01.24.2018
lifestyle

Traction Rabbit Wants To Pay You To Talk About Weed

We spoke with the founders of the Colorado-based startup that uses surveys and a team of independent testers to inform brands on the products that matter most.

There are the lame surveys like the kind your cable company sends you no matter how often you unsubscribe from their phony AF mailing lists. And then there are the dope surveys—i.e. the informal ones from your book club asking about what snacks and booze y'all should bring and questionnaires that focus on your love of weed. For the purpose of this article, we're going to focus on the latter and give you an inside look at Traction Rabbit, the Colorado-based startup that's changing the face of consumer-driven data collection. AKA collecting all your weedy feelings and turning them into grade-A products.

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Note: if you just want to skip to the fun stuff and become a tester, you can learn more about Traction Rabbit and become a tester in 3 minutes or less by signing up here.

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KINDLAND: How did Traction Rabbit's (TR) founders first enter the cannabis space?

Jordan McHugh: As a cannabis consumer, former tech founder, and self-proclaimed data geek, I follow hundreds of brands in the industry. In following these brands via social media and in the press, it struck me just how engaged and involved cannabis consumers actually are––which is seemingly much more so than consumers of products from other industries. Everyone has an opinion to share. 

KINDLAND: What inspired you to launch TR? Is there anything else like it in the industry?

Josh Richman: When I transitioned my career from media and marketing to cannabis wellness, the first (of many) challenges encountered was the lack of accessible and trustworthy consumer qualitative data that I found fundamentally important for making smart, informed creative, and marketing decisions. We built Traction Rabbit to help fill the void. At the same time, I was often stymied by the fact that there are practically no resources for businesses to find qualitative consumer insights from true cannabis users. Jordan and I spoke about the opportunity to give cannabis consumers a voice, while helping cannabis businesses make better data-informed decisions, thus Traction Rabbit was born.

"The industry as a whole is truly evolving."

KINDLAND: Are you noticing any trends gaining traction with regard to certain products that the testers hope to see?

Jordan McHugh: It has been really interesting observing the split between cannabis users older, or younger than 35. Of our testers who are 35 years of age and above, more than 80 percent say they use cannabis for wellness purposes specifically, as a sleep aid, or for pain or anxiety relief. That’s a pretty noteworthy statement and proof that the industry as a whole is truly evolving.

KINDLAND: Who is the typical Rabbit/tester? How do you screen testers?

Jordan McHugh: There isn’t one definite characteristic of a tester outside of their interest in cannabis. We have testers of all genders, and a small group of testers who don’t identify themselves by gender. We have testers who are in their 20s and [others in] their 70s. We have testers who consume significant THC levels daily and those who are novice users who consume small quantities and dosages once or twice a month.

Josh Richman: It's actually amazing, and completely not intentional, that we have developed a growing panel of demographics and usage behaviors. It allows us to speak with and help every possible cannabis company.

KINDLAND: Can you describe some of the metrics and data points that the TR surveys gather? What makes TR so valuable from the brand perspective?

Jordan McHugh: When we screen, we collect data points on consumers most frequent consumption methods, their perceptions, or attitudes toward packaging, and dosage preferences. Traction Rabbit is valuable from a brand perspective because of our ability to customize each qualitative and/or quantitative research study to that specific brands needs. We have also partnered with a dispensary group in Colorado that helps us facilitate product trials. This service enables brands to test their new cannabis infused edibles, vape, topicals, and various other products with a select demographic of consumers and industry professionals. Gathering unbiased, qualitative data on how their potential product is received by consumers, in turn giving brands the ability to make product iterations before launching into a market, is instrumental for cannabis companies looking to scale up while still connecting with their consumer and evaluating direct market feedback.

KINDLAND: What product category do testers in California and Colorado––with CA just coming online for recreational-use this year; and CO now nearly four years deep––seem to desire most? What products could testers live without?

Jordan McHugh: We have found that testers in Colorado are most interested in products that have at least a 20 to 1 ratio of CBD [to THC], no matter what type of consumption method is preferred. Our panel of testers palates are refined, due to the overwhelming number of cannabis brands in Colorado, therefore people tend to gravitate towards the premium cannabis brands that also provide options surrounding the amount of THC found in each serving. As for California, we’ll have the ability to get back to you at the end of February, as we are about to launch our first quantitative research study in California for a multi-state edible brand.

KINDLAND: Can you dish on any specific brands you've worked with so far?

Jordan McHugh: We just finished a few projects for Altus, which produces pressed pills, gummies and mints in Colorado and Nevada. 

You can learn more about Traction Rabbit and become a tester in 3 minutes or less by signing up here.