Monday, April 13, 2009
In our consulting practice, we work with many subscription-based businesses including newspapers, mobile phone companies, and software-as-a-service providers. All of these companies need to forecast future subscriber levels. With production support from SAS, I have recently written a white paper describing our approach to creating such forecasts. Very briefly, the central idea is that the subscriber population is a constantly changing mix of customer segments based on geography, acquisition channel, product mix, subscription type, payment type, demographic characteristics, and the like. Each of these segments has a different survival curve. Overall subscriber numbers come from aggregating planned additions and forecast losses at the segment level. Managers can simulate the effects of alternative acquisition strategies by changing assumptions about the characteristics of future subscribers and watching how the forecast changes. The paper is available on our web site. I will also be presenting a keynote talk on customer-centric forecasting on July 1st at the A2009 conference in Copenhagen.