Special Report: Digital A-List 2013

The Weather Co. Helps Marketers Check the Forecast

Digital A-List Honoree Uses Sophisticated Forecasting Tools to Inform Marketers' Campaigns

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You may need a weatherman to know which way the marketing winds blow. As the Weather Co., Weather.com hasn't just evolved from cable TV mainstay, it's looking to reshape the way marketers use geographic data by enhancing it with surprisingly insightful weather forecasting. For example, the firm is building its Weather Extender retargeting network to provide more reach for Weather.com advertisers that could bring their messages to sites like Twitter, targeting messages to searches for phrases like "perfect weather day" on Twitter.

Curt Hecht
Curt Hecht

The moves are an outcome of a string of digital hires Weather has made, including Vikram Somaya (former Thomson Reuters), Eric Hadley (former Microsoft/Bing marketer), Curt Hecht (former VivaKi chief) and CEO David Kenny (former Digitas and Publicis exec).

The company is using data to suggest which products or brands will interest residents in certain regions, depending on what the weather is doing. A forecast of 1-inch snowfall means long grocery lines in Austin, while a sunny day with an inch of snow on the ground in Buffalo could mean a run on winter lager.

Climate change means seasonal weather patterns are no longer as predictable sales indicators as they once were, said Mr. Hecht, chief global revenue officer. "The models may not be what they used to be," he said.

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