Counselor Commentary: Beating The Weather Blues

Use Weather To Connect With Clients

Andy CohenAs we faced a foot of snow and temperatures that hovered in the low single digits in the Northeast this morning, it was clear that the major news story of this week – and, seemingly, this whole month – has been the weather. Companies across the Midwest, Northeast, and even parts of the South have been hampered so far in 2014 by weather that has been downright cruel. In fact, Goldman Sachs released a report last week that blamed the weather in part for December job numbers that missed expectations. And, major retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Costco have already warned that their first quarter revenue and profit numbers for 2014 could all be negatively impacted by onerous weather in many parts of the country.

Our take: while the weather can definitely set business back, distributors should be able to use the weather as an opportunity to connect with clients. Yes, companies in the ad specialty market need to make contingency plans if orders are being delayed by weather-related shipping issues. And, you certainly need to stay on top of vendors whose business operations may have been impacted by a day or two because of local snow emergencies. We at ASI even lost half a day yesterday when a state of emergency was declared in our local area.

But this is also a good time to reach out to customers and see how they’re doing. Not only is it the start of a new year, but some may have also been negatively affected by bad weather. How can you help? How can you be that marketing and business resource you so desperately want to be for customers today? Find out by asking – and, when times are difficult, it could be the best time to ask.

Second, try to capitalize on the weather by suggesting some cold-weather promotions for clients. Ice scrapers, fleece apparel, blankets, portable power chargers, travel and road safety kits – these types of items could all come in handy for consumers that your clients are trying to target. If you suggest promotions that make your customers look good when others are down and out because of the weather, then you’ll be the marketing hero not only for your customers but also for their customers. Isn’t that the type of resource you want to be?