Ralph E. Grabowski - marketingVP - fact-gathering, analytical Marketing to steer the enterprise



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They said it!



Teaching program for institutions

My guest lectures
and teaching for institutions


I teach Marketing because
for Boston University
Students say
Teaching program
Co-founded MIT's entrepreneurship program
About the teacher


I teach Marketing because

I teach because the act of teaching impels a depth of understanding and crispness of communication of the fundamentals of marketing.  I teach because this provides a platform to create, develop, and articulate advanced methods and processes in marketing.  I teach because I support and give to my community of business people, entrepreneurs, and technologists.  I teach because it nourishes and reinforces my practice, helping me to serve my clients and companies better.

I have taught at MIT not only because I received my engineering degree there, but also because MIT is a leading institution of science, engineering, business, and entrepreneurship.  Teaching at MIT has enabled me to learn how to teach technologists the entrepreneurial process, the upstream marketing process, and the relationship between marketing and engineering.

Read what students say.  After the class or presentation, the published paper, class handout, or a summary of the material will be in the Papers section. For example:


Tools to Convince Management of Your Investment in the Voice of the Customer

How do product managers justify their time to management, acquire sufficient resources, and develop a budget for front-end marketing?  How much, exactly, is needed?

Customer understanding is inherent in the role of product manager and mandatory for success.  Yet the time allocation, resources, and budget for acquiring customer input is rarely, if ever, explicit in the job description.  Investing in Voice of the Customer (VoC) might not even be a listed task.

Mr. Grabowski will reveal surprising, counterintuitive data and a unique formula for the significant investment required to hear the Voice of the Customer, for budgeting and staffing front-end marketing, and to achieve business success.

  • Not "Why," not "How To," but "How Much?"
  • Not "Invest to Understand Customer Needs," but "Tools to Convince Management!"

Boston Product Management Association (bpma)

"The Board of Directors; Vital Partner for a VoC Culture"
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PDF transcript
PDF slides only
PDF brochure
The Board of Directors; Vital Partner for a VoC Culture
  • Tools to enlist the Board of Directors as your partner

  • Twenty questions for the Board to establish a VoC Culture

  • Unique data reveals VoC investment for success

Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) 9th Annual Voice of the Customer  (VoC) Conference, San Diego, CA.

"What Do Customers Want?"
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PDF transcript
PDF handout
What Do Customers Want?

Upstream market research is early intervention to validate and size the business opportunity, to guide engineering to develop products that deliver benefits that customers are willing to spend money to receive, and to steer the enterprise.

Real-life examples illustrate what marketing should be doing, how to go about it, and how good market research relates to the product development process.  Tools will be demonstrated to address high market-place dynamics, rapid technology changes, and the interaction between market research and technology. 

Presented at the request of Boston University fifteen times between 1999 and 2008.

"Marketing Strategy: The Marketing Budget"
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PDF handout
Marketing Strategy: The Marketing Budget

Ralph Grabowski will illustrate how much effort goes into the fact-gathering, analytical front-end process to identify needs, customers, and opportunities; and will quantify that investment.

The author has gathered data on how much companies actually invest in Front End Marketing.  This is an engineering approach; gather data then take action based on data.

IEEE Entrepreneurs' Network (ENET), March 6, 2007, Waltham, MA

"Cytyc's Impact on Women's Health"
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PDF handout
PDF slides
Cytyc's Impact on Women's Health
  • Delivering 65% more disease detection for women

  • Launching a startup to $6.2 Billion market capitalization

  • Identifying profound changes from the initial product concept

  • Investing more in early Market Research than engineering

  • Precipitating new legislation in the US Congress (CLIA)

Medical Development Group (MDG), October 4, 2006

"Neat Technology, But Who Will Buy It?"
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PDF Playbill
Neat Technology, But Who Will Buy It?
A play in three acts:
Act 1 Death and Despair
Act 2 New Models and Hope
Act 3 the Prediction

A cast of luminaries, including the father of the semiconductor wafer stepper and the Runner-Up in the 2004 MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition, portray themselves and other current - and historical - people with extraordinary technology; to relate their personal triumphs and failures regarding the impact of Market Research - or lack thereof - in their businesses.

"Technology is not important!"  Robert J. Shillman, Ph.D., Founder, President, CEO, and Chairman of Cognex


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