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Recognizing Budtenders as industry allies

April 30, 2024  By Katie Pringle

Tether events bring together the cannabis industry to connect, educate and promote. Photo: Tether

Budtenders are frontline educators who hold the key to consumer preferences, product knowledge and ultimately, sales. In an industry with restricted marketing avenues, engaging with Budtenders and retail decision-makers is a strategic imperative. By understanding and leveraging insights from Budtenders, Canadian licensed producers can position themselves for success and bridge the gap between consumers and cannabis products.

Tether, a Canadian Budtender community of close to 5,000, recognizes the vital role that Budtenders play in driving the success of cannabis operations. This is why every year Tether surveys 200+ Canadian Budtenders as critical research for the industry’s development.

Invest in Budtender education

Educating Budtenders about your products is essential. 34 per cent of Budtenders surveyed identified terpenes as the area of cannabis they want to learn more about, with genetics coming in second at 18 per cent. Equipping Budtenders with training materials that include detailed product information, recommended usage guidelines and potential effects, empowers them to offer informed recommendations to consumers. In Tether’s 2023 survey, the most common customer questions were dosage/potency, strain selection, product type, and total/dominant terpenes.

In-store visits, virtual sessions and pop-ups can keep Budtenders informed by enhancing customer satisfaction and strengthening the credibility and reputation of brands. Engaging with Budtenders provides opportunities for feedback and also demonstrates commitment to supporting their success. Beyond sampling, Budtenders can learn about products through brand ambassadors and LP reps (up 31% from 2022) and by attending brand pop-ups and events (up 15% from 2022).


From Budtenders to brand advocates

Sampling has emerged as a powerful tool for Budtender education, with 95 per cent of those surveyed requesting products first-hand. Sampling empowers Budtenders to become authentic advocates, capable of conveying unique product qualities to consumers. Plus, tastings and sampling events allow growers, reps and ambassadors an opportunity to discuss product education in a relaxed environment and showcase the team behind the brand. This is the perfect mix of community-building and education – an environment in which Budtenders thrive.

Encourage Budtenders to share their experiences and insights through product reviews, feedback surveys and social media. Facilitate knowledge sharing sessions or forums where Budtenders can provide feedback directly to your team. 

Budtender preferences and consumer behaviour

The preferences of Budtenders reflect broader shifts in consumer behaviour with traditional consumption methods like pre-rolls and bongs still favoured by 80 per cent of surveyed individuals. However, dabs and extracts are gaining popularity year after year. Capturing and understanding Budtender and consumer insights through sales trends, B2B surveys and demographics helps drive product development, branding and marketing efforts.

The green revolution

Budtenders’ insights shed light on the pressing need for sustainability in the Canadian cannabis industry, with 64 per cent of Budtenders surveyed saying it’s an area the industry can improve on and 84 per cent mentioning packaging. 

Sustainability measures could include eco-friendly packaging, waste reduction, responsible cultivation methods and sustainable sourcing – investments into the future of the industry and our planet.

Join the movement

Budtenders are more than sales associates, they are brand ambassadors with the potential to shape consumer perceptions and drive market trends. Invest in them and empower them to drive mutual success.

Katie Pringle is the CEO and co-founder of Marigold PR, an award-winning public relations agency serving North American cannabis brands. In 2021, Katie co-founded Tether, a Canadian Budtender community that provides brands with a cost-effective way to connect, promote, and educate. Since 2017, Katie has been a leading force in organizing events for women in cannabis, driving positive change and paving the way for a more inclusive future. 

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