THE LOOP: Inside WeatherFX’s Personalized Content Marketing Machine

While the weather may not be the sexiest topic, it’s always on our minds. Picking out clothes for the day? Check outside. Struggling through an awkward conversation? Talk about how unseasonably hot it’s been. Feeling happy or sad? There’s a decent chance it’s the weather to thank or blame.

Not only is the weather on our minds, but it also affects the decisions we make as consumers—and that presents an opportunity for brands.

The Weather Company is jumping on that opportunity.

With WeatherFX, a data-driven marketing arm that analyzes up-to-date local conditions to connect brands with consumers, The Weather Company has the ability to direct the right content to the right audiences at the most opportune times.

“We wanted to know, could we find more interesting ways for agency clients to speak to consumers?” Vikram Somaya, general manager at WeatherFX, at DCN Content All-Stars. “Weather is always impacting our decisions: Are we going to eat a salad today? How am I going to get to work?”

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Credit: Shannon Sturgis

Earlier this year, WeatherFX joined forces with media agency Mindshare to use their comprehensive data to push weather-personalized content to Mindshare clients such as personal-care corporation Kimberly-Clark and cruise line Royal Caribbean.

It’s a prime example of the data-driven content marketing revolution.The Weather Company has been tracking data for the last 30 years, according to Somaya, but recently, new technology has made it possible to capture more accurate relationships between purchasing decisions and weather. “What we realized was that we had the greatest hacker ever on our side: Mother Nature,” he said. “A lot of things we think we do explicitly or implicitly are actually being run by a code buried very deep in our DNA. We’re reacting to the environment.”

To make the media-buying process even more efficient, Mindshare uses THE LOOP, their “war room,” to track WeatherFX data and make timely buys encompassing “owned, earned, and paid media,” according to a press release from The Weather Channel.

Though its name sounds quite dystopian, THE LOOP is actually a room full of eight real-time monitors and smart people that enables WeatherFX to predict what ads people want to see, based on the weather at that exact moment. As Somaya told the Content All-Stars audience, meteorologists can’t predict temperature and precipitation 30 days out, but they can accurately estimate within a 10-day range, which has helped Mindshare and WeatherFX plan how they’ll deliver more focused ads.

An allergy manufacturer, for example, planned to scale back marketing efforts in the cooler months, since, as Ivins mentioned, temperature correlates with pollen count. But when there was an anomalously hot day last March, WeatherFX and Mindshare were able to use their advanced forecasting and data to immediately push localized media into the affected areas.

“We need to make brands as culturally relevant as possible,” added Bob Ivins, Mindshare’s chief data officer for North America. “We need to act with pace. We need to be speedy. The most important thing is the linkage between insights and actions.”

The partnership between WeatherFX and Mindshare is a useful case study for those looking to better understand the relationship between statistics and results. Simply capturing the right data no longer guarantees success. Marketers need to be able to react to the right data quickly. When circumstances change without warning, brands need the flexibility to adjust on the fly and deliver the right creative at the right time.

“Marketing is war. The audiences have fragmented, the budgets are declining, the competition is increasing,” Ivins said. “And we want to help our clients. We want to be a strong ally in that battle.”

Image by kstudija

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