If beer ads seem to be reading your mind – and your thirst – that's because they are. A new data platform is helping beer brands measure customer thirst based on the weather, particularly on mobile phones.
WeatherFX is a new marketing arm of The Weather Company that analyzes local weather reports and retail sales data to help brands target specific markets. Weather has always impacted sales – think of umbrellas, lawn fertilizer, and bug spray – and companies have worked to make the most of the shift in seasons impact on sales. Now, beer brands are jumping in, utilizing the service to determine what kind of ale consumers on a cold, warm, snowy, or rainy day.
If Dallas experiences a dramatic heat wave, for example, WeatherFX will measure how it is affecting beer sales. (Hint: they'll go up). Beer companies will then automatically send mobile, desktop, or social ads to Dallas consumers.
"Weather impacts what we wear, what we eat, what we feed our kids, and what we buy," says Vikram Somaya, WeatherFX's general manager. "This data allows companies to respond to local conditions in real-time, which is crucial."
There are some surprising findings: The data has shown that in summer months, for example, Chicago consumers buy more beer during days of below-average temperatures while New Yorkers drink more when it's warmer. But in Atlanta, weather doesn’t have much influence until the fall. Then, if the conditions are unseasonably hot and dry, beer sales tend to boost.
Jacob Leinenkugel, a Wisconsin-based brewing company, paid for WeatherFX data to help promote its Summer Shandy, a wheat beer mixed with lemonade. The company was loath to reveal actual findings – the data is somewhat of a secret sauce, after all – but plans to reach consumers by desktop and mobile ads when the data indicates time to sip on a summer ale is nigh.
The service also includes local forecasts. If sales of a dark ale skyrocketed during a recent blizzard, companies can prepare advertising in advance of the next blizzard. When weather reports signal it’s coming, the roll out begins.