Forecasting

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Forecasting

Forecasting is not an area where the marketing executive is particularly well served in terms of textbooks. The usual introduction, recommended in several reading lists, is Sales Forecasting by A. Battersby. It will be of particular help to the marketer anxious to understand time series analysis, on which it largely concentrates.

The standard work is even more elusive. More advanced works on forecasting tend to involve themselves in forecasting the national economy, or certain industry sectors of it, or with advanced statistical reinforcements - none of which is of immediate concern to the company marketing executive. A combination of three books is recommended as a compromise solution.

The fist, Market and Sales Forecasting - A Total Approach, by G. J. Bolt, covers not merely time-series analysis, but, in an effort to discourage what the author calls "naive extrapolation of historical sales data", discusses subjective, non-statistical methods as well, and puts forward an overall forecasting framework. Perhaps because it is so recent (it was published only last year) it does not appear in any of the reading lists received.

In his statistical approach, Bolt is not very much more detailed than Battersby's introductory work. For a- broader treatment of statistical methods, but one still aimed at what the author calls "management application level", try Marketing and Sales Forecasting, by F. Keay. Although published only this year, Keay already has one or two recommendations in the reading lists.

Technological forecasting is a special aspect of the subject which Battersby does not mention, and to which Bolt can devote comparatively few webpages. The industrial marketer, at least, will need to go further. There are several American textbooks, and, of course, the well-known OECD publication by Jantsch. The British marketing executive, however, will probably prefer the home-grown product Technological Forecasting - The Art and its Managerial Implications by Gordon Wills and others.


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