2 Minutes With … Matthew Janz, Director of Marketing at The Source

On 'However You Holiday' and prioritizing guests as the center of everything

After successfully helping scale and grow dispensaries and cannabis brands across the country, Matthew is now director of marketing at The Source, a leading brand in Nevada. He focuses on consumer psychographics and mindsets, building brand relevance, connective storytelling and omnichannel strategies that circumvent the limitations of the cannabis industry.

We spent two minutes with Matthew to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Matthew, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Miami and moved to Las Vegas when I was 14.

How you first got interested in cannabis.

I started in the legacy market in procurement. However, my interest in cannabis really took flight in serving a patient who was battling cancer. At first, our relationship began with her interest in some homemade "special brownies." She mentioned that she was battling cancer, and that cannabis helped her in a number of ways. She was able to eat again. It helped alleviate some of the pain. It helped bring a smile to her face during difficult times. The potent impact of medical cannabis really struck me. Here was a healing plant that could improve the quality of people's lives. And for some reason, it was illegal.

From my experience helping her find relief, I became an advocate for medical cannabis legalization in Nevada. Once that happened, I was blessed to start as the marketing manager for The Apothecarium in 2015 and the rest is joyful history.

One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.

I'm a Christmas fanatic. There's something about the way people treat each other with a little more kindness, patience and empathy that makes the holidays a special time. In 2020, The Source ran a campaign called "However You Holiday." The idea: for every kind of shopper (even grinches), there's a way to comfortably and enjoyably lean into the holidays. Our tagline was: "For However You Holiday, The Source Is Your Destination for Holiday Highs."

We created three holiday shopper archetypes: The Elf. (If you start listening to Christmas music before Halloween, you might be an Elf.) The Greench. (If holiday lights and carols make you twitch, you might be a Greench.) And The Giver. (If you're planning your family's gifts in January, you're probably a Giver.).

For each archetype, we created content revolving around shopping experience narrated by tongue-in-cheek limericks. This campaign helped showcase and celebrate the diversity among our guests in a fun and engaging way.

A recent project you're proud of.

This past October, The Source ran a "Croptober" campaign. Historically, "Croptober" signifies the "high harvest" for cultivators across the country. The campaign's intention was to help educate our customers about the arduous and meticulous work that goes into growing fine cannabis.

Part of our strategy was to utilize gamification to pique guest interests and keep them engaged all month long. We want to build legitimate relationships with our guests and creating engaging opportunities helps connect us more deeply.

During October, all guests received a "Croptober Fest" stamp card. Each card was designed to look like a festival map and featured four vendors, one for each week of the month. During each week, we highlighted one of the brands in tandem with aggressive deals.

Each brand had a festival location on the card. For example: The Grower Circle Head Meadows. When a customer purchased an eighth from that brand, they received a stamp in that location. Each completed card gave them the opportunity to win a staycation at a cannabis-friendly property, two VGK tickets, a premium table at the Sky High Cannabis Lounge and $100 in Source rewards points.

The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today, and how to approach it.

The traditional roadblocks cannabis marketers face are no surprise: limited channels, MMS/SMS filtration and being all but exempt from pursuing true social strategies. However, one identifiably unique challenge for cannabis marketers in Nevada is maintaining differentiation amid intensive price compression and a market that's down 15 percent on average. The typical lever pulled is to match the market where it's at: $99 ounces, $20 concentrate grams, etc. But if everyone's playing that game, how do you maintain differentiation and a distinctive set of value props? 

For us, the approach is twofold. First, we maintain an optimum customer experience. This includes thinking through our addressable UX with an easily navigable and conversion-focused website, developing intentionally-strategized visual merchandising and taking a local approach to each neighborhood our stores serve.

The second piece is being consumer-centric. How do we gamify the guest experience to make it fun? How do we collaborate with local businesses? How do we engage with charitable organizations that are near and dear to our guests? How do we prioritize our guests as the center of everything we do?

We take tremendous pride in being a local, neighborhood-driven dispensary. And amidst the challenges of our current market, it's more important than ever to act as stewards of our community.

One thing about how the cannabis industry is evolving that you're excited about.

I'm excited about the evolution and maturation of solventless products. Whether it's 6-star full melt or hash rosin-infused edibles, I love seeing clean solventless extracts gaining popularity.

Someone else's work, in cannabis or beyond, that you admired lately.

The movie Jules ran a brilliant PR stunt. Jules is comedic sci-fi about an alien that crash lands in rural Pennsylvania. The team had a replica Jules take a subway ride in New York. The amount of viral content this stunt yielded was impressive.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

One of my favorite recent reads is Bluefishing by Steve Sims. This book covers how Steve has been able to turn people's wildest dreams into reality by creating authentic connections. 

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

I’m in love with the creative minds behind Meow Wolf. I am enamored of creative minds that think far outside the box and turn seemingly impossible ideas into mind-melting art. 

Your favorite fictional character.

I'm a huge anime nerd, so for me it's Future Trunks from Dragon Ball Z. Something about his purple hair and sword always made me feel like he was your cool older brother. And when he one-shotted Freiza at the start of the android saga, I couldn't help but shout. Without Future Trunks, the Earth would have fallen to the androids long before Cell arrived.

Someone worth following in social media.

I'm passionate about health and fitness and one of my heroes on social media is Goob. Goob spends his time exposing influencers who doctor their posts to create unrealistic expectations of bodies. As someone who has lost over 100 pounds, I think there is potential harm in people showing unobtainable results and lying about how they achieved them. 

Your main strength as a marketer/creative.

Acting as our in-house marketing cartographer. Whether we are looking to drive customer acquisition, refine our segmentation strategies or create campaigns, I assist my team in building a clear and effective roadmap to get from ideation to execution.

Your biggest weakness.

Taking things too personally. Part of the difficulty in working in a creative role is that you put your passion behind everything you do. Despite the best intentions, campaigns can fall short or flat. Customers can provide harsh feedback. Your team can catch flak. That is the worst case scenario. I never want my team to be on the receiving end of anything negative. It can be hard to separate the passion from the work. But I'd rather walk the marketing landscape with a big heart than walk coldly without purpose.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the cannabis industry.

Prior to joining the cannabis industry, I worked in entertainment marketing. So I'd like to think that if cannabis wasn't an option, I'd have continued to build my career there and hopefully been able to combine music with my career. 

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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