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How marketers can use weather data as a strategic tailwind

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How marketers can use weather data as a strategic tailwind


30-second summary:

  • By understanding weather’s impact on consumer’s behaviors and decisions, marketers can work holistically across all functions of their organization to find unique opportunities
  • From anticipating product demand, optimizing in-store staffing, to maximizing supply-chain efficiency – weather data provides a key indicator of how brands can streamline operations and prevent resource wastage
  • Applying AI can help marketers harness deep insights that impact revenue growth

With potential legislation swirling around how marketers will be able to use data in the future, brands continue to need reliable, high-quality, privacy-forward data. Plus, these also need to be easy to access data sets that drive engagement, revenue, and growth. Weather data is and has always been, a proven predictor of consumer behavior that’s free of user identifiers. However, considering weather data’s complexity, applying artificial intelligence (AI) technology in parallel can maximize potential and make it actionable for marketers.

By tapping into the relationship between weather and consumer behavior with AI, marketers can look to extract deep insights and deliver messaging that is timely and intuitive. In totality, businesses can enjoy a strong position to make confident data-driven decisions and activate more conversion-worthy marketing moments.

Driving operational success across an organization

By now, we all know that weather can impact nearly everything in daily life — how we feel, what we do, even what we buy. With brands looking to uncover patterns and potentially obscure data sets to participate in the attention economy, the function of a marketing department needs to sit at the forefront of all organizational decisions. No longer can marketers sit in their silos and allow for operational decisions to be made without their weigh-in.

Marketers need to harness AI-powered solutions for real-time decision-making. But these capabilities don’t just fit in the marketing bucket anymore. They go beyond and can also help define staffing decisions, supply chain strategy, and forecast product demand for both in-store as well as digital platforms.

The key to streamlining data with decision-making

As we all learned the hard way in 2021, the walled gardens have a particularly strong hold on our industry’s data and which solutions can be relied upon moving forward. At any one moment, the walled gardens can completely upend our industry and change revenue forecasting, on a whim.

This is the pulse of why marketers need to think as advocates for the open web. It’s critical that marketers as a breed, double down on working with data that prioritizes consumer privacy. But this data also needs to be accurate and effective in order for marketers to truly base decisions on the weather.

Our ‘Winter Seasonal Outlook 2021-22 research‘ has shown marketers using weather data have been able to reduce media waste by as much as 35 percent and improve campaign performance by over 1000 percent.

Here are some more insights from our report:

  • 45 percent of consumers use weather information to make buying decisions a day in advance
  • 52 percent of consumers used weather data to decide their purchases for the next two to 10 days
  • 51 percent of people were more social during seasonal transitions
  • 84 percent of health-minded consumers used weather data to actively manage their health conditions

Marketers who can understand the impact of weather data forecasts, and tap into their findings, can build subsequent consumer responses, use weather data to mitigate risk, and therefore – anticipate and influence consumer behavior.

AI and weather are strong components for actionable data architecture

Regardless of how good the datasets are, marketers will still need technology to help make sense of what’s in front of them. Using AI, marketers can aggregate and analyze increasingly large and complex data sets. These are strong tools to unlock ROI by efficient targeting opportunities that make advertising more relevant and resonant with your consumers.

The unique combination of weather data and AI can enable marketers to:

  • Deliver on campaign goals and objectives by serving relevant ads to their consumers based on the projected impact of upcoming weather conditions in a defined area
  • Enhance message relevance and resonance to ensure that ad messaging resonates by powering ads only when optimal conditions are present
  • Improve brand perception by staying compliant through advertising campaigns, as this solution requires no third-party cookies, identifiers, or other personally identifiable information
  • Reduce wasteful media spending to ensure that ad dollars are being spent in the moments that are most impactful

Marketers can tap into this power and amplify opportunities across their organizations.

2022 demands marketers to be agile and open to testing new data sources

It’s no secret that the advertising ecosystem is rapidly shifting and for marketers, this constant evolution can feel daunting. However, by trusting and testing alternative forms of data, like the weather, brands can stay one step ahead of their consumers as well as competition to consistently deliver value.

As marketers, let’s use the winds of change to our advantage and explore how tapping into alternative data can give the industry a much-needed directional shift, forward.


Lauren Lee is the Head of Product Marketing at IBM Watson Advertising.

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