video, social as Dawson mentioned two, maybe three channels doing well, versus trying to be everywhere. And as Jillian was saying, but like having that feed, I find social works very well for showing up in the due diligence of an investor as well. So if they’re looking around, they don’t see a post that’s recent, and they don’t see any posts about the investment. It may say something where if you have an active feed, and again, taking audiences through that journey, and pointing out what’s next and showcasing that traction, consider the momentum that is investable about these deals and why the top campaigns are getting the majority of investments and how that message is being spread from their email fits into that to email still a top communication channel. We’re talking about audience building, the larger you can build your email audience, the more people you can reach, and the more traffic you could generate very quickly. So I like talking about that. When it comes to channels. I have a question for you. I haven’t talked about this one. But let’s say you’re working on a channel and you’re not getting enough engagement. This could be the campaign as a whole. Let’s say you’re just not getting enough performance. How do you approach that situation? I think every campaign finds itself there whether it’s a few days of a slowdown on one of the top Reg A plus campaigns, or whether it’s a Reg CF campaign that’s looking to find viable channels that they can lean into and hit its goals. What do you do when a channels underperforming?
Jillian Bannister 34:54
Yeah, I mean, first of all, you need to have the metrics to tell you that so So, back to the original question was, you know, definitely look for a partner that has a good data metrics platform to help you interpret the data and then use the marketing team to help give you insights on that, in that, that, that performance marketing platform or data platform should be able to tell you in fairly real-time what’s working and what’s not. Market, you know, in a capital raise it is about pivoting and optimization. So, when we see things that aren’t hitting the mark, and there doesn’t have to necessarily the market impacts what’s happening, interest rates, what the war in Ukraine, all those things have bearing on how your campaign is performing. So, you know, you gotta, you got to look at the metrics and then pivot. So whether it’s optimizing the creative, optimizing the placement, you know, channeling dollars elsewhere, onto platforms that are performing, but that constant state of analyzing data and optimizing is really, that’s, that’s what we do. We don’t want to be sitting, and we don’t want to be parking dollars, on platforms that aren’t performing, we can always go back, we can go back with a fresh grade, or we can go back with something else. But we really, you know, we like to, to up to be nimble, and respond quickly, because the markets are so volatile, especially these days this year, and I think they’re gonna continue to be, so being able to react to all those movements that are happening, I think, is pretty important, you know, way of approaching a campaign.
Dawson Russell 36:48
Absolutely. And, and I couldn’t agree more. And I think, you know, one of the things we haven’t talked a lot about, you know, like paid publications, or, you know, anything like that, as far as you know, getting into Benzinga, you know, some of these, you know, not financial publications, but just news publications. And I think one of the advantages to once again, going back to the first question is, you know, all of us on this call have probably tried a few different avenues and channels that just fell flat. And it’s going to happen, obviously, from time to time, but the one thing that issuers get when they use an investor acquisition firm is some of that knowledge that is going to be transferred to their raise. So it’s one of those things that if we go out into a cannabis publication, and, you know, we see zero results from it. Yes, maybe we’ll try it one more time, with different messaging. But if we see zero results again, then obviously, if another cannabis issuer comes to us and says, Okay, let’s put together the plan for, you know, publications, we’re probably not going to go back to that one. So, it’s one of those things that sometimes some of this just comes with experience and trial and error. And it’s Jillian, I love what you keep saying about, you know, it is traditional marketing in the sense that, you know, we do have to a B test, we do have to tweak, we do have to go into these different channels with kind of open expectations on what it is going to look like. And it’s just it could be the market that month, it could be, you know, like, there could be news that’s coming out about cannabis that is positive, that’s going to help, you know, push some things. So it’s one of those things that in some ways, yes, it is a moving target. But with using an investor acquisition firm that has done campaign after campaign, there’s going to be some of those stumbling blocks that we can jump over, that maybe another marketing firm might not know, right off the bat.
Derrick Berney 38:44
I would say, I agree with what you were saying, Jillian about the testing, obviously. You know, you always have to be testing not, you know, spending the client’s budget, if it’s not going to back out, there’s really no excuse to waste money on a campaign. And I say that the like, the biggest thing is angles. So it’s like, every single thing has an angle. So if you know, it can have a bad angle, and then a good angle. So you mentioned things like the war on war in Ukraine, okay, so figure out an angle that’s positive of why you should invest now, because of that. So it’s like that kind of, from my experience, like, and obviously, I’m not talking about the capital raising market, because that’s your guy’s expertise. But just generally, it’s just finding an angle that works not too aggressively that also is compliant. That’s basically the challenge of any campaign. And if it’s not working, you probably have the wrong angle.
Jillian Bannister 39:53
Yeah, I would say like kicking off a campaign. You got to be prepared to do that test and learn phase. He’s, and not jump into role as like first call, tell me what my role as is going to be? Well, there are a million things that feed into that. So let’s don’t be afraid to test in our don’t be afraid of that period of time that’s used to do the learning and the testing layered on with, of course the experience from a marketing partner. But that, to me is one big hurdle that all issuers have is they want to jump right into, what’s my success metric going to be? How are you going to deliver it and, you know, the, you know, this is a big, big, big place that we’re trying to market to, you need and the markets or, you know, there are so many things that feed into performance, and what works and what doesn’t, you couldn’t possibly predict it every time you could directionally have great ideas and understand. And as, as Dawson said, you can be nimble in responding to the data that you’re getting. That’s what you get when you work with an experienced partner. But yeah, I would just say, Don’t be afraid of that test and learn period, embrace it. And then know that you’re going to get great information that’s going to help you capitalize on where you’re finding success at the time you’re doing that race.
Jason Fishman 41:23
And based on the analytics, not just assumption, I really want to echo what you’re saying on the row as metrics as well, too. You can’t just focus on the results, you have to look at the process. That’s where you’re going to be able to make meaningful optimizations. And it’s clear that we do the same things on a day-to-day basis. We use the terminology, we summarize what we do in three words, and test optimized scale. Yeah, my podcast, everything’s a test until the analytics are showing that it’s working. Even then you want to optimize it to a better point optimized, it’s not working, look to manage it to a point of effectiveness, and effectiveness, and look for opportunities to scale. If you have one article that works great. What’s the next one? How are you going to continue that similar type of traction, that similar type of rollout? Really like what Jillian was pointing out? For current events? I hear from issuers Hey, should we not launch? It’s February, the war? There’s a war that just broke out? Should we not launch? Look what’s happening with cryptocurrency and digital assets. Should we not launch? It’s the summer, people are out, interest rates, and the holiday season, there’s never a perfect time to launch. And then once you are live, what do you do when these things are happening? It’s like Jillian’s mentioning, like, really the angle that Derek’s pointing out. We’ve used a saying before, if a feature the flaw talks about why this is great, don’t ignore it, you know, mention the elephant in the room. But why it’s a good time to invest? Why this is a good deal for the cannabis market. Here in California, I’ve heard Hey, investors weren’t very happy with what happened with this deal last year, or this legislation or of this or with that, for me, it’s a matter of how to get a campaign to work, how to get these channels to work, how to get these investors to participate, versus if they will, it’s not a matter of launching a campaign quitting week two, quitting month two, as much as continuing to change it up and continue this vehicle always be raising an ongoing basis.
Jillian Bannister 43:35
Yeah, yeah. And I would say also is like back to this whole idea that you’re building your brand, there’s no calendar year or date month is bad for starting to build your brand. Like there’s just never a bad time to invest in your brand. So if you start thinking like that, instead of oh, it’s the holidays. Oh, what’s this? Oh, so there’s always going to be something but then there’s always the other side of the coin on that. Well, the equity markets suck. So the public markets are not great. So what about this, like? So it is, there’s always multiple viewpoints on stuff. You know, it’s it is also about taking a leap and jumping in and getting into it and finding the right partner who you are with, obviously.
Derrick Berney 44:28
Yeah, because if you look at like, you know, stores, products, that sort of thing. They’re always a reason to have a sale. Like, and it connects with the consumer subconsciously, like, Well, why should I buy this now? Oh, well, because it’s Thanksgiving coming up. It’s Halloween coming up. It’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s Valentine’s Day. It’s, you know, and if you look at any of these stores and products, they’re always turning their sales around to, you know, and so it’s the same sort of thing for this. It’s just about really finding that right angle and it will actually help you. Because it will make them believe like, Oh, this is why that’s okay. Let me do it.
Jason Fishman 45:12
And I had a couple of requests for questions on the do’s and don’ts of finding the right investor. Also, is there a wrong investor? Is it okay to onboard everyone? When companies need to raise money, or you know, is there a right investor? Is there a wrong investor? And what are the do’s and don’ts of finding the right investor?
Dawson Russell 45:39
That’s a really good question. You know, I think, and I’m curious to hear your all’s response on this as well. But I think if they get past the point of investing, it’s almost like, in some ways, you’ve, you’ve done the due diligence on them, to where they, and I’m not going to make guarantees, but more than likely, they’re a good fit as an investor. If they if they’ve gone through what you’ve messaged to them if they’ve gone through the story. If they’ve watched the video, if they’ve gotten the email drip campaign, and they’re taking that action to actually put dollars into your company as a shareholder, that that usually at least from what we’ve seen, has been a good fit. It’s, it’s really the lead prospecting where you can make some of those judgment calls on okay, we probably don’t need to message to this particular audience or this, we’ve had, you know, we’ve run Facebook ads, where it was very, very clear, we were running it to the wrong audience, because of the type of comments we were getting in the comment section. It was like, okay, these people hate what this company is doing. So it’s, it’s one of those things that, I think in that regard, you can very quickly know if it’s a bad fit for a company in an investor, a company, and a shareholder. But yeah, we’d love to hear your thoughts on that, because it’s something that I do think is a really interesting question that doesn’t typically get brought up, honestly.
Jillian Bannister 47:02
Yeah, I agree. I, it’s not typically brought up, we’re all so focused on finding the right investors all the time. But yeah, I mean, I think it’s as you know, to sell vetting process, if they connect with your message, connect with what you’re doing, and actually believe enough in what you’re doing to, you know, to invest? I think, more chances than not, that’s gonna be the right investor. So yeah, you know, but again, looking at metrics, looking at comments, looking at what kind of feedback you’re getting from during your testing, you know, testing period, or what have you, you’ll find out pretty quickly, where you’re not hitting the mark, I don’t think it would be very rare for someone to invest in a company if they didn’t see some promise or have some connection or engagement, or see the vision of what you’re trying to build.
Jason Fishman 48:10
And, you know, we’re always looking for the right investor, like Jillian is mentioning. So when we’re seeing audiences perform, as Dawson was saying, A be testing, we’re looking at the performance. Also that the comments, looking at what we’re hearing in terms of direct messaging outside of that. I have had clients, with investors that were bit a bit more aggressive in communications in between rounds, haven’t found a situation where investors were necessarily liability, part of one of these questions and mentioned that we did have a major influencer, that was part of the video for a Reg A plus campaign we worked on and that influencer became a political target. At one point in the campaign and for about two to three months had to stop those ads completely. Because just every post getting demolished on the comment boards and reputation management was too time-consuming performance had dropped on those creatives as well, too, we were actually able to bring those ads back into the equation towards the closing messaging. But you know how to watch that closely. And in today’s day and age, you may need to be careful about some of the larger investors and partnerships you bring on. But again, just shift with it if anything occurs in that regard. Reg D accredited investors can be a different story and finding the right investor is more of an in-depth conversation there. And I remember from offline capital raise days, you had your friends and family, you had strategic investors, you had ROI investors and some of those folks that were just looking for return could be is a bit more hand holding a bit more pressure than needed. So you know, finding the right conversations there. But I think Reg CF and Reg A plus and some of the ways they’ve structured even having all the investors on one side of the cap table remove for a lot of those considerations. What are your overall messages for marketing cannabis deals, to founders to issuers that are listening in? What should they do right now, obviously speak to folks like yourself and connect, I recommend for all listeners to connect with everyone here on LinkedIn, and reach out with questions. But what are some of the keys towards success for these types of raises that you want to emphasize?
Dawson Russell 50:50
Jillian, would you like to tackle them first?
Jillian Bannister 50:52
Yeah, I mean, I think if you’re really if you’re just getting started, I would really focus on your messaging, and you’re really unpacking that core of your core value proposition. And three key messages with proof points, I mean, that’s the formula for key messaging, every marketer knows it. So you can come into a conversation with a marketing partner, having thought about some of those ideas. And you know, tried it out on, you know, with your elevator pitch at a cocktail party or whatever, test out some of those phrases and the language of how you describe yourself, and how you describe what you’re doing. If you, if you get going on that, which is sort of like, you know, a little pilot project, you come into a conversation with people like us around the table, you know, with, with, with a wallet, to add and a lot to give to the partner. And, you know, I think it establishes a great out-of-the-gates relationship. So it’s just such a great way to start, instead of sort of just walk, you know, getting the meeting and saying, what can you do for me, it’s your company. It’s your brand, there is some deep thinking and critical thinking that you have to go through. And, and only you can do that, because you know, you know your company best. So I think that is really one thing I would encourage everybody to do, who’s kicking off a raise or business?
Dawson Russell 52:30
Absolutely, no, I love that. And I think to add to that, I mean, I think it echoes Well, off of that is, you know, one of the things that we found to be some of our best clients and best issuers is when it’s a collaboration. So no one’s gonna know your business better than you know, your business, no one’s gonna know, your goals better than you do. And so, yes, while you’re hiring, you know, one of us, you know, is kind of the expert as far as messaging and story and ad placement and all of that, when it comes to your message in your story, it can’t be something that the agency just cooks up and puts, you know, some pretty website around it, and you’re off to the races, there really has to be a lot of thought. And I mean, so one of the things we’ve done is we’ve extended our launch phase, what we call launch phase time, to where it gives us a little bit more time to dive into that deeper because you’re building typically you’re building a foundation for either, you know, if it’s a reg CF, maybe there’s just one raise, but you know, for some of the bigger Reg A’s, you’re looking at building a foundation for raise after raise after raise. So you’ve got to start off with really strong messaging really strong brand, a presence, and style guide, and even just the tone of what you want your brand to sound like? Like if you’re if your brand was a person, what would that type of person be like? These types of questions that I think when people get into a capital raise, they’re quick to just you know, give me my invest now button and let me start pushing investor towards it. And it’s like, let’s back up a little bit slow down a little bit. And let’s really build something special and build something for the long term and not just hope to you know, make a quick buck off of the investment. So anyway, that’s kind of the story and the messaging, it all comes together with that side of it as well.
Jason Fishman 54:20
And it skips so often. It really is.
Dawson Russell 54:28
Everyone on this call has heard you know, when do you need it? It’s like, can we launch next Friday? And it’s like, Oh, no. So everyone listening on this call that’s an issue or just be patient it takes time to build a brand takes time to build messaging and story, but it’s because we’re doing it for a reason. And we’re doing it because we want you to be successful.
Jason Fishman 54:49
So, and to save resources. If not, it’s the difference between a successful campaign and a nonsuccessful campaign. Derek what are your thoughts on this? You know, From the cannabis side and seeing success, you know, on this type of capital raise this type of initiative.
Derrick Berney 55:07
Yeah, so I would say, especially here in Canada, you really got to, you know, build the community, because it’s just so hard to advertise cannabis. You know, if you can get flagged for anything, you can lose your page for anything, right? So I think that you know, really, just getting that grassroots kind of community behind you like-minded individuals, and then being able to start building that foundation, and then hand it over to professionals like yourselves, who know the regulation and, and know where to take it is a good start. But don’t expect, you know, magic, don’t expect there to be anything. And then, you know, the more you can, you can help and, and establish something, then and test, the, you know, that’s gonna save you money. And it’s also going to make you more successful.
Jason Fishman 56:09
I’m hearing a similar message across the board here. Yeah, work on strategy, and do so longer with Dawson, work with Jillian to get the messaging further work with Derek and Derek’s ideas of getting the brand, right and to the right spots. And yeah, you know, I joke about it only to get more issuers to spend more time in the strategy stages. And as Dawson’s mentioning, give yourself the best chance of success here. Give yourself more time. You know, don’t launch next Friday, don’t think that you’re set because you’ve got your legal counsel in place, and your financial audits complete. And now you’re ready to just acquire investors really have an understanding of what’s going on in this space, what your audiences are going to be seeing alongside your marketing, map out the actual individuals, look at their touch points, determine the messaging and the visuals for each of these stages. And with frequency, it’s really touchpoint 717, that you’re going to see the performance, look for strategic partnerships, have that third-party validation, and have projections across the board. You know, have your end goal with a date, but then work backward, know what you need to hit month one month two, what you’re going to change up what you’re going to optimize, if you’re not getting there, it’s a big scramble, if that isn’t already in mind. And, you know, bring in as many resources as possible. I’m a big fan of KoreConX, partly because they bring groups like us together and other professionals and say, Hey, you may end up using every group by the end of your Reg A plus, talk to everyone, you know, I’m a stand and all panelists are on this call for a higher success rate. industry-wide. There are inherent risks with marketing, there are inherent risks with fundraising, do everything that you can to build a system a roadmap to that goal, you know, with the most confidence behind it, don’t don’t just launch and think that you’re gonna get a return. And it looks like we’re to the top of that hour here. Oh, what was that?
Jillian Bannister 58:19
Jason Fishman 58:23
Looks like we’re getting to the top of the hour here. So don’t know if we’re wrapping Exactly. Now if we have time for any more questions, with Peters hopping back on or not. To you. Alright, so if you want to add one more question, I feel like we can add one more thing about the cannabis vertical. This could be a case study of yours. This could you know, some type of success story in the vertical this could be a channel that you see working best for cannabis. But what’s one more test that we can get? What’s one more highlight that we can give for this industry?
Dawson Russell 59:08
I think just knowing the limitations you’re going to have with paid social knowing what they’re looking for to restrict your ad count or take your ad account down completely. That is absolutely something we have we have run into and had to you know figure out the hard way on how to make those channels work. And so yeah, just recognizing that unfortunately, this space at least at the moment is going to come with some additional challenges that sometimes you know, a real estate, Reg A or Reg CF is not going to have to necessarily deal with so just knowing that and being prepared for it I think is good.
Jillian Bannister 59:50
Yeah, and I think what you could probably one thing to tackle would be the video piece you know for this channel and the why answering the why There are limitations, you can’t be on all the fluff. Do you know there’s a lot of don’ts in this sector. But, one thing you can do is tell your story on why you started the business. There’s nothing off-limits about that. Make it personal. And I think that’s, that’s something that’s a do. That’s a definite do. And I think I would encourage everybody in the sector to utilize that. That tool.
Derrick Berney 1:00:34
Yeah. For me, I would say like, you know, definitely what Jason was saying about email, emails really powerful. And also SMS gathering people’s numbers, SMS, push, push notifications, like just kind of, you know, try to use funnels that are, that can get under the radar to then grab these people onto a list. So let’s just say that’s the main thing, building a list. Yeah.
Jason Fishman 1:01:04
And as Dawson said, you can continue to use that list for future rounds and build the system to continue to raise, as Jillian mentioned, for customers and being able to stay in touch with that audience is really power. And speaking of different VCs, they want to know how big is the audience. If we apply average metrics, what type of responses can we get all the way through all add one more tip, and just add on top of what Dawson was saying, have backup ad accounts have backup ad accounts, we create different pages. So we’re not using a primary page. So if anything happens to that page, there’s more acceptance of these type of advertisements now from the platforms. But we still work off systems we built years back of not using trigger words that your camp that could get your campaign flagged your ad account your page, if you’re passing the test for what words are using for your page, your URL name, your messaging, your landing page, you can actually get a lot of campaigns approved here. And being able to feature the function, whether you’re talking about the story, versus just using some words that could get you flagged?
Derrick Berney 1:02:24
Absolutely. The one thing that I would say about it is that cannabis is not banned on Facebook, it’s actually allowed to be talked about, it’s like you were saying, Jason, it’s just how you deliver that message. So again, it’s about angles. And if you find the right angle, you can really cash in. And the thing about it is that it’s a good opportunity because of the barrier to entry. So if you know find a professional like Jillian or Jason, or Dawson, and they know how to do this. You know, the ops are all there because it’s harder to enter. So sometimes having a barrier is a good opportunity.
Peter Daneyko 1:03:15
Hey, Jason, you had a question, somebody tapped me on the shoulder? Well, I was multitasking. If you want to recap, and maybe as we get up to the hour here and close out, maybe I can help you with that.
Jason Fishman 1:03:27
It actually ended perfectly on time there. With Derek’s response, we were just talking about recommendations for this vertical. And for the marketing some different workarounds. Derek’s got a list of ideas around that just from an educational standpoint. And then in terms of angles for social platforms, we were really able to cover a lot in this session from audiences to messaging to compliance to you know, future rounds, pivots, optimizations. Very, very happy with what we were able to discuss here, Peter, and you hopped on at a perfect point that it takes you to the next part of the day.
Peter Daneyko 1:04:08
That’s terrific. And I and I’m really, really pleased with the entire panel and everybody here one day to your expertise that you’re always sharing. And also as we embark upon sectors that while they may not be new, they’re certainly new to a lot of investors, and Derek, your insights and your experience are, you know, are well founded. And I think as vertical communities get built, it’s all about communicating between the various parties and communicating but the various parties are going to help the issuers ask the right questions, help the companies also, you know, be better prepared going in and it starts with the question. So all of the panel here from KoreConX I’m really super grateful of that you guys all attended and the rest of the week is three more sessions that are pertaining to all the other nuances associated with private capital raises under these regulations, and specifically in the cannabis sector because it is a bit of a minefield, it has ups and downs. I say a minefield only from the perspective of lots of different regulations from different states from, from payment rail providers from escrow providers. But they can all be addressed if you put together the right team of people. And that great team of people consists of those that are knowledgeable in their respective field. So for to finish off to the rest of the week. Yeah, there was there’s experts in the legal community, there’s experts in the liquidity aspect of things when it comes to ATS as so. So again, I think the top of the hour here, and I think everybody here and Jason, I could let you do that. I just jumped in here just because somebody tapped me on the shoulder with a question. So great, great, great, our guys and really, really nice to get acquainted and see everybody again. So thank you for that. I’m gonna I’m gonna hang up now guys, you guys can close out as you see fit.
Jason Fishman 1:06:05
Well, thanks, everyone. It was a pleasure being on the panel with you here today from Boltzmann home. As I mentioned before, I highly recommend that you send a LinkedIn invitation to everyone on the panel once you have a preferred form of contact, and reach out for discussion reach out for recommendations. It’s amazing what’s available in this industry. You just have to spark the conversation.
Jillian Bannister 1:06:31
Thanks very much. Thanks for moderating.
Yeah, thanks, everybody. Great to see everybody.
Jason Fishman 1:06:38
Thank you, guys. Likewise, take care