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Never Underestimate Your Dispensary’s Senior Clientele!

As a marijuana dispensary owner, you are no doubt aware of, but do not buy into, the common industry stereotype of a primary target demographic that is young, dumb, stoned, and on their way to 7-11 for a bag of Cheetos immediately after their purchase at your establishment. That’s the image that much of America has about the people patronizing your establishment. Stereotypes go a long way, especially for the uninformed. But never, ever make the mistake of slipping into that mindset when it comes to marketing your dispensary business. It’s important to understand the different demographics that visit your dispensary and the different ways to market to them.Seniors are a HUGE segment of the legal marijuana buying population! The baby boomers that grew up with weed in the 60s and 70s are incredibly curious and excited about the advent of legal marijuana. I see it constantly here in Colorado. No doubt you do, too.Chris Taylor wrote a very telling piece that sheds light on legal weed becoming a new, relevant consideration for many seniors when deciding on a retirement location. It’s THAT important to many of them. Hell, I know I wouldn’t want to live in a prohibitionist state. Why would anyone who understands the benefits and effectiveness of marijuana want to spend their golden years in such a backward thinking place?Taylor writes, “The Mountain West – including Colorado, which legalized medical marijuana in 2000, and recreational use in 2012 – boasted the highest percentage of people moving there to retire, United Van Lines said. One-third of movers to the region said they were going there specifically to retire.”YOUR job, as a marijuana business owner, is to make sure that seniors feel comfortable and welcome in your establishment. Black light posters, incense, and dreadlocks might not always be the best way to accomplish this task. Now I have nothing against dreadlocks, but I also have nothing against shirts that say “fuck” on them, and I wouldn’t wear the latter to work if I thought I was going to be dealing with a senior clientele.More from Taylor’s article: “The image of marijuana-using seniors might seem strange, but it is the byproduct of a graying counterculture. Much of the baby boom generation was in college during the 1960s and 70s, and have had much more familiarity with the drug than previous generations.

Many of the health afflictions of older Americans push them to seek out dispensaries for relief.

‘A lot of the things marijuana is best at are conditions which become more of an issue as you get older,’said Taylor West, deputy director of the Denver based National Cannabis Industry Association. “Chronic pain, inflammation, insomnia, loss of appetite: All these things are widespread among seniors.”  (You can see the whole article here)

Since those in their 60s and 70s presumably have no desire to be skulking around on the criminal market in states where usage is outlawed, it makes sense they would gravitate to states where marijuana is legal.

“In Colorado, since legalization, many dispensaries have seen the largest portion of sales going to baby boomers and people of retirement age,” West said.”

So how do you make sure that you are not only taking good care of the senior clientele that you already have at your marijuana business, but are also doing the right kind of marketing attracting NEW seniors? Here are some helpful tips:

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1. Don’t give up on, or completely forget about, print advertising. Many seniors, while becoming more comfortable with the internet, are still very much grounded in printed publications. Consider advertising your dispensary in newspapers and senior specific magazines. Tangible reading materials often appeal much more to the older crowd than does sitting in front of a computer screen, and research has shown that a combination of both web AND print advertising provide a greater return on investment than does the sum of each separately.  Of course, check your local regulations to find out what kinds of print ads are allowed concerning marijuana businesses.

2. Create sales and offers targeted specifically toward your older clients. Two-for-ones, senior sales days, and free delivery are a few examples of promotions that appeal to this demographic.

3. Network with other businesses that deal with older clients, and have them refer clients to you where appropriate. Talk to pro-marijuana physicians about sending their patients your way in situations where cannabis could provide relief. There are many, many doctors on board with the clinical and therapeutic benefits of marijuana. Let them know that you cater to seniors, and that you would be happy to show them the ropes of this new industry and the products available to them in a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.

4. Word of mouth is a HUGE promotional opportunity to market your dispensary. In retirement communities, residents spend a disproportionately large amount of time around each other, much more so than in a community of families that are working and/or parenting most of the time. If a member of a retirement community goes to your dispensary, chances are that his or her neighbors will know about it later that day, or later that week. Make sure that their experience is a GOOD one. Send them home with literature that they can give to their friends (remember print advertising?) This is also a great time to throw in a 2-for-1 special offer, and a fantastic opportunity to build your referral program. Retirement communities also often have community boards where you can post flyers or coupons if your state regulations allow it.

So don’t forget about your senior clientele! They are a HUGE demographic that are excited about the recent legalization of a product with which they have been familiar for many, many years. Cater to them, watch your dispensary business grow, and laugh quietly to yourself about the publicly held stereotypes of the punk kids who visit marijuana dispensaries.

Article Originally Posted on The Marijuana Marketer – Original Article

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