Viewpoints

Retailers geo-target weather-based offers

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The weather is a great conversation starter. Most of us have used it to break the ice during elevator rides and at parties.

Retailers and manufacturers are using it for a different purpose: to drive sales.

Indeed, the weather makes a huge impact on what people purchase. It influences daily decisions, from what consumers wear and where they go to what they eat and drink.

So much so that retailers and manufacturers are sending geo-targeted offers based on the daily forecast.

Take Walmart, which is testing a weather program with the Weather Co. that sends geo-targeted ads depending on the weather. The retailer may promote Gatorade if the temperature soars over 90 degrees; or Campbell’s Soup if the temperature plummets below 40 degrees. And on days when the pollen count is high, it may advertise Claritin. Andy Murray, Walmart’s SVP of Creative, used all three examples when discussing the program during a keynote presentation at the Shopper Marketing Summit in March. The campaign earned an Effie shopper marketing award.

Other retailers are also involved. Walgreens and Procter & Gamble teamed to help women find a solution for bad hair days triggered by changes in the humidity. The “Pantene Weather Program” reached women when they checked the Weather Co. app on their mobile device. Women received a “haircast” based on the local weather. If, say, the woman lived in an area with high humidity, she saw an ad for an anti-frizz Pantene product. A Pantene coupon for use at Walgreens accompanied the ad.

Kellogg, meanwhile, runs ads on the Weather Channel’s new newsfeed app. The company's breakfast products are promoted at the start of the day.

An article posted on mobilemarketer.com explains how the program works:

The flashy ads feature various Kellogg breakfast cereals that promote the meal as an essential way of beginning the day right.

When clicked on, the ads redirect to the manufacturer’s Web site, where they can learn more about Kellogg’s product offerings.

Duane Reade is tapping into the weather-marketing trend as well. It has teamed with a personalized weather alert service called Poncho, which currently operates in New York City and Boston, and is seeking additional markets.

When people sign up for Poncho, they are asked several questions, including if they have allergies. If they do, they are sent a three-day pollen forecast via text or email, along with a coupon for $4 off a 30-count box of Claritin at Duane Read.

Kuan Huang, Poncho’s founder told me that allergy marketing is big business, as about 4,000 of Poncho’s 15,000 subscribers said they have allergies.

The Duane Reade pilot is the beginning of what could be a new era in marketing. Just think about the possibilities, Huang said. By aligning with daily weather alerts, retailers can not only promote products, but also store services. If it snows, for instance, they could send coupons for their grocery delivery services.

“Poncho allows businesses to reach consumers as soon as they wake up — a critical time because that’s when they’re making their decisions for the day,” Huang said.

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Discuss this Blog Entry 1

Senya (not verified)
on Aug 22, 2014

I agree that real-time weather data is an invaluable asset for a retailers' marketing strategy.
Weather helps contextualize promotions, making them relevant and timely - increasing ad impact and minimizing wasted impressions.

With the Weather Channel recently announcing a partnership with Twitter to roll out weather-targeted ads across the social network, weather data is becoming a mainstream component of real-time targeted marketing.

If you would like some more information on weather-based marketing, here's a useful free white paper: http://www.weatherunlocked.com/insights/how-to-increase-advertising-roi-...

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David Orgel is executive director, content & user engagement, of Supermarket News (SN) and its website, SupermarketNews.com. Orgel delivers his opinions on industry trends through a bi-weekly...

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