Individual forecasting - Marketing Strategy

There can be some merit in an individual fore castor ‘Genius’ forecast. If an individual is an expert in a specialist area the yare able to form a comprehensive overview of their area of activity. This can allow them to see potential patterns or relationships emerging that very few other individuals or groups have the perspective to contemplate. In the 1930smilitary planners believed that any future war in Europe would be a repeat of the type of war fought between 1914 and 1918, with armies facing each other over fortified de fences. One individual wrote a book called The Army of the Future in France in the early 1930sforecasting that any future war would be dominated by highly mobile tanks supported by aircraft. The British and French high commands rejected this forecast.

The Americans believed they understood how a mobile war should be fought due to their experiences in the ‘non-mechanized’ American Civil War and rejected the book’s view of the future. Adolf Hitler read this book and as we now know realized the strength of the ideas it contained. The book was written by a certain Charles de Gaulle, then a little-known French army officer. This is a dramatic illustration of the power of an individual genius forecasting the future. However, the dangers of individual forecasts are obvious. An individual forecast is a personal judgment and is open to idiosyncratic interpretations of an individual’s observations.

In reality, though, many company forecasts are reliant on an individual. This may be the owner of a small company or the marketing manager in a larger organization. Organizations also use forecasts published by an individual expert as the basis of their planning. The techniques we are going on to discuss try to address the weaknesses of this individual approach. However, it needs to be stressed that, while there are obvious problems with relying on a single individual, futures forecasting is largely more of an art than a science.

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