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  • Jeffrey Harris

Dispensary SMS Marketing Captures the Millennial Cannabis Consumer Market

Millennials are the largest and most disruptive generation in history, exceeding even the Baby Boomers, at over 77 million people. Commonly known for their open-mindedness and confidence, they are the first “digitally native” generation and thus respond extremely well to digital marketing. This has changed the way they – and really, we all – do just about…everything! On average, Millennials spend almost a third of their waking hours, 5.7 hours per day, on their phones. And 78% of Millennials belong to two or more loyalty rewards programs.

That’s why cannabis retail businesses looking to grab their attention would do well to utilize cannabis loyalty programs and text message marketing campaigns as part of their overall dispensary marketing strategy.


Let’s first understand who this target audience is. Millennials are the generation born between roughly 1980-2000 and makeup almost 25% of the total U.S. population, and roughly 35% of the workforce. This unique demographic is often characterized as confident, ambitious, tech-savvy and achievement-oriented. They also aren’t afraid to question authority and take risks, and they expect premium customer service from the companies they do business with.


Canna Get a Yes

When it comes to cannabis, Millennials lived their formative years during the beginning of the legalization movement and are by far the biggest users. According to Headset data, this generation represents 51.5% of total cannabis sales. Our own three-month study shows that Millennials buy flowers and vape cartridges most frequently, followed by edibles and pre-rolls. They also are the second-largest consumer of concentrates, after Gen Z. Interestingly, while they purchase the most cannabis, the average purchase price is lower than Baby Boomers and Gen X, in line with their lower purchasing power compared to other generations.


A Digital Appendage

Millennials also grew up during the smartphone boom and are the most technologically literate generation. The stereotype of Millennials being attached to their phones is fairly accurate, as 93% of Millennials own smartphones and 73% use their smartphones to shop online. Most importantly, Millennials love texting and spend, on average, 48 minutes per day messaging their friends and family.


According to a study of 500 Millennials about their texting habits, 75% responded that they would prefer a text-only phone to a voice-only phone. In addition, 75% think text messages is a helpful way to receive reminders, surveys, and promotions. Additionally, 62% appreciate receiving product offers or coupons via text. In general, Millennials prefer to receive texts because they are unobtrusive, convenient, and easily fit into their individual schedules.


SMS Marketing for Millennials

Given their affinity for texting, cannabis companies who want to reach Millennials should strongly consider SMS marketing as part of their dispensary marketing engagement and retention strategy. Millennials are the largest cannabis consumer market and texting is a critical method of communication for them. Most importantly, cannabis businesses should know that texting is effective – text messages have a 98% open rate and a 90-second response rate, while email marketing only has a 25% open rate. SMS marketing is an easy and affordable way to get Millennials’ attention.


Due to stringent regulations around cannabis marketing, SMS campaigns can cannabis businesses overcome serious communication hurdles. Current regulations prohibit cannabis companies from all forms of public advertising on platforms including billboards, radio, TV, online and social media in order to protect minors. This leaves dispensary marketing teams with few advertising options. With SMS, companies can reach their adult Millennial consumers in a compliant manner. SMS also makes it easy for buyers to opt-in to receive advertising, which is also required.


Millennials are buying more cannabis products than any other generation and are clearly driving the growth of the legal industry. Along with their undeniable affinity to texting as a way of life, they are the perfect target market for your next SMS dispensary marketing campaign.