By Meghan Walstatter
At Pure Green, the medical marijuana dispensary I own on Sandy Boulevard in Northeast Portland, we place a strong emphasis on marketing. We have a marketing firm on retainer, a social media strategy and a part-time social media coordinator. Without these resources, we wouldn’t be able to compete within our industry.
We believe that a strong marketing strategy will set us apart from the hundreds of new businesses that are already proliferating as adult use gears up. Among our marketing goals for the year are the following: to determine the lifetime value of our customers and use this to make our marketing more effective, participate in neighborhood business groups, and expand our print ads to billboards.
Lifetime Value of Customer
Pure Green wants to identify the lifetime value of our customers so we can project our future cash flows with assurance. Using metrics like the lifetime value helps shift our focus away from quarterly profits and toward developing a long-term relationship with our customer. In a recreational market, our survival will be tied to our relationships with our customers. We want to learn more about them so we can better serve their needs.
Using advanced data management and analysis software, we are fine-tuning our ability to calculate the lifetime value of our customers. In order for our POS data to be usable, our employees have to create uniform patient profiles. This has turned into a big project considering we had no consistency for the last 13 months. This has meant revisiting a year’s worth of patient profiles to correct errors and backfill incomplete entries. We are double-checking the new patient profiles daily to ensure the formats are correct. It would have been much easier if we had required uniform entries from the beginning. Lesson learned.
Several Portland businesses participate in a program called Supportland. Their mission is to strengthen neighborhood business districts that lead to thriving local economies. Business owners allow customers to earn points through a loyalty program or a punch card. A customer can redeem their points at any of the participating businesses regardless of where the points were earned.
We are going to be the first dispensary in Portland to participate in this program. Portlanders support their local businesses with pride. By participating in this program, we show our commitment to our local economy and to our customers.
Several weeks ago, a sales rep from Clear Channel came to the shop to introduce herself and to provide pricing information about our local billboards. We were surprised at the affordability of an arterial street billboard. Our street is home to so many dispensaries they call it the “green mile.” A billboard with our logo at the opposite end of the “green mile” from Pure Green could build our brand recognition, increase our visibility and remind customers that they just need to drive a little further to find us.
We have identified three marketing goals to help our transition to adult use be smooth and successful. Only time will tell which one proved to be the most effective. I’m looking forward to the ride.
Meghan Walstatter and her husband, Matt, own Pure Green, a licensed medical dispensary located in Portland, Oregon. She is a founding member of both the Oregon Growers PAC and the Oregon Growers Association.