Why Experiential Marketing Matters for Your Dispensary Design

experiential cannabis marketing | dispensary design

Learn How Experiential Cannabis Marketing Can Translate to Brand Loyalty and Increased Sales

It seems everyone is trying to keep up with the momentum of cannabis legalization lately. State by state, government officials find themselves penning laws designed to legalize and regulate medicinal and recreational cannabis sales. The close of 2019 even brought legalization to the federal stage with the House Judiciary Committee voting to decriminalize the highly useful, yet long-prohibited medicinal plant.

With new governing legislation comes scores of eager canna-businesses and brands to the post-prohibition cannabis space, many with their eye on selling the newly legalized plant at licensed dispensaries.

It’s a New Dawn. It’s a New Day

Gone are the days of back-alley dispensaries or “picking up” from your cousin’s connect. Today’s dispensary owners are free to explore design practices to attract today’s canna-curious or cannasseurs. As with any industry, cannabis dispensary owners are tasked with how to both attract andkeep customers engaged when plotting their design. We did some digging and learned how investing in experiential marketing when designing your dispensary can help you do both: attract and keep customers.

2020 is ALL About Experiential Marketing

For both the novice and experienced consumer, design matters and today’s consumers demand a memorable experience. In addition to the quality of service and diversity of products available, modern dispensary owners are beginning to realize how invaluable it is to provide a personal connection and create an atmosphere that keeps customers coming back.

Not only can these experiences help attract and keep clientele but, when executed properly, customers should also leave knowing what your company stands for. So how do you provide that education and connection with so many regulatory and legal limitations on the location and advertising of your cannabis business?

Industry insiders say that in order to provide this influential connection, you’ll need to incorporate a branded experience into your dispensary design; one that leaves the customer feeling impacted, educated, and elevated. Known as the strategy that helps convert brand awareness to brand loyalty, branded experiences are the foundation of experiential marketing. 

Note: Some believe that the regulations “impeding cannabis business advertising efforts” are the catalyst dispensaries need to begin thinking about how to interact with customers in a more creative and impactful way. 

Experiential Marketing = Branded Experiences = Dispensary Loyalty 

Whether it’s a cool, transgressive, or trendy Instagrammable wall, rotating art installations, product demonstrations from vetted cannabis brands, or an event hosting a local non-profit fundraiser at your site, creating a memorable connection between the consumer and the dispensary is critical to ensuring what everyone in the cannabis space desires: loyalty.

How You Can Incorporate Experiential Marketing into The Design of Your Cannabis Business

Whether you’re designing from scratch or re-designing your dispensary, there are some non-negotiables to develop and execute a truly effective experiential marketing campaign.

First, know your community. What works in the suburbs does not always fare well in industrial or inner-city areas. Even if your target market lay outside the geographic lines, it is important to develop a mutually satisfying relationship with and know your neighbors. Not everyone is ecstatic that a dispensary is coming to town and not every community is the same so developing experiences that bridge that divide can be highly effective.

Second, develop an experiential marketing strategy that aligns or supports your goals and then stick to it! There is fierce competition for dispensary market share and sending mixed messages to your client base via the experience you curate can hinder your ability to rise to the top. If you’re focused on social equity and community, your experiences should reflect that. If the intent is education and comfort, produce experiences that facilitate each.

Third, use space wisely. Dispensary owners want to know that they are using their real estate wisely and in a way that attracts and keeps customers. Some dedicate time by hosting monthly events that support local organizations, other’s dedicate floor or wall space to execute their experiential goals.

Who’s Doing It Right

As the oldest operating dispensary in Los Angeles, LAPCG uses its commitment to inclusion and demand for social equity to facilitate successful, participatory marketing efforts since their inception in 2004, long before experiential marketing was even a thing.

The bare-bones, yet ultimate timed experiential marketing effort is also seen at, SPARC, who first opened its doors in 2010 and curates Wednesday night game nights on a weekly basis for their community members.

Denver-based, Seed & Smith offers curated “seed-to-sale” tours of their operation which include all stage plant growth behind glass walls and permits photographs. “Take pictures, laugh with friends, and make memories on a tour you’ll never forget!” reads their website.

Experiential Cannabis Marketing Going Forward 

There are as many ways to deliver a memorable experiential marketing campaign as there are strains of cannabis. Whether you use a mural to engage consumers, or allocate space to host events or installations, design matters to brand loyalty and cannabis dispensaries are no different. As we continue to move forward with cannabis legalization, let’s continue to find unique and engaging ways to design retail cannabis dispensaries, experientially.

Want more information? Join us for a CannaCon event in your area and you’ll have the opportunity to attend seminars, discuss industry legislation, and learn more from leaders that have paved the way in cannabis business. Get your tickets today!

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