COVID-19 has had a profound effect on the lives of people who have never before known scarcity or been subject to restrictions in freedom of movement. We have experienced changes in what we buy, where we buy, when we buy, how we buy and who we buy for, even why we buy.
But what does this mean for marketers and researchers involved in innovation are multiple. For recent launches, are the plans set out prior to COVID-19 still valid – specifically can I rely on the forecasts and provisions made? If not, what needs to be done to better gauge the likely outcome? And for initiatives still in the development phase, with no consensus on when normalcy will resume, do you ‘stick or twist’? Is there value in continuing planning in a period of continuing disruption?
In this paper we highlight some key lessons for forecasting, specifically for consumer-packaged goods, during coronavirus:
- Forecasting is as important as ever as in challenging times, robust business planning remains key.
- Review your forecast through new behaviour such as channel preference for eCommerce, new fulfilment models such as delivery and pick up, delayed purchase cycle, and lower consumer confidence.
- Always forecast multiple scenarios and be prepared to iterate and update, providing simulation capabilities for scenario planning using external variables beyond a marketer’s control.