• Jeffrey Harris

Use Dispensary Text Marketing to Target Baby Boomer Cannabis Customers

Text message marketing can be a powerful tool in your dispensary marketing strategy if used correctly, but a waste of money and, more importantly, the customer’s time if it is not correctly executed. In line with different types of marketing, retailers must invest the time to know their customers so they can create the right campaign. Let’s talk about how to do that through segmented and targeted text message marketing for dispensaries.


Baby Boomers, the generation born between 1946-1964, make up about 20% of the U.S. population. As children of the ’60s and ’70s, they are perhaps the ones most historically associated with cannabis culture in their youth. Baby Boomers are actually the most affluent generation in the U.S. – and an economically influential one. As a group, they are competitive, self-assured, disciplined, team-oriented, and have an “old-time” classically strong work ethic.


Rediscovering Cannabis

As Baby Boomers age, many seem to be turning back to cannabis to either address their increasing aches and pains or for recreational purposes. Surprisingly, the younger half of the generation – those age 55-64 – are actually using more cannabis per month than teenagers! And those over age 65 are using cannabis 10 times more than they did a decade ago.


When it comes to their cannabis purchasing habits, Baby Boomers make up a smaller percentage of total visits to dispensaries and total sales compared to Gen X and Millennials, but they are purchasing fewer, but more expensive, products, which may point to their attention to product quality. In addition, our recent three-month study shows that Baby Boomers purchase more edibles, topicals, and tinctures than other generational groups.

Mobile Boom

Baby Boomers are also rivaling millennials in their daily use of mobile devices. On average, Baby Boomers are on smartphones five hours a day, which is only thirty minutes less than the average screen time among millennials. As of 2018, 65.6% of Baby Boomers have smartphones and 55% have tablets. As more businesses transition to digital operations and society becomes more reliant on smartphones, mobile penetration will continue to grow among this demographic.


These spending and technology habits are good signs for marketers who are trying to grab their attention via dispensary SMS campaigns, especially considering that over 66% of Baby Boomers regularly send text messages. Engaging Baby Boomers through text message marketing is an optimal way to maximize sales since the demographic has already embraced cannabis and spends a considerable amount of time on their smartphones.


SMS Marketing for Baby Boomers

Because an SMS is completely targeted and recipient-specific, it also may be the most effective dispensary marketing strategy in the arsenal. Current laws related to cannabis dispensary marketing prohibit all public advertising on billboards, radio, TV, online advertising and social media in order to protect minors. Compliant dispensary marketing options include email and snail mail, which tend to have very low response rates (about 20%)...making them largely ineffective. SMS is far more effective and has yielded a 98% open rate and a 90-second response rate. SMS also makes it easy for Baby Boomers to opt-in to receiving advertising, which is another compliance hoop to jump through.


Because most Baby Boomers are reembracing cannabis for health reasons, retailers should begin the dialogue by first sending out alerts about products pertaining to health and wellness. Dispensaries may also want to incentivize them to come into the store with exclusive in-store deals or product samples, as 84% of Baby Boomers prefer to shop in person. And since Baby Boomers tend to shop less frequently, but spend more on average, cost-effective dispensary marketing strategies targeting Baby Boomers should promote high-quality, higher-priced items.


At the end of the day, Baby Boomers represent a strong cannabis demographic, with both the financial ability and interest to continue engaging with the market. A strong dispensary SMS marketing strategy that takes into consideration Baby Boomer’s unique preferences and behaviors can help retailers reach them where they spend five hours a day, show respect for their time by making it easy to opt-in to receive the messages and provide targeted, personalized messaging that truly captures their attention, converting directly to sales.

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