Based in the Boston area, we have been victimized by the local meteorologists. A week ago, over-hyped warnings sent people fleeing from a snow storm that never came. The grim forecast closed businesses, public offices and schools throughout the region. Unfortunately, the amount of snow that fell could easily be cleared with a kitchen broom in Boston and areas north. Business disruption aside, how did this media snow job affect people's Internet usage?
Looking at the search history for the term 'snow' on Google Insights for Search, the clear spike in traffic shows that all the hype drove people to search engines. Obviously, this spike in activity presents a clear opportunity for marketers who offer products and services related to wintery weather. Surprisingly, there was very little uptick in activity from the likely suspects, such as ski resorts and snow removal services, who given the dry winter could likely use a little boost of enthusiasm for their services. In addition, inclement weather this time of year would be a great opportunity for clothing retailers, whom are likely staring at a lot of winter inventory with the new season quickly approaching, to spread the word about winter sales. And what about businesses that offer relief from New England winters (Think WARM Thoughts!!!). If I was considering a tropical vacation, fear of impending winter doom might certainly push me to book.
In these challenging economic times, marketers need to be on the lookout for untapped opportunities that give them an edge. Over-hyped news stories, whether justified or not, certainly present a rock that marketers should consider turning over to get a leg up on their competition.