Monday, May 14, 2007

"You can't trust early adopters"

So says James McQuivey from Forrester who was commenting on the slow (read no) growth in iTunes video downloads as reported here -

Early adopters have apparently skewed the forecasts for PAID online video downloads. Many analysts assumed that once the rest of us "got" it, we'd behave in the same manner as the early adopters did. However we didn't and it’s now looking like iTunes isn’t going to be the killer investment Apple and their media owner backers had hoped for.

What does this mean from marketing analysts? How does it make a difference to how we think about marketing? Well it shouldn’t change backward looking analysis too much in practice. However the focus has to shift for many organisations to start answering questions like “how do we shift this in the future?” It really brings home a point which was made to me over and over again by former colleagues – namely you have to add judgement to historical analysis in order to create a more reliable model for forecasting. In the past, I’ve been involved in a number of workshops which seek to qualify historical models with beliefs about how the future may differ from the past – Delphi style has been common. These workshops are a great way to test new hypotheses about the future and one key topic must encompass the question of “how might our consumers differ in the future?”

As many of you will be aware, my company is about to launch modelQED – a backward looking modelling tool which creates marketing mix models in record time. One of the key benefits of this tool is that it will cut down on the amount of time spend on backward looking analysis enabling organisations to spend much more time looking forward and understanding how the future will differ from the past. For me this is a winning combination – reduce historical analysis time (and increase the quality of the analysis) + systematically review how the future will differ from the past.

I hope that this powerful combination will prove irresistible to many organisations!

No comments: