Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

lit match

Paul Provost
6P Marketing

Using Weather to Increase Sales and Productivity

It's late August and absolutely smouldering as I write this article. Summer 2010 has been hot, humid, rainy and even haily (not a real word). The heat has got me thinking about how important temperature is to marketing, sales and workplace productivity here in a city with such extreme, varied weather.

Although we often feel that weather is uncontrollable, the truth is that there are many ways we can work with the weather to maximize results. Regardless of industry or location, weather has a huge effect on both customer behaviour and employee productivity. The key is finding ways to make it work for you, not against you.

Ways big companies use temperature to control the experience
Grocery stores carefully balance the temperature so shoppers remain in the store longer (is there a cooler place to be on a hot day than Safeway?), while ensuring the longevity of the product on their shelves. Have you ever noticed that Subway restaurants turn their air conditioning up to an uncomfortably cold degree? This is a powerful, purposeful decision. It makes it uncomfortable for people to sit for long periods of time, creating a regular rotation of customers, to ensure tables don't remain occupied for long periods. Casinos do the same thing, they control the temperature and air quality to increase the pace of play for the players and increase the alertness of the dealers. The science of controlling environments to increase performance is called atmospherics, and it's huge.

Using atmospherics in your boardroom to increase meeting effectiveness
Have you ever analyzed your boardroom? Is it comfortable in every way: temperature, air quality, cleanliness, decor, refreshments etc? The key thing to consider is the desired meeting length you're looking for (are long meetings conducive to more business or less), and does your boardroom atmosphere accomplish this goal?

Using temperature to increase productivity
Winnipeg summers are hot. This translates to people wanting to be outside more and inside less. Employee vacations peak during hot months, and more lunch hours are spent either just outside the office or on a patio away from the office. In some South American countries, afternoons often include ‘siesta' - a time to stay cool and rest. Is your office ‘siesta hot' in the summer? Is it iceberg cold in the winter? What is the middle-ground where your employees are the most comfortable and most productive? Talk to your employees, see what works best for the whole group, and test out different temperatures.

Using weather to enhance your marketing schedule
Sell umbrellas when it's raining. Market ice-cream when it's hot. Sell shovels when it snows. These are obvious examples, but with the instantaneous nature of email marketing, it is now possible to take this idea one step further. Let's use the example of an email campaign for a snow-removal company. Rather than sticking to a set distribution schedule, it would be a better idea to send an email the morning after the first big snowfall of the season. This way you catch people when they first arrive at work, still freezing after shovelling their driveways. A similar tactic you can employ involves list segmentation. You can separate your list and marketing messages based on climate/location, as a Vancouverite would be looking for a different product or service in December than a Winnipegger. The over-arching goal of these tactics is to provide as relevant a message as possible to increase response.

So what Now?
Thinking ahead to the fall and winter, is there a way you can leverage your services based on the weather? When it's -30 outside, how will you control the atmosphere in your office to increase productivity and maximize client satisfaction? How about serving hot chocolate at meetings? Would an online store help your clients purchase your products when it's too cold to leave the house? Could you run a promotion offering a free trip to Bermuda? These are things to consider now, so when the heat is gone and snow starts falling, you have a plan in place to make the most of it.

If you have any suggestions or examples of ways you use temperature as an advantage, not a detriment, call me at 204.474-1654 or send me an email to paul@6pmarketing.com.

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