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The way that you structure the problem will affect the forecasting method you need.

Look first at the chart describing components of the sales forecast.

from J. Scott Armstrong (2001), "Introduction," in Principles of Forecasting, Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, p 5, reprinted courtesy of Kluwer Academic Publishers

Then consider the table below, describing possible methods for forecasting each component. The listed methods are likely to be most useful for the problem area stated. Particular attention should be given to the methods indicated in italics. Remember that combined forecasts typically lead to further improvements, so it is good to select more than one method.

Component

  Conditions   Methods for Forecasting
Environment   Small changes   expert forecasting extrapolation
    Large changes   rule-based forecasting; analogies; econometric methods
Market   Small changes   expert forecasting; intentions; extrapolation
    Large changes   analogies; rule-based forecasting; econometric methods
Company actions   Small changes   expert opinions; intentions; role-playing; analogies
    Large changes   expert forecasting; role-playing; analogies
Competitors' actions   Small changes   expert forecasting; role-playing; analogies; extrapolation
    Large changes   expert forecasting; role-playing; analogies
Actions by suppliers, distributors, and government   Small changes   expert forecasting; role-playing; analogies; extrapolation
    Large changes   expert forecasting; role-playing; analogies
Market share   Small changes   extrapolation; analogies
    Large changes   judgmental bootstrapping; rule-based forecasting; econometric methods
Costs   Small changes   extrapolation
    Large changes   expert forecasting; analogies; rule-based forecasting; econometric methods
Sales   Small changes   intentions; extrapolation
    Large changes   expert forecasting; judgmental bootstrapping; intentions; conjoint analysis; analogies; expert systems; econometric methods

For a further description of each area and the related research, see "Forecasting for Marketing" by Armstrong and Brodie.