By Nancy Smith, President, and CEO of Analytic Partners
Businesses looking for a competitive advantage have been paying attention to the profound impact that weather has on consumer purchasing behavior. Even a small change in temperature can affect demand for a product or service and necessitate a change in the message of an ad, require re-direction of the inventory supply chain, and may generally confound marketing plans.
In the past, businesses have over-relied on historical weather data to make their future decisions. But, as we know, weather has become much more volatile and therefore less likely to follow expected trends. This leaves businesses ill-prepared.
Across every industry, weather conditions not only impact the other, obvious consumer touchpoints of a business, but also influence the entire marketing funnel and seep into areas such as finance and logistics.
As seasons and the weather become less predictable, it is harder for marketing and media companies to decide when to start campaigns in certain DMAs, when to modulate media weights, and how to inform dynamic creative.
Finance departments also cannot actively facilitate budget and forecast adjustments or fiscal phasing by month or quarter if weather dynamics are out of the norm. And the supply chain cannot build pre-inventory and implement demand fulfillment if unexpected weather dynamics change what is needed and where.
To provide businesses with a working roadmap of how to adjust to these changes, sophisticated analytics platforms are now being employed to forecast weather patterns and their impact on all aspects of future demand.
Helio, a weather-influenced demand forecasting solution from Analytic Partners for example, uses powerful machine learning and proprietary algorithms to predictively quantify the impact of weather on business performance and provide businesses with strategic insights. Helio can help companies make better informed media buying, marketing, sales, field sales staffing, direct to consumer messaging, supply chain and finance decisions. Real-time forecasts can predict demand from a high level down to granular detail. The models capture sophisticated relationships in the data, leading to predictive power with a less than 3% monthly error.
Helio also delivers automated reporting that can be tailored to specific client needs throughout the company with quick, actionable information. For example, media planners can receive a report of the top DMAs for the upcoming week to inform their buys, while the sales team receives a report that links recommended opportunities on which to focus. All forecasts are scalable and capture non-linear relationships, sophisticated interactions and unique dynamics.
As weather patterns continue to diverge from past trends, using the predictive power of a system such as Helio will enable companies to proactively manage all aspects of their business from their consumer supply chain, to messaging, to marketing, to finances on a national, regional, and local level. Helio will help companies be prepared if a small change in the temperature or precipitation becomes a bigger problem or opportunity down the line.
About the Author
Nancy Smith founded Analytic Partners in 2000. Prior to starting AP, Nancy worked at ASI (now, Ipsos ASI) and Clairol (now, P&G) where she managed marketing insights projects, teams, and vendors. Nancy has an MBA degree from the University at Buffalo School of Management where she focused on econometrics, marketing, and international business. With AP, Nancy is proud to lead the world’s largest independent, global marketing analytics consultancy.