What do Gregory, Jupiter and Maya have in common? Not only are they among the 2016-2017 Winter Storm names just announced, they represent a unique marketing opportunity. In 2012 The Weather Channel started naming winter storms. The movement was born out of desire to efficiently communicate winter storms with impacted communities. In the winter seasons since, storm names have taken over the airwaves and social streams across the nation. This year’s names were selected in coordination with Bozeman High School’s Latin class and you can see what each means here.

As marketers winter storms offer more than playful names. They offer tremendous opportunity. Here are four ways you can bring profit to stormy weather.

1.    Ready yourself for purchase spikes. From batteries to snacks, purchases across a variety of segments spikes when severe weather strikes. By monitoring local weather forecasts your business can capitalize on consumer preparation by running promotions, increasing inventory and having staff on hand to assist.

2. Leverage weather inquiries to promote relevant products. Winter storms prompt searches for weather information as consumers seek the latest forecast and preparation instructions. In fact, during winter storm events, weather.com website visits increase 69% and The Weather Channel mobile application visits spike 43%. Severe weather is stressful for consumers. As marketers we have the opportunity to help them prepare, offer comfort and provide an escape from the anxiety.

3. Take advantage of social chatter by joining the conversation. During winter storm Nemo the hashtag #nemo received more than 1 million tweets, and billions of impressions. We see equally impressive references to winter storm Juno. Analysis shows that weather-related social mentions jumped 1822% during winter storm Juno compared to the previous week. As marketers, we can target those who share winter storm name hashtags with relevant promotions on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. It’s the perfect opportunity to align customer sentiment with specific offers.

4.    Get your puns ready! It’s time to tap into anxious consumers need for escape. With some clever writing, your brand can add some much-needed levity and still be on message, as both Ellen DeGeneres and Bridgestone proved.

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