Lawn and garden care is a seasonal business, especially in the Midwest where temperatures dipped to 5 degrees Monday morning. The team at Scotts Miracle-Gro has short windows to maximize its marketing budgets and campaigns.
Weather influences the demand for Scotts products. So the brand began using technology to forecast demand based on the product and weather. The brand works with Analytic Partners, a global analytics consultancy that created Helio, a weather influenced demand forecasting technology. It understands future demand, so marketers know where to push specific of products and services, and where to have the correct supply of product on hand at any location.
Nancy Smith, CEO at Analytic Partners, said the company also has explored “weather-triggered media buying” where a brand would use the same models and algorithms to understand how weather influences future demand on media buys. Marketers can see how a variety of media buys -- display, video and search -- can have a varying impact based on the weather and forecast.
Smith said Scotts Miracle-Gro uses Helio for big-box retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot to predict when consumers will search and buy products based on weather predictions. IBM’s weather forecast tool, The Weather Company, helps to determine the need.
“The brand running campaigns for a very seasonal business needs to know when to start the campaign, in one, two, three weeks,” Smith said. “The company will use the weather technology to back up the plan. Based on the data, the marketer will know to buy heavy on search, display or another type of media, so it has strong advertising equity in the market when the demand hits.”
The analytics behind the technology is based on how weather influences demand for different products by location. It’s done through Analytic Partner’s GPS technology and machine learning, along with weather and sales data. The model continually updates based on trends, demand and weather. The product demand forecast, geographically, also takes into consideration competition, advertising, consumer trends, promotional activity in a specific area.
Scotts Miracle-Gro won the 2018 ANA Genius Award in data and analytics storytelling.