As marketers, crafting and improving the customer experience through the respective buying cycles is crucial to increasing revenue. However, even with the best of marketing campaigns it can be difficult to weather the storm of unpredictability with regards to customer behaviors. How can you increase relevance and revenue by tapping into the power of weather targeting?
We’re excited to have Daniel Alexander, co-founder and chief meteorologist at Silverpop partner WeatherAlpha, share his thoughts on the power of incorporating weather forecasts into your marketing campaigns.
As consumers, weather affects our daily lives. For many of us, it’s the first thing we check in the morning. It plays a part in what we wear, our social plans, the route we take to work, when we travel — even our health and our moods.
For brands, fully understanding how to leverage weather conditions is key to planning effective marketing campaigns — ones which translate weather into revenue. It seems obvious, but as a brand, agency, publisher or ad-tech platform it’s unclear how to start.
Targeting Weather Challenges
When you decide to target weather, so many atmospheric factors weigh in — temperature, precipitation, precipitation type, cloud cover and wind speed are all fair game for targeting. Drill a little deeper and it becomes more complicated — do I target areas of heavy rain or light rain for my rain tires? Both? What does “heavy rain” mean to people in different cities, and how can I easily adjust my campaign for those differences? What’s the best temperature for advertising fleece pullovers? At what wind speed do power systems become compromised so folks explore purchasing a generator? These are tricky questions, even for seasoned digital weather veterans.
Let’s say you sell footwear products and want to target wherever “it’s snowing.” Surely, this fluffy, beautiful, worthy trigger will send boots flying off the shelf — after all, your brand is strongly linked to snowy weather, so what could go wrong? Well, consider this: Even in the snowiest cities in the United States — Denver, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Chicago, Boston — 90 percent of wintertime hours don’t have snow falling from the sky. It’s essential to know your climate.
The typical snowstorm only lasts around 12 to 18 hours, some less than that. It’s the rare blockbuster snowstorm that exceeds 24 hours. The mountains and lake areas are a different story, but we’re talking about big cities (no offense, Buffalo).
People are generally not out and about during snowstorms shopping for apparel. So, how do we overcome statistical and behavioral challenges? Here are three tips for increasing revenue through weather targeting:
1) Compare Past Sales with Past Weather
One of the first steps to understanding how weather affects your business is knowing how your sales are impacted by different types of conditions. For selling snow boots, the first thought would be that snowy conditions might be the greatest motivator — and that may be true. However, by analyzing past sales data in relation to past weather conditions, you may gain additional insight into consumer behavior.
For example, in regions of the country where snow is a more regular occurrence, you might find that order volume doesn’t spike nearly as much as it does in areas where snow is less frequent. Additionally, there may be other conditions, such as high wind or cloud cover, which may boost sales more than you previously thought.
2) Add a Forecast Trigger
Another way to drive revenue is to add a forecast trigger — for example, open up the targeting by serving ads in areas where it’s forecast to snow at least four inches. Do this, and you lengthen the ad’s impact while allowing the end user to prepare for the approaching storm.
In this way you can serve ads that say something to the effect of, “Hi [name], the forecast for tomorrow says it’s going to snow 5 inches. Today’s a good day to purchase those snow boots you’ve been thinking about getting.”
3) Utilize a Past Weather Trigger
A third way to increase engagement is to utilize a past weather trigger. From an inventory perspective, the benefits of these added forecast triggers can be tremendous. For example, if you add two days of forecast snowy weather and one day of past snowy weather to your current weather triggering strategy, you’re turning a 12-hour event into one that lasts for 3.5 days. When you consider that around two significant snowstorms fall per month in northern U.S. climates, that translates into a full week per month to get the message out to those in the boot-path of the storm.
Whether you’re a brand, agency, publisher, or ad-tech platform, targeting by weather makes it easy for you to create more efficient campaigns and make more meaningful connections with customers.
And since this type of targeting varies in complexity from business to business, the strategies may not be as complicated as you thought, beginning with the simplest strategy of all: just start!
WeatherAlpha delivers industry-specific solutions to clients seeking to understand the impact of weather on their businesses and gain a competitive advantage. For more information, visit www.weatheralpha.com/.
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