GEN Z demographic

As a cannabis dispensary owner, manager, or marketer; understanding and connecting with your target demographic is key to success. Knowing which consumers you should focus on to achieve the best results for your business can be overwhelming if you don’t know where or how to start. This blog post will give you an overview of what factors can influence your targeting decisions so that your dispensary can reach its peak performance levels in no time!

Table of Contents

What Demographic Should Your Dispensary Target?

The target market for your cannabis dispensary may not be who you think they are. Over the past few years, there has been a plethora of new cannabis customer personas that are emerging well beyond the everyday ‘stoner’. Legal cannabis has opened the door to explorers and entry-level enthusiasts as well as a much deeper product catalog for habitual marijuana consumers.

In order to capitalize on this surge of new consumers the cannabis industry must read the terrain, understand the demographic breakdown of the market and coordinate its marketing strategy appropriately.

Let’s begin by taking a look at your customer base, determine your target audiences and gather a breakdown of age groups like; baby boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z entering the market.

Then let’s take a look at how best to reach these audiences. Take Gen Z for example, who would require using different marketing channels, like social media, than Baby Boomers.

First, we’ll need a system to understand who’s shopping at your dispensary.

Who’s shopping at my cannabis business?

Too often, cannabis dispensaries make the mistake of marketing their products to a broad group of ‘stoners’. This somewhat outdated term has been associated with laziness and other stigmas are a thing of the past as many professionals, athletes, and people from all walks of life use marijuana in a variety of forms for a variety of reasons.

From CBD-infused edibles to distillate dabbing, marijuana consumers are not a monolithic stereotype.

As new markets and products emerge within the cannabis space retailers will need to be aware of the wide range of demographics who use cannabis, whether it is for recreational or medical use. Then go to work on expanding their product catalog to what Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z prefer.

Marketing exclusively to the baby boomer demographic leaves out a large majority of the modern-day cannabis consumer base, who are likely incorporating cannabis use into their daily lives. This larger, younger group made up primarily of Gen X will provide the majority of revenue at your dispensary.

Understanding who your cannabis consumers are by enrolling them into a loyalty program, collecting a small amount of background information, and incentivizing their return is what will establish your dispensary as an industry leader.

What cannabis brands they prefer and more importantly, which cannabis consumption method they are electing to use can greatly affect your cannabis business’s marketing strategy. With new consumption methods such as; vaporization, inflammatory topical medicines, infused beverages, and many other product categories, traditional markets are being disrupted.

Changes to the cannabis industry

As new cannabis products emerge; experienced cannabis users, entrants and enthusiasts may see the benefits of shifting from things like smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol to perhaps trying vaporizing CBD cartridges or THC-infused beverages.

Using a system like springbig you can easily visualize your sales data to segment your customer base into these customer personas.

Manual Consumer Insights

If you are not currently using an analytics tool like springbig, you can still enroll your customers into your POS and manually see which demographic is purchasing which product categories, and brands.

Managing spreadsheets and trying to log and assess all your sales data without the proper tools can be quite labor-intensive.

However, it can provide the necessary consumer insights to formulate a basic understanding of the adult use cannabis trends in your area of operation.

Once you have an understanding of the demographic breakdown of your market, you can tailor your cannabis businesses’ marketing efforts and product catalog to properly cater to your target audience.

Now let’s dive into the different types of cannabis users from an age demographic standpoint. From Baby Boomers to Gen Z and everything in between, we’ll go through the typical consumer behavior seen in these demographics.

Cannabis Customer Personas

Baby Boomers

These old-schoolers have been using cannabis since before it was cool. They’ll always have a special place in the hearts of those looking to push their cannabis brand. These customers are reliable, consistent, and know what they want above all else. They may however be unaware of new product categories that are constantly being innovated, like concentrates’.

These customers tend to enjoy flowers over other methods of consumption, so keep that in mind when marketing to them.

Appealing to ‘baby boomer’ clients will take a much different approach. Having a wide selection of flower and preroll brands at varying prices will prove to be important.

Baby Boomer Smoking a Joint

Catering to these older individuals might not seem like a worthwhile endeavor, but don’t think so fast. In just 4 years, cannabis use among Americans aged 65 and older grew by 75%, according to Reuters. With growing interest from these Baby Boomers, you won’t want to leave them out of your marketing plan.

Being extremely knowledgeable about your products in terms of budtender education is also a vital aspect of targeting older demographics, as they tend to know plenty about traditional cannabis products than the average entry-level consumer, but are not well versed on the latest innovations

Entering the Cannabis Space after State-Legalization

The state-to-state legal cannabis industry is extremely new to many people in the U.S. as it is still technically federally illegal in all 50 states.

Today, while it is not legal federally, a large portion of states have legalized cannabis both recreationally as well as medicinally.

A large portion of new consumers are coming from other industries that provide similar effects with many more side effects, take this chart comparing alcohol as an example.

cannabis vs. alcohol

The US is also on track to be fully legalized in the states sooner rather than later. In appealing to the new consumers that will undoubtedly continue pouring into newly legal cannabis markets , education and comfort will play vital roles in executing a cannabis marketing strategy designed to appeal to this target audience.

Gen Z & new cannabis entrants

When it comes to the Gen Z consumer base it will be extremely important to educate them with compelling content about marijuana and break certain false stigmas attached to its consumption. All while introducing them to the wide variety of cannabis product categories.

Ensuring your consumer purchasing process is secure and makes cannabis consumers feel safe is a must for this demographic. Many new customers may still have the idea of illicit deals in their heads. Make sure they know how safe and comfortable buying cannabis will be at your dispensary.

New cannabis consumers will likely try a range of consumption methods , until they find a method that they thoroughly enjoy.

Non-combustion experienced cannabis users

There is a growing trend of people who are interested in non-combustion based cannabis products. This includes things like edibles, topicals, tinctures, vaporizers, and capsules. These types of products are often seen as being targeted to more health conscious since there is no smoke inhalation involved and vaporizing the compounds drastically reduces the carcinogenic intake.


These consumers are often looking for specific relief from cardio-related issues, anxiety, chronic pain as well as respiratory or sleep disorders. These products also tend to be more expensive than traditional flower, so dispensaries need to make sure they are carrying a good selection of these items.

Health, Wellness, and Medical Customers

Dispensaries that are especially focused on recreational cannabis often forget about medically motivated customers when formulating their marketing strategy. Consumers in the Baby Boomer demographic are often looking to use cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceutical medication to alleviate joint inflammation and chronic pain.

Unlike recreational customers, this segment of customers is looking for relief from undiagnosed medical ailments. These ailments could range from muscle, bone, and tissue inflammation to insomnia, muscle recovery, alcohol abuse, and a wide range of mental health issues like anxiety and PTSD.

They may be more interested in CBD products to help with their symptoms than psychoactive cannabinoids. Dispensaries should make sure they are carrying a good selection of medically based cannabis products and have knowledgeable staff who can help these consumers find the right product for their needs.

Medicinally Registered Patients

It is unlikely that as a cannabis retailer, you would receive many medical marijuana users at your dispensary as there are other often cheaper channels available to registered medical patients.

However, if a patient does enter your dispensary for maybe a quicker process, one way to spot them is they usually have medical marijuana cards or recommendations from a doctor or medical professional.

In some states, patients are required to register with the state in order to purchase medical cannabis products, so be sure to check your own compliance regulations.

Gen X & Millennial Professionals

Many cannabis brands overlook this next segment as the stigma surrounding “laziness” and the substance is still engrained heavily in the media. However, one of the most successful segments of customer categories is the professional.

Which is, the hard-working individuals aged 25-45 who use cannabis recreationally for mental health reasons or to improve their overall well-being.

Nearly 84% of cannabis users are employed full-time, according to a survey by Miner & Co. Studios, and with all their hard work, they need something to keep their minds and body right.

In appealing to these individuals, hitting on the mental health benefits and the benefits cannabis can bring to your overall well-being will be extremely important.

Marketing the benefits of the sleep-inducing CBN compound or ‘focus-inducing’ strains of cannabis can provide this niche cannabis consumer the insights they need to advance their cannabis use and avoid any pharmaceutical alternatives.

With this group, you’ll also want to dispel any negative stigmas they might associate with cannabis, especially those coming from their slightly more conservative colleagues at work.

Cannabis Connoisseurs

There are many types of cannabis users out there, but one subset that is often overlooked is the experienced cannabis connoisseur.

This VIP demographic gravitates toward premium product selections and is similar to wine sommeliers. They have specific tendencies and expectations that need to be reached to ensure their prompt return.

cannabis connoisseur

While they may not be the largest group of cannabis consumers, advanced ‘connoisseurs’ can be very valuable customers for dispensaries. They tend to have high customer loyalty to brands and retailers they trust.

They are also often willing to pay a premium for high-quality products. So target your advertising initiatives by spending using springbig filters to make sure your high-end cannabis moves. If you can appeal to this demographic, they can be a great source of repeat business.

By incorporating loyalty programs like springbigs you can ensure, incentivize, and capitalize on this repeat business and create optimum cannabis consumer behavior.

Advanced Cannabis Marketing

Once you have an understanding of the valuable insights into your consumer demographics in your system, you’ll want to make sure that you are doing the most to ensure that you’re saying the right things to the right consumers, using the right communication medium.

While sending one message to all of your customers is okay, sending targeted messages to customers based on their preferred cannabis product category, or even a specific brand within that segment is even better.

Targeting your marketing content is one of the key takeaways for attracting potential customers to your legal dispensary for your growing cannabis business.

Media consumption by demographic

When crafting your advertising campaigns, pay attention to the medium in which you are approaching your target audience. For instance, Gen Z is much more engaged with social media, while baby boomers feel most comfortable with email.

Having an omnichannel solution that allows you to deliver your cannabis message based on the preferred platform of your recipient is vital for driving engagement.

So your advertising strategy should take on as many social media platforms, email, SMS, and any other compliant communication methods as you can handle.

Target customer segments with springbig’s autoconnects

With our 30+ POS integrations, your consumer data can be seamlessly integrated and protected. With our HIPPA and SOC2 certifications, you can rest easy that your consumer data and your customer base are protected.

Springbig’s autoconnects allow you to set up messages to be automatically sent to customers based on certain actions and traits such as age, interests, visits, and even total spending at your dispensary among many other things.

This paired with our cannabis loyalty marketing software makes for a marketing strategy like no other!

Ultimately saving you and your dispensary time, money, and effort. Which makes it much easier to optimize your marketing efforts and boost sales.

Upgrade your cannabis dispensary marketing software with springbig today!

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