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



Potential clients

My work

Client results


Published papers

Guest lectures

They said it!



Who Is Going To Buy The Darn Thing?

Who Is Going To Buy The Darn Thing?
Invest More In Marketing Than In Engineering To Find Out!

Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)
Proceedings of the IEEE Electro International
By Ralph E. Grabowski

Table of Contents

1 The evidence is in
2 Who needs Marketing?
3 Exactly how much is "more" Marketing?
4 Avoid the pitfalls of the flaming failures
5 Do what the super successes do
6 Go for it!
7 Implications for technology-based enterprises
8 Summary
9 References
   About the author

   PDF reprint -  28 pages, 0.7 MB
   PDF 2-page abstract with summary of the data - 0.3 MB


invest more in market research than in engineering

1 - The evidence is in
Invest more in marketing, exclusive of promoting and selling, than in engineering


Invest more in up-front marketing, exclusive of promoting and selling, than in engineering!  Furthermore, invest heavily in market research, either before the engineering begins, or concurrently with the engineering effort, or both; before the product is ready.

To an engineering audience, to the technologists, that might seem outrageous.  This author is often asked, "How can you possibly suggest that we devote our precious capital to marketing, much less more to marketing than in engineering, when we have this heavy-duty technology to develop?"

In fact, the evidence shows that commercially successful technology-based enterprises do just that.(1)  Super successes in this survey have a Marketing/Engineering Investment Ratio™ (M/E Ratio™) greater than 1, investing, on average, about two dollars in marketing for every dollar invested in engineering.  They invest up-front, before the product is ready.  They maintain a higher investment in marketing even at the extremes of technology where you might expect more investment in engineering.

Every flaming failure suffers from an M/E Ratio™ of 0.1 or lower.  The average failure invests only about two cents in upstream marketing for every dollar in engineering.

Figure 1 demonstrates the relationship of the M/E Ratio™ with success.(2)  The vertical scale is the log of the Marketing/Engineering Investment Ratio™.  A ratio above 1 indicates more investment in upstream marketing than in engineering.  Data points are in three columns: clear "Failure" on the left, "Success" on the right, and "Neither" in the middle.  Multiple bullets (····) mean that number of data points at one M/E Ratio™.

click image for 1024 x 768 view with names

More than $1 Trillion is represented either in value creation by the successes, or in capital squandering by the failures.  The human impact has been more than 400,000 jobs created by the winners, or lost by the basket cases; and more than 150,000 engineering slots fashioned or vanished.

The data are consistent from the 1940s into the 2000s, from startups to Fortune 500 firms, in both new fields and in old ones, and across a broad range of technology-based enterprises.

Click for an enlarged chart with the evidence; listing company names, products, and dates.  Opens in a new window.

Download a 1-page printable version of the evidence - PDF, 0.1 Mb.


    Figure 1, the relationship of the Marketing*/Engineering Investment Ratio™ with success
    (*) excludes promoting and selling 


Site Map   Download   Copyright© 1996-2019   Ralph E. Grabowski