And it begins …
Hurricane Danny, an uncertain storm with an uncertain destiny is already generating a storm surge of predictions on the interwebs.
A Cone of Certainty
This of course is textbook “forecast factor” and is an example of the demand surge risk I discussed on The Weather Channel in early May.
The consumer reaction in advance of a hurricane is not generated by the storm itself, it’s generated by the media and social media surrounding the weather forecast.
And this year I expect the impact of any approaching storm will be bigger than what we’ve seen in the past due to:
- potential complacency following predictions of a quiet hurricane seasonand,
- the addition of a virtual army of what our colleague Dr. Marshall Sheperd calls “social media-rologists“
For marketers in hurricane prone areas it’s game time.
Whether the storm hits or not, the concern and, ultimately, product demand the forecast (and subsequent social media blitz) generates — for all sorts of different products — is going to be ramping up quickly.
This is particularly true because this could be the first landfalling hurricane threat of the core season.
Creating marketing messages that make it easier for people to get what they need ahead of time serves two important purposes:
- it helps your customers and community be better prepared, and,
- it helps your business develop a stronger partnership with the communities you serve.
If you’ve put a hurricane marketing strategy in place it’s time to consider pulling the trigger.
If you didn’t and would like to learn more about how to create a hurricane marketing strategy, below is a copy and link to a post I wrote last year.
Jim Cantore is to weather what Elvis was to music — a force of nature.
So when Jim comes to town he has an impact. A big one. Not specifically because of who he is, but because of what he represents.
We’re all impacted by the weather and, particularly, the weather forecast.
More than most of us realize.
That’s because the weather (and the forecast) is the foundation on which we plan our lives. It’s why we check the weather on our phones multiple times per day.
Click here to watch Running from Jim Cantore
It can be an even bigger driver of behavior than the weather itself.
Because of that, the weather forecast “factor” can be an amazing predictor of consumer demand.
This is especially true when hurricanes are expected.
The Hurricane Forecast Cone of Certainty
Hurricanes and tropical storms are predicted days in advance with large areas of the country painted in the forecast “cone of uncertainty.”
Within the cone there are millions of people who are consuming the forecasts on television, on the web, and, increasingly, on their phones.
The result is the forecast factor (aka the “Cantore affect”) — millions of consumers storming local grocery stores, home centers and big box retailers in search of the items they think they’ll need to weather the storm.
For marketers the demand generated by the forecast (the factor) represents a “cone of certainty” that is both predictable and measurable.
Pop-tarts, Prepared Chicken and Padlocks
For most retail businesses, helping their customers in a time of need is a core value they take to heart; and making sure they have enough of the products their customers need when they really need it is at the core of that vision.
People understandably behave differently in advance of a storm and that translates into altered buying behaviors.
Sales of padlocks, prepared chicken, D-batteries (vs. C-batteries) and a whole host of other items (yes, even Pop-tarts) surge in advance of storms as people execute their personal weather strategy.
4 Ways to Execute a Hurricane Marketing Strategy
Fortunately for marketers and businesses of all sizes, the technologies needed to implement a hurricane-proof marketing strategy to drive increased sales (and increased value for your customers) is now readily available.
Here are four things to think about in order to get in front of the forecast-driven sales surge in advance of the next hurricane:
1. Know your customers severe-weather behavior.
This can be analytical or anecdotal. The key is to understand your customer and understand what she will need, in relation to your services or products, when hurricanes threaten. Think outside the box here, it’s not always the obvious needs that could change behavior.
2. Develop a creative strategy.
Use the knowledge gained from step one to put in place the creative assets and the execution strategy needed to begin communication to your customers when hurricanes threaten. You’ll want to think about how best to market toward these unique needs. This creative strategy will typically be different than your normal marketing creative.
3. Monitor the weather.
Here’s some great resources to help with that:
- National Hurricane Center: Monitor daily to get a sense of formation risks. You can also subscribe to text and email alerts.
- Weather Channel Hurricane Central: All the forecast information you need to understand the science and the real-time predictions of hurricanes. Moderated by Weather Channel experts in plain language.
- Wunderground Hurricane Historical Archive / Current Maps: Great resource to assess the historical impact of hurricanes on your business as well as real-time tracking info.
4. Measure the result post-storm.
What worked? What didn’t? Use the learnings from your first storm to tweak your hurricane strategy for future storms. You’ll learn from each event and your plan will get progressively better with each event.
As always if you have any questions you can contact us HERE or via phone at 855.782.5268 (tell them Paul sent you!).