You can't change the weather, but AccuWeather sells it to marketers

Forecaster fills demand for real-time data for business clients

Digital marketing allows marketers to get specific with personalization and messaging based on triggers, such as abandoned shopping carts or visits to specific webpages.

AccuWeather, an American media company providing worldwide weather forecasting services, offers businesses insights about a data point – local weather – that not only has an impact on business decisions such as logistics, but also can be a powerful part of personalized or triggered marketing campaign.

Marie Svet, chief revenue officer for AccuWeather, told Marketing Dive that the company uses 54 years of weather data to make recommendations across its entire portfolio of products, and emphasized that weather data has an impact on many aspects of business.

“Many people don’t realize that weather impacts the entire value chain, not just the sales and marketing funnel. From the moment a product is conceived to the moment it is purchased and consumed, weather plays a part in the decision tree,” Svet explained. “With this understanding, we provide insights to companies to ensure that they are maximizing the value of their products and services wherever it makes sense. For example, weather triggering can be used as a targeting layer in an advertising campaign to increase campaign efficacy. It also can be used as an alert to inform businesses when to adjust pricing, begin production or relocate products.”

Making weather part of marketing

Using weather as a marketing data point makes sense because it touches on a number of ways to get relevant messaging to an audience. Weather can help personalize an offer, such as putting snow removal tools on sale during a surprise snow storm, and it brings a real-time element into play because the messaging can reference something the audience is currently experiencing. Couple location data, these messages can combine real-time, personalized and geotargeted marketing.

 “Everyone is looking to maximize the efficiency of their budgets,” said Svet. “Applying weather to their advertising strategy allows a marketer to send their message to locations only when a specific weather condition appears in that forecast. So with a single layer of targeting you are getting geo-targeting and weather in one! In addition, you can customize your message to speak to this which further delivers a relevant, personal message.”

Svet went on to describe businesses that have successfully used weather-based marketing, singling out Rain-X as a brand that has publicly shared its success with the tactic. She added that big box retailers, apparel companies, insurance firms, pharmaceutical companies, utilities and event venues have all also taken advantage of weather-based marketing opportunities.

How to take advantage of weather in marketing

“Weather is not a new concept but using it as part of your marketing strategy may be.  Don’t immediately dismiss it as having no impact on your business because it most likely does,” stated Svet. “Leverage the power of weather and your own sales data to gain insight on how weather is truly impacting your bottom line.”

In terms of actually putting weather data into practice Svet said no particular marketing channel is better suited to weather-triggered marketing than another.

She explained, “If you think about it from a user’s perspective, we as individuals consume weather information throughout the day. The only thing that changes is the method or platform by which we consume it. For example, a person wakes up to rain on the window. They check AccuWeather to see what the day will be on their mobile phone. They decide to commute earlier because rain will impact traffic. They turn on the radio to listen for weather and traffic for the rest of their commute and day.”

Svet continued, “They periodically check weather throughout the day on their desktop computer to see if it will be raining after work. Because it’s still raining, they forgo doing errands after work and watch TV.  A strategically placed, weather-triggered message would reach this person across all of these channels.”

For its part, AccuWeather offers forecast and video content through its website, the mobile web, apps and platforms such as wearables and smart TVs. Its mobile web user base grew 18% last year compared to 2014, and its apps on both Apple and Android devices are growing as well.

As a final thought on weather-based marketing, Svet said, “Weather impacts everything. If you leverage AccuWeather data effectively to identify where it impacts your value chain the most, your bottom line will reap the benefits.”

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Trends Mobile