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Marketing Strategy for Expanding Dispensaries

As the cannabis market matures, dispensaries face rising competition, market saturation and evolving consumer demographics. To address these challenges, dispensaries should consider doing a messaging and marketing strategy ‘refresh.’

For a dispensary in a new market, getting a line of customers out the door doesn’t seem too far fetched. Customers are all eagerly awaiting to take their first journey into a dispensary. But as the market matures, things begin to change. Competitors begin popping up and eventually the market becomes saturated. Meanwhile, they are all fighting for the same customers, using the same products and messages.

In order to avoid becoming a dispensary that falls victim to consolidation, when strategizing for your marketing refresh, consider these three key components: customer loyalty, optimizing your data and operations, and the expanding consumer market.

Build a Customer Loyalty Strategy

As pioneers in the industry, we often see that dispensaries follow the “leaky bucket model.” They pour tons of money into getting customers into the bucket – their store. Then those customers leave, so they spend a lot of money trying to get them to come back. Rather than continuously trying to refill the bucket, focus on patching the bucket’s holes. In other words, figure out why your dispensary’s customers are leaving, and what you can do to keep them as loyal customers.

The fundamental ingredients to repeat business are a solid loyalty program and effective communication with your customers or patients.

A digital loyalty program is a must for any dispensary. It should be structured to provide rewards that encourage repeat visits to your dispensary. An example is immediately rewarding a customer that signs up on his or her visit.

How and how frequently you communicate with your customers can make or break loyalty. Send customers too many emails and they’re likely to slip through the holes of your bucket. Use a CRM tool, like Baker, to communicate with subscribers only when it’s relevant to them. Only tell them about the products they want to hear about, and you’ll reduce your risk of over-communication. When refreshing your customer communication strategy, you should reference these Customer Communication Tips for Dispensaries.

Optimize Your Data and Operations

Making data-driven decisions, across all departments of your dispensary means you will operate “smarter.” To make data-backed decisions, the first step is to consolidate your data. This is typically achieved through software integrations or a data and analytics provider.

When it comes to marketing, the relevant data goes beyond your typical marketing metrics, which merely measure campaign performance. Though these metrics are important, in order to achieve campaign success, you will need access to data that tells you about your customers. On a customer-wide level, this will give you the insights needed to launch top-performing campaigns. On an individual level, it helps you develop the personalized experiences that keep your customers coming back...all without requiring any additional work from your staff.

To get access to this full-picture customer data, you will need a cannabis-specific CRM, like the Baker platform. The multi-functional platform will enable you to run your loyalty program, collect subscribers from your website, shop online, and create personalized buyer journeys for your customers, based on product interests and communication preferences.

The Expanding Consumer Market

The expanding and changing consumer market can be seen as a challenge for maturing dispensaries. After all, it requires you to change your messaging and marketing tactics in order to reach out to new, unfamiliar markets and keep up with your competition.

It can also be a huge opportunity – especially in saturated markets. Many of your competitors may still be focused on the original consumer demographic. This leads to a saturated market.

Luckily, this gives you the opportunity to expand your target market. As Eli Sklarin, the Director of Marketing at Baker says,

“Cannabis is an amazing plant and I believe that between THC, CBD and the hundreds of other cannabinoids, anyone can be a customer. So rather than fighting over the traditional user who uses advanced techniques to consume their cannabis, I would say, ‘Contribute to the industry by attracting the new user. The folks who have never heard of the term sativa just might be valuable, lifelong customers.’ The more consumers the industry has, the more quickly unfair regulations will go away.”

In order to tap into these markets, you will need to get creative. Think about how to get in front of this customer that is not too familiar with the plant...you probably won’t find them on traditional cannabis acquisition tools, like Leafly or Weedmaps. This might mean you attend non-cannabis events, or even host your own. Design a beautiful website, full of educational materials and an online menu where they can explore your product offerings.


The maturing cannabis retail market is no longer a thing of the future. We have come a long way. We’ve watched it spread, grow, change and innovate like no other industry. A changing market requires us to also change our strategies. To learn more about how technology can help in your strategy refresh, get a Baker demo.

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