Weather or not: how Jonas makes money for marketers

As we write this, we’re all still in various stages of digging out from Winter Storm Jonas. Direct Choice got a dusting.

The massive system that dumped upwards of three feet around the nation’s capital and two feet here in the Philadelphia area delivered a punch for weather watchers, local TV addicts and—not surprisingly—marketers and brands as well.

city winter

The forecast factor

As local and national weatherfolks start predicting doom and gloom, social media weighs in and the rest is dollar signs for your neighborhood grocery stores, hardware outlets and gas stations. Extreme winter weather triggers a surge in preparation shopping by consumers. It’s especially powerful when a storm is as well forecast and publicized as Jonas. By last Thursday there was hardly a loaf of bread or other gluten product to be found on most supermarket shelves. The same was the case for snowblower, generator and shovel sales, not to mention the lines for gasoline. Many stations ran out of various grades of petrol altogether. And let’s not even talk about toilet paper.

The Weather Channel predicted that 76 million Americans in Jonas’s path were out shopping in advance of the storm.

The psychology is powerful: “I could be stranded for weeks on end with no supplies.” The reality is of course that most of us spend just a few days cocooned in Forced Family Fun before desperately blasting out. And when we do, what do we do? Head back to the same stores for more purchases.

Weather marketing as a specialty

If you’re a Walmart, Lowe’s or Home Depot, your level of preparedness is no accident. These big stores rely on weather data and analytics to order and stock inventory. They “war room” their seasonal storm strategy including advance marketing, advertising, store staffing and SKU targeting. The goal is to have the right products available at the right time for their customers.

Opportunistic seasonal marketing

The smart money is on brands who see the flakes ahead of the rest and build a relevant campaign accordingly. Check out the old school standby Campbell’s Soup and their sensible, weather focused message to drive red and white cans into shoppers’ carts:

So tell us, were you out buying? And are you ready for the next storm?

Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

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