Market Forecasts Are On Everyone's Mind
It appears that Market Forecasts are on everyone's mind these days
A sample of over N=250 purchasers of market research put Market Forecasts on the top of their shopping list this year. Interestingly, customer satisfaction ratings for Market Forecasts were not achieving the same level of enthusiasm as the demand for forecasts. This misalignment appears to be clear market opportunity.
Those of you who have been in the business of sizing and/or forecasting markets or purchasing this type of analysis know there are numerous trap doors you can fall through. As Keynes once said, "We do not know what the future will bring, except that it will be different from any future we could predict" (John Maynard Keynes).
The problems related to executing a good quality sizing and forecasting project are complex and typically require a modeling expert who collaborates closely with a domain expert to develop a sound forecast. If only one or the other type of professional tries to develop a forecast (solo) the results are often less than satisfactory. But, I digress.
This article focuses on one set of the results from a recent study, The Market Research Customer and Prospect Study conducted 3rd quarter 2009. The intention of the study was to shed light on the direction customers want to see market research firms take now and in the coming year (2010). Evidence is strong that market forecasts are among the most desirable deliverables (Table 1).
Here is question that was asked:
Please rate the value you receive from each of the following types of deliverables. On a scale where 1 = Extremely Low Value and 7 = Extremely High Value.
Table 1: Value Received from Each Type of Deliverable
Mean Top Four Services 5.3 Market Forecasts 5.3 Customized primary research 5.3 Market share analysis 5.3 Buyer research (consumer or BtoB)
Tier Two Service 5.2 Market sizing reports 5.1 Product briefs 5.1 Channel research
Tier Three Service 5.0 Tools [e.g., TCO, market models] 5.0 Case studies 5.0 Multi-client studies 5.0 Vendor profiles 4.9 White papers 4.8 Consulting 4.5 Syndicated services
Ironically, there is a lack of satisfaction with available forecasts and perhaps Box and Draper can help us understand why. They wrote, "Remember that all [forecasting] models are wrong; the practical question is how wrong do they have to be to not be useful?" (Box, George E. P.; Norman R. Draper, 1987, Empirical Model-Building and Response Surfaces. Wiley)
In a parallel question, respondents gave satisfaction ratings for twenty items, the question asked was:
Please indicate your general level of satisfaction with products and services from strong Market Research firms you personally do business with on the following dimensions. Please use the scale below, where 1 = Extremely Dissatisfied and 7 = Extremely Satisfied.
The item with the highest satisfaction rating was Quality of quantitative research with a mean score of 5.7. The overall satisfaction score for Market Research services was 5.5. Market Forecasts received a score of 5.2. To put the market forecast satisfaction score further into perspective, Syndicated services ranked last with a rating of 4.8.
Corporate consumers of market research are telling us what they care about and what seems to be a misalignment between what's important and the current satisfaction with our collective offering, the question is are we listening?
About the Author
For more on forecasting and market research go to the AtHeath.com website Find it on http://www.Atheath.com/MRRC Feel free to contact Carey he is a research professional with 20 years experience and two advanced degrees and author of: Questionnaire Design for Business Research (2010, Tate Publishing) http://questionnairedesign.tatepublishing.net/ Read our blog "The Research Playbook" when you visit our website.