It’s Not a Snowstorm—It’s an Opportunity

Todd Grennan By Todd Grennan Feb 9, 2017

Dear reader: This blog post is vintage Appboy. We invite you to enjoy the wisdom of our former selves—and then for more information, check out our new Cross-Channel Engagement Difference Report.

Right now, the whole northeast feels shut down. Parts of Connecticut received 17 inches of snow. More than 2,000 flights have been canceled. Major subway stations looked like this during rush hour. But while winter storm Niko is making life in this part of the United States kind of a pain at the moment, it’s also creating a major opportunity for marketers.

That’s the thing about snowstorms—they’re inconvenient if you’re trying to get to work or school, but if you have the day off (or are working from home), they can be really relaxing. Your customers are cooped up at home, their usual routines interrupted, and that makes them an ideal audience for your brand’s outreach.

This storm will pass, but there’ll be more blizzards, ice storms, and other adverse weather events that you use to reach your users in engaging, memorable ways. To get ready, take a look at what other brands have done to capitalize on snowstorms in their mobile marketing:

1. Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters kept their message short and sweet. By using a push notification to reach customers in areas affected by the snowfall and then customizing the copy to reference their situation, the brand was able to make their outreach feel relevant, making it more likely that recipients would take action by tapping the message and opening the UO app.

2. Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts went even further in their snow-day outreach. This push notification specifically targeted Dunkin Donuts Perks loyalty program members in areas affected by the weather and used a discount offer to entice recipients to open the app and make a purchase.

3. House of Yes

House of Yes

New York City event space House of Yes used Niko to promote their evening events. The email played off the storm in the company’s distinctively saucey brand voice, using fun, engaging copy and an eye-catching email subject line to nudge recipients to venture out on a blustery night.

4. Folksbier


Brooklyn brewery Folksbier took a similar approach to House of Yes by using a snowstorm-themed email to encourage customers to come to an in-person happening. But where House of Yes titillated, Folksbier took a different approach by letting their audience know that they’d be opening early and painting an enticing picture of a comfy afternoon spent drinking schwarzbier and playing euchre with other craft beer enthusiasts.

5. DNAinfo


Local news brand DNAinfo used a multichannel messaging approach to keeping readers up to date on the latest snow-related news during the storm. By pairing push notifications and emails, the brand was able to reach users with this (very sad) breaking news via push and then provide a second engagement point via email for customers who missed the first message in the haze of storm-related notifications.

How your brand can do it, too

Interested in sending your own responsive, weather-driven mobile messages the next time there’s a big storm? Make sure you have the tools you need to do it right:

  • Audience segmentation: Make sure that only people in areas affected by a given storm receive snow-related outreach by creating specific location-based audience segments.
  • Location-based personalization: Want to send weather-related messages to some (but not all) of your users? Use message personalization to automatically adjust the content of your mobile messaging based on the most recent location of each recipient
  • Dynamic content: Pull weather data from public APIs or local promotions from your company’s proprietary servers and include them in your messages in real time.

Beyond these targeting and messaging tools, your brand also needs to think ahead. Predicting when a snowstorm will hit may be difficult, but it doesn’t take a meteorologist to know that another one will eventually arrive. Spend some time thinking of marketing campaign ideas around these sorts of weather events ahead of time, so you have a plan in place. And make sure your team is ready to put together the final product quickly when the snow arrives—it’d be a shame to miss out on an opportunity because you move too slow.

Todd Grennan

Todd Grennan

Todd Grennan is a New York-based writer and editor. When he's not writing about mobile marketing, customer retention and emerging technologies for Braze, you can find him trying to read his way through every Wikipedia article related to World War II.

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