Lara Fordis on Market Research That Drives Insights in Cannabis

Plus, the value of Jennifer Whetzel's 'Women in Cannabis' study

Lara Fordis of Fordis Consulting is a market research expert known for designing affordable, outside-the-box strategic projects for clients ranging from cannabis-related startups to established multi-state operators. Her mission is to be a market research partner who delivers Fortune 500 quality insights to all cannabis businesses, no matter what their size.

We spoke with Lara for our Higher Calling series, where we chat with leaders in the cannabis space.

Lara, tell us...

Your current role in the cannabis industry, and where you're based.

Based equidistant from Denver and Boulder, Colorado, Fordis Consulting combines cannabis product and package testing, live virtual focus groups, and online surveys. I get product and concepts in front of anyone from budtenders to new-to-category cannabis consumers to seasoned cannabis users, addressing both B2C and B2B challenges. 

Your earliest cannabis memory.

Trying pot during college in the '80s and discovering that Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk was life-altering!

A story about the positive impact cannabis has had on your life.

Not just the plant itself, but business-wise, it has been a great opportunity to work with interesting clients and boost the success of cannabis brands, many of whom need outside, professional support to grow their business.

A favorite flower, edible, product or brand.

Yes, it's an edible, but I'd rather keep the brand to myself.

A movie, TV show, music or food you most enjoy pairing with cannabis.

Schitt's Creek seems to be a great pairing with cannabis, as it heightens the quirkiness of the comedy. I love irreverent comedy and parodies, like This Is Spinal Tap.

The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today.

Effectively knowing and communicating their compelling points of differentiation because of the very competitive landscape out there for cannabis companies.

One thing you're excited about right now in cannabis branding, partnerships or marketing.

Cannabis companies are getting more savvy and increasingly open to seeking professional consulting to achieve their business goals, which I love doing.

A recent project you're proud of.

I conducted focus groups with budtenders in different states. I'm proud that we were able to recruit such an engaged and articulate group to participate, and the insights for the clients improved their success in gaining exposure.

Someone else's project you admired recently.

Jennifer Whetzel's "Women in Cannabis" study. Her genuine commitment to improving the lives of women in this profession led her to self-fund an incredibly important study. In fact, I was so impressed by her and her work that I now am supporting moving her study forward so its findings can be made available to the public.

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

I am fortunate to be working in the cannabis industry, but alongside it, I also work with the food and beverage industries, startups of all types, and charter schools. I endeavor to bring organizations of all sizes and industries the same Fortune 500 quality market research that I've been doing throughout my career.

Higher Calling is a weekly Muse series where we chat with folks in the cannabis industry about their personal history and taste in cannabis and the future of cannabis marketing. For more about Higher Calling, and our Clio Cannabis program, please get in touch.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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