What Are Expert Opinions?
A business will sometimes turn to an expert to help it develop a sales and marketing forecast for the business cycle ahead. Experts consulted may include industry dealers, distributors, suppliers, business consultants, manufacturers, and trade associations.
The Auto Industry
Automakers survey their dealers regularly to obtain forecasts on short-term buyer demand. In doing so, automakers understand that the dealers’ estimates provided to them are subjected to the same strengths and weaknesses as sale force estimates.
Consulting With the Experts
Businesses sometimes ask experts to prepare a forecast that is based on an individual’s professional experience or insight. Or, sometimes, the client wants the expert to provide a sales forecast based on focus groups and public consultations. By engaging an expert a business hopes to be provided with forecasting that can help it make good business decisions for the future business cycle.
When Experts Got It Wrong
There’s no shortage of experts who have gotten it wrong when making forecasts for the future. In 1943 IBM chairman, Thomas J Watson predicted that total world market demand for computers would be no more than five. In 1981, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft said that “640K (memory) ought to be enough for anyone.” Perhaps Daryl F. Zanuck, head of 20th Century Fox (pictured above) in 1946, made the biggest gaffe when he forecast that “TV won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”
Given that experts hired to help forecast future demand for business and industry can sometimes get it wrong, it would be wise for businesses to create regular surveys and engagement tools with key stakeholders. That way, by continually gathering feedback about their products or services they can evaluate the advice they receive from industry experts against their own data collection and analysis.
Elaine Allan, BA, MBA
Technology & Business Blogger
Vancouver, BC, Canada