Sunday March 20th marks the first official day of Spring in 2016 and consumers everywhere are waiting eagerly for a break in the winter blahs.  Usually, the transition to spring brings a spirit of optimism, positive energy and the desire to try new things; all emotional responses businesses leverage to drive a spike in sales.  This year, March 20th won’t be a magical transition point and capitalizing on the season will take more planning than usual.

The Weather Company studied more than 12,000 people and found some interesting phenomena. While sunshine led to positive feelings, precipitation drove negative ones. Snowy or stormy weather made people seek comfort and put safety and preparation as their first priority. While hot, humid, rainy conditions made people restless, irritated and looking for the easy solution. The average spring harkens positive vibes and a desire to try new things much to marketers’ delight. Only this year, spring won’t be sunny and warm.

We’re experiencing the strongest El Nino since 1998 and as a result the entire southern third of the United States will be colder and wetter than average spring conditions. That means typical March and April promotions will struggle because a delay of warm, sunny weather will encourage more traditional “winter behavior” to extend through April.

Businesses looking to capitalize on spring should keep these predictions in mind:

  • Although the South will have a delayed Spring, the North has experienced a mild winter. A pent-up demand for outdoor items & experiences will be in full swing throughout March & April.
  • Every day won’t be gloomy this spring. Smart marketers will leverage breaks in the wet, cooler weather to execute time-sensitive “spring-like” promotions.
  • The wet, cooler weather is likely to extend the cold & flu season. Home remedies, cozy slippers and over the counter and prescribed medications are likely to remain in high demand.
  • Although allergy season will be delayed in southern states, when it hits it will do so with a vengeance. Marketers should be at the ready to respond with preventative care tips, allergy medications and air filtering technologies.
  • Extended rainy periods are likely to cause flooding & mud slides in high risk areas. Insurance marketers should proactively communicate with customers what to do if a storm hits, how to protect assets in preparation for wet weather and appropriately staff customer care staff to address storm victims when flooding is forecasted.
  • Comfort food will remain in demand with hot soups, stews and warm beverages being desired through much of March and April.

With careful planning and weather informed trigger campaigns, Spring can still drive a spike in sales despite Mother Nature’s change of heart.

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