Forecasting and Market Analysis Techniques: A Practical Approach

Forecasting and Market Analysis Techniques: A Practical Approach

Forecasting and Market Analysis Techniques: A Practical Approach

Forecasting and Market Analysis Techniques: A Practical Approach

Synopsis

Although sales forecasting and market analysis are the cornerstones of a firm's planning process, these two activities are frequently performed by people with little or no training in either area. Recognizing this situation, this book describes key techniques for forecasting sales and analyzing markets and uses a format aimed at an audience with limited quantitative skills. The major portion of the book covers the most widely used forecasting techniques among time series, causal, and judgmental models. The book also describes methods for identifying the potential in markets, procedures for segmenting markets, and such market analysis tools as conjoint analysis, discriminant analysis, and cluster analysis.

Excerpt

Information from sales forecasts and market analyses usually acts as the focal point for a firm's planning activities. The firm uses these data to guide its inventory and purchase decisions as well as its decisions related to the expansion/contraction of its work force. Such data also influence a firm's expansion to new facilities, its purchases of capital equipment, and its promotional activities. Because these data play such an important role in a firm's planning process, it is crucial that these forecasts and analyses be accurate and that decision makers understand how they were derived.

Not all managers or decision makers have to make forecasts or conduct market analyses, but since they all will be in situations where they must make decisions using these data, it is important that they understand how those data were derived. Therefore, the goal of this book is to provide its readers with a reasonable understanding of the tools most widely used for making sales forecasts and analyzing markets.

The book is intended primarily for those persons seeking a relatively simple, straightforward description of the tools used to forecast and analyze markets. To obtain maximum benefit, readers should have a basic understanding of statistics and at least a cursory knowledge of computers.

Two categories of models are described. The first twelve chapters deal with activities related to sales forecasting, and the final three chapters describe techniques for analyzing markets. This combination of models is unique to this book; other texts deal solely with forecasting models, and the market analysis methods are covered in either marketing research or marketing strategy texts. We feel sales forecasting and market analysis are complementary skills that any decision maker in marketing should possess.

The book's format is as follows: The first three chapters provide a general look at forecasting and market analysis, information on how to acquire the data needed . . .

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