Understanding the world is a task that Humanity has tried to solve since the beginning of time. Market Research is no stranger to this work. Geography is one of many sciences that analysts use to better understand people and their needs. Meteorology is among the disciplines that initially we would find hard to believe can have points of contact with consumer knowledge and with which geographic science works.
Meteorology is an exact science that is responsible for understanding and forecasting the state of the weather at a given time and place. It is different from Climatology, which is responsible for studying the average weather conditions in a given place for at least a period of 30 years. Here are five lessons Meteorology can teach us to do better projects and find more useful findings.
- Have sufficient, constant and regular data. One of the inputs that meteorologists work with is data from stations with different instruments. The devices that capture data must comply with standards and be located in predetermined places in order to understand and run models that help make forecasts with the highest possible degree of confidence. Managing and expanding this network of sensors is a huge task, but one that usually pays off in the long run. In Market Research it is necessary to have such robust and well-justified data so that market forecasts are accurate.
- Understand the complexity of systems. The atmosphere is a very complex system. The elements that make it up and their connections require years of experience to know when and how a sum of data results in a particular phenomenon. In Market Research we must also be aware of all the components of supply and demand, the behavior of people and the processes of the brands to offer coherent analyzes and actionable recommendations.
- Distinguish between «forecast» and «prediction.» Perhaps it is obvious, but many people when they check the weather for the next day believe that they are reviewing a kind of prophecy that must be fulfilled to the letter. There are many anecdotes from many of us when we think it would be a sunny day and it actually turns out to be a cloudy day. In most cases, these are the opportunity areas of the forecasts. The latter are only an estimate of the sum of uncertain phenomena. The same thing happens with market analysts. Despite the fact that every day the tools and data available have greater scope, it is still impossible to reduce the uncertainty of real life events to 100%. Therefore, both the time and the reports must be read knowing that they contain a margin of confidence.
- Feed well-designed models. The layer of gases that surrounds the Earth and the Markets are very complex systems and at times erratic. Therefore, when we want to obtain good weather forecasts or executive reports, it is essential to correctly design a model that includes all the variables that we believe best describe the phenomenon to be understood. The next thing is to have the required data. An example of this point is the plot of the movie Twister. Without data, all technology and models are just theory. Market researchers do the same when they need to make estimates of processes whose sources are difficult to access or the available resources are not enough to fully understand a case study given circumstantial limitations.
- Use the most appropriate scale and period. Depending on the size of the area to be studied, the degree of geographic detail of the data will also be used to know if it will rain tomorrow or not. It is also necessary to understand that forecasts will be more robust the closer a certain weather warning is given. Sometimes we want to know how a market will behave in a planetary region and in the long term, but carrying out a project of this magnitude implies a budget and a deployment of resources that few people have. Knowing how to delimit our projects is a good practice that we can take from Meteorology.
There are other facets in which both disciplines meet. We do not mention cases in which meteorological data and information are used for market studies. Although it seems that we live in a world controlled by technology and that we are capable of modifying the weather, it is also true that people continue to guide their purchasing decisions by the weather and the climate. In other entries of this blog we will address these topics. At Acertiva we are aware of these lessons and we apply them in our daily work. Do you have market knowledge needs in Latin America? Write us today to tell us what you need and we will help you write your next success story.