Joe Hodas on Marketing for a Start-Up in a Start-up Industry

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Welcome to the first Data Talks podcast episode! On Data Talks I interview people who work in a wide variety of disciplines to determine what kinds of data they use, or don’t use, to inform their decision-making and the actions they take in their professional and personal lives.

In our first episode I talk with Joe Hodas, who is Chief Marketing Officer at Dixie Brands in Denver, Colorado. Dixie Brands is a marijuana-infused products company. Joe has over 20 years of experience in marketing and public relations. He previously served as a partner and Executive Vice President of Channel Management at Vladimir Jones, one of the largest and oldest independently held advertising agencies in Colorado. At Dixie Elixirs, in addition to fielding pot jokes and requests for volunteer “tasters,” he heads up a team that is helping to define adult use marketing of marijuana.

We talk about some of the personal and professional decisions that Joe has made and the role of data in that process.


We discuss:

– Risk/reward analysis: How Joe made his decision to take the position of Dixie CMO

– How he saw that decision as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

– Joe’s public relations and marketing experience

– Information sources and metrics that inform his planning and decisions

– The lack of good marketing data in the marijuana industry and the challenges that present

– What is a budtender, and why are they important? How he uses their input

– The impact of state regulators and lawyers on Joe’s decision-making process

– What is a dispensary, what do they look like, and how do they work

– How he uses social media

– Marijuana social media websites:

  •  Leafly-
  • Massroots-
  • Weedmaps-

– Cause and effect of marketing on sales: what is not known

– Reluctance of Dixie customers to engage in certain aspects of social media due to the stigma of marijuana

– Importance of listening to consumers and dispensaries in product development

– How do they test products in the market versus conducting market research studies to understand what consumers want

– Delivery system, flavor profile, food type, and production as important product development factors

– What Joe would really like to know about Dixie’s consumers

– Media sources that he finds helpful:

  • Marijuana Business Daily:
  • The Cannabist, Denver Post:

– Industry Groups:

  • National Cannabis Industry Association:
  • Cannabis Industry Alliance:
  • Marijuana Industry Group:

– The elephant in the room: What Joe says to people who say his company is selling drugs. What is marijuana’s place in society?

– The impact of legalization on Colorado

– The overabundance of data in marketing and its limitations


How to reach Joe:


Twitter: @JoeHodas

Facebook: /joehodas




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