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5 Marketing Forecasting Tips & Examples for Predicting Results

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What is marketing forecasting?

Marketing forecasting involves making predictions about future marketing performance based on known data and industry information.

As much as you’d like to predict the future, there’s no way of knowing what happens next. Sometimes you have to rely on predictions to help you get an idea of how things will go in the future. When it comes to your business’s marketing, marketing forecasting is one of the most effective methods for predicting your future marketing performance.

But what is a marketing forecasting? And how can you create an accurate forecast?

We’ll cover everything you need to know, including:

Let’s dive in!

What is marketing forecasting?

Marketing forecasting involves making predictions about future marketing performance based on known data and industry information. These forecasts help you get a glimpse into how your marketing is likely to perform in the future, so you can adjust your budget and strategies accordingly.

Marketing forecasting can help you predict:

Where do I get data for my marketing forecast?

To see success with your marketing forecasting methods, you need to look at the right data. There are a couple of sources you can use to help you make more accurate predictions:

  • Past marketing data: The past performance of your marketing campaigns can be a good baseline for creating marketing projections for future campaigns. If you want to predict things like lead generation, ROI, or revenue, this data is helpful.
  • Sales team surveys: Since your sales team works each day, they have a good idea of what will sell and how well it will sell. You can send out a survey to your sales team asking them to project how well they think something will sell. This data can help predict your SQLs and revenue.
  • Customer surveys: Customer surveys are a great resource for testing how your market views certain products or messaging around them. While these surveys can’t predict sales, they can predict potential interest in your product and help you make more accurate marketing predictions. It can help you predict things like traffic, conversion rate, and lead generation.

Marketing forecasting methods you can use

If you want to start making marketing predictions, you need to choose what marketing forecasting methods you’ll use. There are numerous types of models you can use to predict the future of your marketing:

1. Time series analysis

The time series analysis is a marketing forecasting method that looks at historical data and uses it to predict future trends.

For example, let’s say you work at a box subscription service and wanted to predict your future revenue. You could look at factors like your average sale value and closed leads to help determine how much revenue you can expect to generate this year.

Let’s say that, last year, you had 100 closed leads. Each lead was worth an average of $200. You offer multiple box subscriptions and sold around 250 units of product, which averages 2.5 units per person. 

Based on this data, you can project how much revenue you’re likely to generate. Use this formula to calculate:

[Number of customers] x [average value of sale] x [number of units sold per customer]

So, when you pop your numbers in, it looks like this:

100 x $200 x 2.5 = $20,000

Based on this data, you would be projected to drive about $20,000 in revenue. 

Now, let’s say you surveyed your sales team, and the surveys showed that a few of your subscription boxes have been trending on social media and sales are climbing up. So, you may predict a 10% increase in sales because of the popularity. 

You can calculate that by multiplying your predicted revenue by 1.10, which looks like this:

$20,000 x 1.10 = $22,000

So now, because of the data from your sales team, you predict you’ll drive $22,000 in revenue.

The time series analysis is a great option if you have a lot of past data to work with to predict your future. You can look at the hard numbers of how you performed in the past and use that to help you figure out where you’re likely to fall in the next year.

2. Statistical demand analysis

With statistical demand analysis, you analyze historical sales data to predict future demand. This is a sales-based forecasting model, but the data can help you correlate your marketing with peak sales times.

Statistical demand analysis is tricky to calculate because it takes multiple factors into account, some of which aren’t quantifiable. It requires using the demand function, a mathematical function to understand the relationship between variables, which looks at factors like:

  • The person’s income
  • The price of related products or services
  • Consumer’s tastes
  • Quality of the product

Trying to factor in qualitative data, like consumer tastes, makes it tricky because you have to take the best guess based on market research. Consumer surveys are a great resource to help you understand consumer tastes.

So, let’s say you sell pools and pool supplies. You know you sell the most pools in April, May, and June as people gear up for warmer weather. You sold 100, 150, and 250 pools in those respective months.

Now, you want to predict how much demand there will be this summer.

Here are some of the data and insight you collected from your consumer survey and other resources:

  • Your competitors are marketing their pools online at a cheaper price point than you’re selling your pools, but the quality isn’t as good
  • Inflation has increased significantly, meaning people have smaller budgets to spend on a pool
  • The average customer has a $1500 budget and wants to spend around $1200, but they’re willing to spend closer to the top of their budget for a higher-quality pool
  • People shared they’re looking to purchase pools more in April and May, so that they can enjoy them for the entire summer

So, based on this qualitative data, you learn that budgeting and quality are important to your audience. You can use that insight to focus your marketing efforts on highlighting those two qualities, especially if your pools fall in the consumer’s price range. You also learn when demand is likely to be highest, so you can focus your marketing efforts during that time

After considering all these factors, you may predict a stronger increase in sales in April and May, but a decline in sales in June. 

While statistical demand analysis is one of the more difficult marketing forecasting methods to use, it can give you a good idea of how different factors like budget and taste impact how you market your products.

3. Qualitative analysis

If you want a less numbers-heavy marketing forecasting method, try using a qualitative analysis. This model explains the “why” of customer behavior. It helps you analyze your audience’s thoughts, feelings, and desires, so you can better understand how they impact your marketing performance.

This forecasting model is similar to the statistical demand analysis, but it focuses solely on the qualitative aspects and doesn’t look at prior sales data. Surveys from customers and your sales team are great resources for doing a qualitative analysis.

For example, let’s say you sell scheduling software with three different tiers of plans. After surveying your sales team, you find that most people like the middle tier because it offers all they need at a good price point.

When you survey your customers, you find that having automation and having a visual view of the calendar are important to their experience. Additionally, they love having the option to integrate programs they already use into the calendar.

With this new knowledge, you decide you’ll promote these features and the middle-tier plan more to your audience. Because you know your audience desires these features, you predict an increase in traffic, leads, and conversions for your business.

Since the data is qualitative, it’s difficult to put an exact number on the increase, so you make an educated guess that you’ll see a 10% increase around the board.

Overall, the qualitative analysis method is a great marketing forecasting model if you want to better understand your audience, so you can deliver more relevant marketing materials.

4. Leading indicator analysis

The last of the marketing forecasting methods we’ll cover is the leading indicator analysis. This marketing forecast model involves analyzing your leading indicators to determine which campaigns will likely generate leads and sales.

Lead indicators are factors that are likely to influence the performance and results of something.

For example, the Department of Labor uses jobless claims to help determine the economy’s health. If more people are claiming unemployment, it indicates the economy is weakening. On the other hand, a drop in unemployment indicates companies are hiring and growing, indicating the economy is also growing.

Now, let’s apply that to marketing.

Let’s say you’re running a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign. You obtained over 30 qualified leads in a month from your advertising campaign, which is more than you acquired with other advertising campaigns in the past. This indicates that your ad is not only effective, but that it will likely continue to drive leads in the future.

Some data you can look at for this marketing forecasting model include:

  • Website traffic
  • Dwell time
  • Form completions
  • Number of attendees at a webinar
  • Number of leads

You want to look at the metrics that show your current success or shortcomings to predict your future marketing performance. Looking at these metrics allows you to adjust your future marketing strategy to drive better results.

5 marketing forecasting tips for making more accurate predictions

Now that you know what marketing forecasting methods you can use, let’s go over some tips to help ensure you create the best predictions for your marketing!

1. Set realistic goals

A key component of forecast marketing is setting realistic goals for your business. When you do a marketing forecast, you make predictions based on historical data. You also need to have realistic goals to set your projections up for success.

If you use the time series analysis forecast, for example, and find that you’re predicted to drive $1,000,000 in revenue, setting a goal for $2,000,000 in revenue isn’t realistic. It’s far off from your predicted revenue and will set your team up for failure.

Instead, you may look at your projections, combined with knowledge from your sales team, and opt to aim for a 10% increase from your projected revenue. It’s a more realistic prediction that’s based on your historical data and insight from your sales team.

So, therefore, setting realistic goals is key to making accurate predictions for your business.

2. Choose the right metrics for measuring

If you want to make accurate marketing projections, you need to know what metrics to look at to help you measure. Analyzing the right metrics will ensure you make accurate predictions that impact your business’s bottom line.

So, what metrics should you look at?

The metrics you choose depend on your strategy and business. As a general rule, these metrics are valuable to use in your marketing forecasting:

  • Conversions
  • Conversion rate
  • Number of sales-qualified leads
  • Closed leads
  • Revenue

You may also look at some strategy-specific metrics that tell about the performance of your campaigns. Cost-per-click (CPC), for example, is a valuable metric to track with your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.

For example, if you want to predict the ROI of your PPC campaigns, you’d look at metrics like CPC in addition to conversion rate, closed leads, and closed sales. All this historical data would help you understand how your ads performed in the past, so you can predict potential ROI from future PPC campaigns.

Choosing the right metrics will help you make realistic marketing forecasts for your business.

3. Consider the customer journey

Next up on this list of marketing forecasting tips, let’s talk about the customer journey. Understanding the customer journey is a crucial component to making accurate predictions.

You need to know how customers travel through your sales funnel, so you can accurately predict your future marketing. Predictions for an ecommerce company will look different from a construction company that sells heavy equipment. Understanding your audience and how they progress through the sales cycle helps you make more realistic predictions with your marketing.

4. Use past data to predict the future

To have the most accurate forecast, use past data from marketing campaigns to predict the future. Your marketing forecasts will be more accurate if you rely on past data to make your predictions.

While a qualitative analysis is one of the model options for doing marketing forecasts, you’ll still want to use a model that leverages data to make predictions.

5. Track as you go

The last item on this list of forecasting marketing tips is to track your marketing as you go. You want to keep tabs on your marketing to see if your performance is on track to reach your predictions. It can help you make adjustments as needed to try and reach your predictions.

For example, if you made a prediction that you’ll have 70 leads by December, but it’s October, and you’ve only received 45 leads, you may need to make adjustments to your marketing to help get closer to your projections.

4 benefits of marketing forecasting

If you’re thinking you don’t need to worry about making marketing projections, think again! Here are some benefits of marketing predictions:

1. You have a better idea of how your marketing will perform

The biggest benefit of doing a marketing forecast is that you have a better idea of how your marketing will perform. These predictions give you a good idea of what results you can expect to drive with your marketing.

Having a better understanding of how your marketing is likely to perform can help you make adjustments to drive more desirable results.

2. You can budget your marketing dollars better

Forecast marketing helps you spend your marketing dollars wisely. When you have data-backed predictions, you have an idea of what channels or tactics will/won’t perform well. Having this information enables you to decide on the best course of action for spending your marketing budget.

3. You can take “healthy” risks

Taking risks in marketing is normal — you may try out a new strategy, campaign type, or something else new to your business. But taking a wild guess about your marketing can be extremely risky. A marketing forecast helps you decide which risks are worth taking, based on the predictive data you have, so you make smarter decisions.

4. You can make better decisions and plan your future marketing better

Since forecast marketing is based on data, there’s less room for guessing. You have an idea of what strategies will work for your business, and you’re not relying on hunches. As a result, you can make better marketing decisions and better plan a course of action for your future marketing strategy.

Start creating your marketing forecast today

Creating your marketing forecast is crucial for setting your marketing strategy up for success. When you can better predict your marketing performance, you can put your budget and resources toward the strategies that will drive the best results.

At WebFX, we know the ins and outs of marketing forecasting. Check out our marketing forecasting approach to see how we do it!

Ready to take the next step in your marketing journey? Contact us online or call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist!

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