Centre for Marketing Analytics and Forecasting

We are a pioneering centre for fundamental and applied research, leading knowledge exchange between academia and business.

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About this Centre

We have extensive experience with working in organisations, both public and private, offering research and support in sectors including telecommunications, retailing and manufacturing as well as software suppliers. Throughout the year, we host a range of events including courses and guest speakers.

Our Centre, founded in 1990, continues to lead the field in applied forecasting and marketing analytics. Our research, executive support and training helps those in the retail, manufacturing, telecommunications and software sectors. We develop new methods to tackle a range of problems facing those using predictive analytics, including demand planning and market modelling. Our work results in substantial cost reductions and service level improvements for a range of private and public organisations.

Specifically we get involved with projects for multinational companies and we advise companies on effective procedures for forecasting and inventory management. We also recommend and design the best software solutions for the operational side of businesses. In addition to this we design and deliver courses to meet specific group needs, using interactive material that gives attendees hands-on experience in producing effective forecasts. We are the only centre in the UK to offer a Certificate of Forecasting issued by the International Institute of Forecasters (IIF).

Throughout the year we host a range of events, including courses and guest speakers, it is a great way to tap into our expertise. And our list of publications demonstrates the scope of our work.

Our Mission

We find new frameworks, approaches and methods for quantitative modelling and qualitative analysis of organisational activities that support and improve their planning and forecasting. We aim to provide organisations with an extraordinarily detailed picture of customer behaviour, preferences and trends from which to predict future demand.


Our Research Themes

Our research focuses on developing new solutions to problems organisations face in predictive analytics including demand planning and market modelling. Specifically we work in four areas, as detailed below. Visit our publications for the published outputs on these topics.

Marketing Analytics

Marketing analytics focuses on the integration of data, software and statistical methods in the analysis of marketing problems, both strategic and operational. Current research includes modelling the effects of promotions on retailing, establishing optimal prices and defining omni-channel retail strategies that take into account changes in consumer behaviour. For instance we helped Lego understand how their promotions in one product group, e.g. Star Wars, affected other group sales. We also evaluate product life-cycle and model the dynamics of market share to improve marketing budget allocation.


Supply Chain Forecasting

We work in supply chain forecasting, including developing new methods and new approaches for the fast moving consumer goods industry. We look at the multiple hierarchies of data available to organisations to enhance standard forecasting approaches, including collaborative information, to eliminate the costly bullwhip effect. We are also developing new methods for slow-moving products, including those with sporadic or intermittent demand, which is much needed by retailers and spare part suppliers.


Forecasting and Planning Processes

Statistical forecasting methods in Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) are seldom used in isolation and without adjustment. Understanding the ‘value added’ of such judgmental interventions is vital to organisational forecasting and planning. This important area was neglected until our major study on the practice of judgmental forecasting, and this work continues. SAS, a leader in analytics, is an example of one client who has implemented our forecast value added concepts to help their clients improve forecasting processes. And Sanofi, a global biopharmaceutical company, came to us to understand the circumstances in which judgment added value improved their service.


Machine Learning

A fourth area of Centre expertise is machine learning. Our research includes forecasting with neural networks and identifying novel computational methods, and approaches, to forecasting model selection. We research classification where we focus on learning models from potentially unending streams of high-dimensional data. Our work emphasises computational efficiency and adaptation in response to changing circumstances. In clustering we have developed novel methods for dimensionality reduction and identification that are used in a broad range of applications from image annotation to time-series clustering. Machine learning and meta-learning methods have been applied to customer flows in retailing and improving software accuracy in manufacturing.


Working With Us

Organisational impact is a key driver of the Centre’s activities and is regularly assessed by government. Recognised as world-leading in the last evaluation exercise for its impact, our research has achieved major improvements in forecast accuracy leading to substantial cost reductions and/or service level improvements.

Tab Content: Our Courses

We have a long and successful history in delivering first class forecasting education to students and practitioners. We guarantee small teaching groups of approx. 10 to 12 students. This allows us to work with you hands-on using real data, running resource-intensive hands-on exercises. Furthermore, each participant will receive a complimentary copy of the latest forecasting book Principles of Business Forecasting by Robert Fildes and Nikos Kourentzes (course leaders) and Keith Ord.

We are the only institute in the UK to offer a Certificate of Forecasting issued by the International Institute of Forecasters (IIF) which acknowledges your forecasting expertise. It can be obtained by successfully attending any two of our courses.

Fundamental forecasting open courses (two-day courses)

  • Business Forecasting with Time Series Methods: Learn how to explore your data, forecast your time series and evaluate the results. This course is an ideal introduction to forecasting for both the new recruit and the more experienced forecaster. View our Time Series Methods Course Brochure
  • Business Forecasting using R: This course will improve your skills in business forecasting principles and modelling, leveraging the power of the statistical open source software R. View our course website
  • Marketing Mix Analytics and Forecasting. Learn how to create forecasts that capture external effects, such as the weather, policy changes or promotions. Regression models are a flexible method that can take into account all those factors that time series methods neglect. View our Marketing Mix Analytics Brochure.

Advanced forecasting courses (one-day courses)

  • Artificial Neural Networks: Learn how to build neural networks to accurately predict complex and nonlinear time series.
  • Slow Moving & Intermittent Demand: Learn how to forecast reliably slow-moving items, spare parts and other intermittent time series.
  • Promotional Modelling: Learn how to build and use advanced predictive models to best model and understand your promotions.
  • New Product Forecasting: Learn state-of-the-art forecasting methods to new product demand forecasting and the use of expert opinion and management judgment.

Custom-made courses

We can develop tailor-made courses to meet specific requirements for individuals or entire demand planning teams. For example, we regularly teach courses tailor-made for SAP APO-DP. This two-day course covers forecasting methods, error metrics and processes implemented in the software package. On completion, participants understand the pitfalls of SAP's modelling approach and how the limitations can be overcome.

If you would like to learn more about our courses, please contact us.

Tab Content: Projects

Short-Term Projects

Working with industry, commerce and government, we support projects on a short time scale bringing valuable insights and knowledge into the organisation for immediate action. We offer a variety of projects formats that have a different level of engagement:


We have led many exciting projects which have drawn upon the broad range of expertise and experience of our faculty members. Consultancy projects can be arranged at short notice and are very flexible in their format. Examples include the implementation of new forecasting models, evaluation and benchmarking of current forecast processes or analysing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Masters Student Projects

During the summer term, our Master students from the Business and Marketing Analytics courses embark on a company based projects. These projects offer a very attractive way of obtaining the latest methods from the classroom and fresh insights into the specific issues facing the organisation. Each project is supervised by an experienced CMAF member to ensure its success. Such projects may often lead to the recruitment of the student after the completion of the project.

Software Development

We advise major software houses on the design and implementation of new applications. Our researchers have developed a number of models which are available as open-source software packages that disseminate the latest advances in forecasting methods - please refer to our Resources tab for more information. Projects have also customised software for organisations or advised on the design of more effective Forecasting Support Systems.

Longer-Term Projects

Some projects are more ambitious and will require greater time to collect, analyse and interpret data. These projects need a more significant amount of expert resource to yield the greatest benefits. The government is keen to promote the industrial-academic partnerships required for successful longer-term projects and we would be glad to discuss these opportunities with you.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

The KTP Scheme is designed to facilitate knowledge transfer from the University to the industrial partner. As part of this, it provides academic support for the fast-track development of recent graduates into industrial management. The graduate, based in the company and supervised by a member of the centre over a typical period of two years, works on a project or linking projects identified by the company. The cost to the company is subsidised by the KTP scheme, making it an attractive proposition to an organisation with a major development need.

Doctoral Research Projects

This project type will give you chance to obtain a leading edge of innovation to your competitors. Research is undertaken over a three or four year period on a jointly agreed problem with the client. The cost of sponsoring a student can be reduced through sponsorship by the government or through the funding from the UK research councils.

We are proud to have worked with a range of national and global organisations such as those below.

If you would like to learn more about our projects, please contact us.

Tab Content: Resources

Open-source R packages maintained by centre members

  • diffusion - a collection of models to forecast the diffusion of new products.
  • greybox - a toolbox for selecting and combining forecasting models.
  • MAPA - contains functions to forecast with a Multiple Aggregation Prediction Algorithm (MAPA).
  • nnfor - contains functions for automatic time series modelling with neural networks.
  • smooth - allows forecasting with exponential smoothing and ARIMA functions.
  • tsintermittent - for analysing and forecasting intermittent demand and slow-moving items.
  • tsutils - a collection of time series analysis and forecasting functions.
  • thief - Methods and tools for generating forecasts at different temporal frequencies using a hierarchical time series approach.
  • TStools - a GitHub repository with new (often experimental) functions from CMAF members.

Research blogs written by centre members

Books published


Thinking about doing a PhD?

Our centre has a dynamic group of PhD students who are researching various topics within our research themes. Read more about doing a PhD in Management Science at Lancaster.

Learn more



Centre Director

John Boylan

Centre for Health Futures, Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in the UK , DSI - Foundations, Health Systems, STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training

A054, A - Floor, Management School

Centre Members

John Boylan

Centre for Health Futures, Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in the UK , DSI - Foundations, Health Systems, STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training

A054, A - Floor, Management School
Sven Crone

Advanced Manufacturing, Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, Lancaster Intelligent, Robotic and Autonomous Systems Centre, STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training

A053a, A - Floor, Management School
Maren Dangut

Dr Maren Dangut

Business Analytics Project Lead (KTP Associate)

Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting

Alex Gibberd

Dr Alex Gibberd

Lecturer in Statistics

Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, Changepoints and Time Series, DSI - Foundations, STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training

B37, B - Floor, Fylde College
Rebecca Killick

Dr Rebecca Killick

Senior Lecturer in Statistics

Biomedical, Changepoints and Time Series, DSI - Foundations, Energy Lancaster, Lancaster Intelligent, Robotic and Autonomous Systems Centre, STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training

+44 (0)1524 593780 B32, B - Floor, Fylde College
Nicos Pavlidis

Dr Nicos Pavlidis

Senior Lecturer

Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, DSI - Foundations, STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training

Anna-Lena Sachs

Dr Anna-Lena Sachs

Lecturer in Predictive Analytics

Centre for Health Futures, Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, DSI - Foundations, Optimisation, STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training

+44 (0)1524 521894 A055, A - Floor, Management School
Anna Sroginis

Anna Sroginis

Lecturer in Management Science

Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting

Ivan Svetunkov

Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, DSI - Foundations, Society and Human Behaviour, STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training

Alisa Yusupova

Dr Alisa Yusupova

Lecturer in Marketing Analytics

Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting

PhD Students

Ritika Arora

Ritika Arora

PhD student

Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting

Robyn Goldsmith

Robyn Goldsmith

PhD student

STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training

Graham Laidler

Graham Laidler

PhD student

Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, Simulation and Stochastic Modelling, STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training

Joshua Liu

Joshua Liu

PhD student

Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting

Carlos Rodriguez Calderon

Carlos Rodriguez Calderon

PhD (Integrated) student

Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting

Kandrika Pritularga

Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting

Hamish Thorburn

Hamish Thorburn

PhD student

STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training

Centre Administrator

Teresa Aldren

Teresa Aldren

Research Enhancement and Centres Administrator

Centre for Consumption Insights, Centre for Family Business, Centre for Financial Econometrics, Asset Markets and Macroeconomic Policy, Centre for Health Futures, Centre for Marketing Analytics & Forecasting, Centre for Productivity & Efficiency, Centre for Technological Futures , Centre for Transport & Logistics (CENTRAL)

C26, C - Floor, Charles Carter Building

Visiting Research Fellows

Events and courses

For a full list of our upcoming events and courses, please visit our Events page. For past events, please visit our Events Archive.

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