Dear Fellow Marketers,
We've made a dire mistake. We've missed a HUGE opportunity this Winter season. With a near record-breaking snowfall in Boston, unprecedented snow, ice and bone-chilling temperatures across the USA (40% of the country experienced Winter Storm advisories at various points throughout February), we've felt the pain.
But, we also realized that with the pain, there could be gain for us. What is this golden opportunity you ask?
Yes, really. When the snow falls, consumers are held captive. Literally, bringing new meaning to the idea of a captive audience. Think about the characteristics surrounding the Holy Grail of Marketing - the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl serves as our end-all-be-all due to the reach, the engaged audience, the media frenzy surrounding the event and the multi-screen engagement.
A snowstorm is no different. It's possibly better given we can address people's emotional and functional needs and communicate to an audience in an uninterrupted environment. A captive audience for the 48-hour snowstorm trumps the Super Bowl's short, four hour window.As data-driven strategists, we have the quantitative facts from our snowstorm survey to support this theory.
Snowstorm ? Super Bowl
Similar to the Super Bowl, snowstorms are a three-part event - before, during and after-with differing emotions and needs tied to each phase of the experience.
Given the shared characteristics, we can take a cue from the Super Bowl strategies. Here are the audibles to your marketing mix that you should be aware of:
- Make Every Minute Count: Prepping for the Event
- Go Big or Go Home: Leveraging Intent
- Prep for the Next Season: Leverage Seasonality to Drive Messaging
Make Every Minute Count: Prepping for the Big Event
Taking a page from the Super Bowl marketing playbook, let's make every minute count. While game time may be the main event, we know the pre-game buzz before the first kick-off is an impactful way to stretch out the significant marketing investment.
Leading up to the snowstorms, people are extraordinarily focused on the forecast and the impact on their lives. According to AMP's Snowstorm Survey, 73% of people described themselves as concerned, and 61% of people felt 'annoyed', 'anxious', 'nervous' or 'stressed' before the storm. This anxiety-ridden state translated into frequenting local TV stations (71%) and weather apps (55%) for storm-related information.
Snow equates to obvious marketing opportunities for these weather-based media outlets. The Weather Channel reached an average of 292,000 people this February, the channel's strongest performance since 2011.
But, my esteemed colleagues, you should not be envious of these companies' fortune because you too can get in the game. Snow does not just mean constant checking of the weather forecast, it means shopping with urgency. 94% of people shop in preparation for the storm.
What Does This Mean For You?
You know where, what and how people are shopping during the prep period. Consider delivering snowstorm preparatory messaging via targeted digital marketing efforts to drive traffic in-store. Remember, 94% of people shop in preparation for the storm. You can extend the tailored messaging in-store by offering special Snow Survival Kits at grocery stores and mass retailers, the top two places where consumers are shopping prior to the storm.
Lastly, consider partnerships with utilitarian services like Uber, Peapod and Drizly in an effort to help alleviate consumers' stress around the storm. Drizly, an on-demand app for alcohol deliveries, reported that the Monday leading up to snowstorm Juno orders in NYC and Boston were up 477%.
Go Big or Go Home: Leverage Intent
The actual snow days offer a unique opportunity to think bigger than just storm needs. Certainly brands that offer functional products and services can capitalize on the snowstorm like Subaru surprising non-Subaru owners with free snow shovels that said "while waiting for your all-wheel drive." This promotion was a sound way to align a product benefit with a functional need given that 59% of adults spending time outside during a storm are most often shoveling or blowing snow.
But if your brand is not directly related to enabling winter survival, you can still take advantage of the captive audience and seasonality through smart targeting and relevant creative messaging.
89% of people spend their time at home during the storm. Our research shed some light on how they're spending that unadulterated time:
What Does This Mean For You?
From day dreaming about warm vacations to researching ways to stay entertained, consider what the storm means to your audience? Leverage their behavioral intent to drive to content hubs that deliver on the need. For example, if people are searching for winter storm recipes, Campbell's Soup could develop and drive to a content hub that aggregates various classic winter recipes with a product tie-in.
Prep for the Next Season: Leverage Seasonality to Drive Messaging
In the case of snowstorms, it's the opposite of the calm before the storm. It's calm after the storm. 48% of people feel happy, relaxed, calm, or peaceful. It's the perfect time to usher in the uplifting messaging. Promote doomsday messaging pre-storm, then click reset and tap into consumers' rejuvenated state by sending inspiring messages their way (post-storm).
What Does This Mean For You?
To continue your winning streak, leverage hyper-targeted, digital media tactics to deliver an uplifting, Spring-inspired message to those elated snowstorm survivors.
The Snowstorm Playbook: Key Takeaways
If you remember anything from this heart-felted, long-winded letter, it's that consumers are checking their February forecast and you should too.
These is a new marketing opportunity in February that has the potential to deliver a greater ROI than that $4.5 MM, 30-second Super Bowl Spot. It's snowstorms.
Snowstorms really are the perfect marketing opportunity. We can reach a captive, engaged audience with a tailored message, at the right time, and in the right place.
In short, don't be like Pete Carroll, make the right call.
About the AMP Agency Snowstorm Study: AMP Agency, a full-service marketing agency, develops custom research to study and understand consumer behaviors and attitudes not currently represented with available syndicated sources. In February 2015, AMP Agency conducted a national survey of 492 adults who had experienced a snowstorm. The margin of error was +/- 4.42%. For more information on how custom market research can benefit your business, contact us.