7 Minute Read
Any marketer can tell you that weather means BIG business. It’s hard to miss the fact that weather accounts for $3 trillion worth of business in the private sector alone, and it’s the second biggest influencer of buying decisions after the state of the economy.
Weather accounts for $3 trillion worth of business in the private sector alone
And any person can probably tell you that weather affects consumer behavior.
When conditions get cold and miserable, a lot of people turn to warm comfort foods. When it’s hot, nothing sounds better than a cool drink.
However, not everyone knows that weatherization marketing can now be implemented on a minute by minute basis, or triggered by optimal buying conditions. Real time weatherization is unique in that it ties in location, atmospheric conditions, and buyer intent at the same time.
One of my favorite examples of weatherized trigger based marketing is Campbell’s Soup Company’s “misery index.” The ad campaign involves a series of algorithmic calculations related to harsh weather conditions, and ramps up advertisements in certain areas accordingly.
“The brand team conducts weekly meetings with media buyers to review a 30-city ‘misery index’ that Campbell[’s] has built using an algorithm that incorporates temperature fluctuations within a given day, the year-ago difference, the week-ago difference and extra credit for snow or ‘nasty’ rain. When an area becomes miserable, it gets a positive ranking on the index (negative ratings ironically connote a relatively happy area),” according to an AdAge article.
But it’s not just small purchases that are affected by weather conditions. Climate affects macro purchases like cars and houses too (purchases in which you’d figure research and analysis would truly trump impulse).
A 20-degree increase in temperature translated to an 8.5% increase in convertibles sold
This study analyzed over 40 million car purchases and the weather during the purchase and realized, “A 20-degree increase in temperature translated to an 8.5% increase in convertibles sold. In the 2 to 3 weeks following a major snow storm, the percentage of four-wheel-drive vehicles sold increased by 6%. Clear sunny skies also increased sales by about the same amount as a 16-degree increase in temperature.”
Types of Weatherization Marketing
When running a weatherized campaign, it’s important to look at how you’re leveraging the most ubiquitous talking points circling round the planet.
- Historical Seasonality: This is straightforward. There are distinct marketing seasons based on historical weather patterns. But this method is becoming less dependable. Last year, clothing retailers in the US lost an estimated $185 million in sales because of unseasonably warm weather.
- Live Weather: This is about sending out the right message during weather that’s currently happening. Ad campaigns can be triggered by weather conditions, and different elements or copy can be utilized. Real-time website weatherization means using user location, local weather, and buyer intent to produce personalized pages.
- Forecasting: This is about making a sales pitch before weather happens. An example may be to sell beach equipment a few days before a balmy weekend.
Why Real-Time Weatherization is Important
Weatherization is just one way that personalization impacts the internet as well as sales.
Weather impacts every industry from pharmaceuticals to beverages. No industry can truly be isolated from its environment.
Because impressions are made at the right time, weatherized targeting also increases ROI.
Many companies have already run successful real-time weatherization ad campaigns:
- Stella Artois: Increased YOY sales of their apple cider by 65% during their minute by minute weather campaign. The Stella team only showed ads during optimal buying conditions, and realized a 50% reduction in costs. (Source)
- Pantene: By partnering with the Weather Channel, with the intent of increasing hair product sales at Walgreens, Pantene created a “Haircast” ad campaign that realized a 24% increase in sales. The same campaign also upped hair product sales by 4% at Walgreens. (Source)
- BMW: In order to promote xDrive (an all-wheel drive system that splits torque according to driving conditions), BMW used real time targeting during snowy, rainy, and clear weather in the UK. The weather triggered campaign realized a 30% increase in engagement on Facebook. (Source)
Intuitively, more people buy ice cream from supermarkets when it gets warmer, but when the mercury spikes too high, ice cream sales actually drop. People don’t want to get home to open a melted treat, or even leave in the first place.
As with A/B testing, weatherization results may seem counterintuitive at times. Different locations and cultural tastes mean that it’s not always possible to apply broad industry results. Sometimes, sales of a specific product can be associated with an exact temperature.
It’s always best to use data instead of intuition to avoid wasting resources on an ad campaign that may or may not convert your customers.
Creating a responsive website based on consumer intent… increases the likelihood of making a sale
Real time weatherization should also be applied across websites, not just ad campaigns. An outdoor clothing retail site might sell products that range every season, so creating a responsive website based on consumer intent that’s also weatherized increases the likelihood of making a sale.
It would be a crime to write something about the weather and not really talk about it. While weather prediction is getting more accurate, climate change means that historical weather models are becoming less and less dependable.
Permanent or quick changes in normal weather patterns are undoubtedly going to affect what people buy. This could mean anything from buying more water storage tanks during a drought, or purchasing solar panels on an unseasonably sunny day.
We may not have all of the answers to problems posed by climate change, but it is possible to spread the word about ground-breaking technologies when people are most receptive to it. And that’s powerful.
Thanks for reading!