Using weather data to drive locally-targeted marketing results

While many marketers know that weather affects their business, they may not understand how, why or what to do about it. Discovering how to take advantage of weather-related opportunities—and avoiding the negative impacts of weather on sales and marketing—can be extremely important to many brands.

This was our challenge with one of our client’s brands, a consumer mosquito-control product for use outside the home. The fact that products in the lawn and garden category are impacted by weather is a given, however, by using our CALLAHAN INTELLIGENCE PLATFORM, we learned something that wasn’t so plain to see.

Because rain is a major contributor to standing water, which breeds mosquitos, weather is going to affect sales for this particular product in some way, but how exactly?

Using the Intelligence Platform, we analyzed the national daily sales numbers for our client’s mosquito-control product at the individual retail store level. Then we looked at day-by-day weather data at the zip code level. As we expected, we saw broad seasonal sales trends from late spring into summer and early fall across the country. But when we looked deeper into the data, we discovered a specific relationship between rainfall and sales of which our client wasn’t previously aware.

We found that in zip codes across the country, an inch of rain consistently correlated to a sales spike exactly one to two weeks later. From an advertising standpoint, this information is invaluable. It allows us to initiate what we call trigger-based advertising where we have an established media plan and target, and we wait for a specific trigger event to happen before we deploy the campaign ads.

In this case, when one inch of rain falls in a zip code, it triggers our geo-targeted digital media in those exact locations. It’s the ultimate implementation of the maxim, “advertise when people are buying.” We promote our client’s brand at the precise time people are looking for mosquito-control products, because we know the weather conditions are creating consumer demand.

Imagine all the other ways to use data-driven, trigger-based advertising. Knowing that potential customers will be looking for certain products in specific locations at particular times could inform in-store POS, sampling programs, special offers, etc. The applications of this principal to various brand marketing situations vary, but the benefits are the same.

Historically, we might have taken a cookie cutter approach for our client, i.e, it’s going to rain in the spring, so we’ll advertise a mosquito-control product the same everywhere. Our data-savvy approach has changed the game. Instead of oversimplifying the mosquito season, we’ve honed in on how it’s very different from California to Georgia, Minnesota to Texas. But even more impressive is our ability to analyze enough granular data to know when to advertise to the north side of Atlanta and when to advertise to the south side of Atlanta. It’s really that specific.

The main takeaway here is that we help our clients spend marketing dollars when and where people are buying, so they don’t waste dollars when and where consumers aren’t. That’s how “uncovering aha” enables smarter marketing and translates into increased sales and better ROI.

Photo by Jack Finnigan on Unsplash