By Chris Shreeve on March 18th, 2020
Interview: Safe-Reach Founder Adam Schlett on Building the Cannabis Industry’s Strongest Advertising Platform
Safe-Reach founders Adam Schlett (far right) and Arto Torosoglu (far left) with PrograMetrix founders Chris Shreeve and Phil Parrish at MJBizCon 2019.
At PrograMetrix, we scoured the advertising technology industry to find the best partner for cannabis compliant digital advertising solutions. Many of our options were startup companies that couldn’t deliver on what their sales teams or press releases promised. As programmatic experts, we needed a partner we could count on to push the boundaries while staying compliant with the cannabis industry’s immense variety of marketing regulations. Our expectation for this partnership was that we could take the best of what mainstream programmatic ad tech had developed and bring it to the cannabis industry at scale.
After over 10 meetings with potential partners, we chose to build a strategic relationship with the team at SAFE-REACH. Adam Schlett, Safe-Reach’s founder and head of business development, has built a brand around understanding the nuances of the cannabis industry, which is vital in an industry full of outsiders looking to capitalize on the “green rush.” Their team understands the importance of combining premium, mainstream online inventory with highly targeted data solutions: This enables us to help our clients reach the right cannabis consumers, on the right devices, at the right times to drive real digital marketing results.
I sat down for a conversation with Adam to discuss what’s new and next in the cannabis industry and delve into why this partnership is so exciting for both of our businesses.
Chris: Why did you decide to start Safe-Reach?
Adam: When the cannabis industry first started coming together it became very apparent to me that there was going to be a shortage of real marketers using the best tactics and tech to serve cannabis. As digital marketing veterans, we saw a hole in the cannabis digital marketing space, so we decided to build a solution that could help brands in this industry advertise themselves online like their mainstream CPG counterparts.
While Google and Facebook continue to opt out of servicing this industry, we’re proud to provide a service that helps brands increase their website traffic and sales in-store or online.
Chris: What excites you most about the partnership with PrograMetrix?
Adam: Cannabis is a regional and local business right now, so working with folks who have a lineage in a major market and a localized comprehension of that market drives the strategic understanding of how to implement our ad tech. We really love the way your team looks at the cannabis market, and we could tell right away that PrograMetrix actually understands this ever-changing industry. You guys give us a great partner in the Pacific Northwest, with very strong connections and clientele.
The most exciting thing about our partnership for me is that as the industry evolves, cannabis and CBD brands are going to want to partner with folks who can offer the best solutions from non-cannabis or non-hemp CPG marketing. Like Arto and myself at Safe-Reach, PrograMetrix has years of experience in building out customer acquisition and marketing campaigns across most major IAB verticals.
Chris: What differentiates Safe-Reach from other cannabis compliant inventory and ad tech platforms in the space?
Adam: There are a lot of companies in the cannabis ad tech industry that are smoke and mirrors, but we are focusing all of our efforts on two primary components of the digital marketing mix: premium cannabis-compliant inventory, and cannabis and CBD audience targeting solutions. It isn’t enough to just have cannabis-compliant inventory anymore. You have to combine that with a wide variety of audience targeting and proprietary data solutions if you want to survive. I would put our first- and third-party data targeting solutions up against any competitor in the marketplace.
Ad tech is a big world: Our niche within this world is that we focus on new customer acquisition tools, helping cannabis brands reach adults on as much of the internet as possible. We work across mobile, web, CTV, and native display while measuring response against very specific campaign objectives. Our comprehension of data, data technology, and compliant publisher supply is where the business starts and ends; however, the ability to apply these tools intelligently for each unique customer we support while offering ‘white glove’ customer service is how we carve out our value in this space.
Chris: What are a few of the most exciting capabilities that Safe-Reach is rolling out in 2020?
Adam: We are really excited about our foot-traffic attribution solutions for retail cannabis stores and medical dispensaries. Using location-based mobile technology, we can not only target mobile devices at specific stores in real time, we can track devices that have been targeted by our digital campaigns that returned back to the store for repeat or first-time purchases. This level of reporting will help retail stores determine an ROI from their digital media campaigns with Safe-Reach. That capability hasn’t been fully adopted by the rest of the industry yet.
We’re also excited to offer streaming TV campaigns for cannabis brands. Most traditional broadcast television stations are not open to cannabis brand marketing, but Safe-Reach can now target known cannabis consumers on their TV screens at home, with 15- or 30-second non-skippable ads.
Finally, our cannabis and CBD data product is rolling out to mainstream ad tech providers this quarter. We have aggregated on-site, point of sale, loyalty, and e-commerce shopper data that can be activated and targeted through industry-leading media buying platforms like The Trade Desk, Centro, and so on. We believe that mainstream CPG and retail brands are trying to figure out new ways to reach known cannabis and CBD consumers, and Safe-Reach has a robust set of digital data that can be acquired for targeting across all online channels.
Chris: That is incredibly exciting, Adam. We’re looking forward to implementing these new features in our client campaigns very soon.
> See also: Programmatic Ad Tech Review: LiveRamp
PrograMetrix is pleased to partner with Safe-Reach to bring our combined solutions to the entire cannabis industry. For more information about PrograMetrix’s cannabis and CBD advertising capabilities, check out our website or contact us for a free consultation.