Weather or Not
Shoppers may be more apt to buy certain products during a warm, dry day in October than a similar day in July, suggests Katherine Rosman in The Wall Street Journal (8/15/13). This insight is based on "a series of polls" taken by the Weather Company, designed to determine a connection between "how local weather makes people feel" — and then shop — "in different regions of the country." Knowing that “people appreciate warm weather after summer months more than seasonally warm weather” could be helpful in deciding when or whether to advertise gardening supplies, for example.
As Weather Company chairman David Kenny explains: “People generally check the weather because they’re planning to do something … We are getting better at knowing the kinds of things people will be planning based on where and when they are checking the weather and what the weather is.” For example, Michael’s Stores thought it would make sense to advertise on rainy days, “when their customers often do craft projects.” However, it turns out that “sales of crafts surged not on rainy days but when the forecast called for rain three days in advance.”
As a result, Michaels began advertising when the extended forecast called for rain in three days. Hair-care products are another obvious candidate for this approach. “When weather is on our customer’s mind, we can give her a good solution for her hair,” says Kevin Crociata, a Pantene marketing director. Such targeting is largely made possible by the advent of mobile devices and the popularity of weather apps. “The old paradigm of business and weather was cope and avoid,” says Paul Walsh, a former meteorologist who now works for the Weather Company. “With technology, the paradigm is now anticipate and exploit.”