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

   

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Startup to acquisition for $6.2 Billion.  Motivated multi-million dollar funding to help launch a new biotech field, automated PAP smear preparation.

"Deadly accurate!" customer interviews.  Early Market Research, in advance of engineering, identified profound changes from the initial product concept; steering engineering to create the first significant improvement in cervical cancer screening in over 50 years, with 65% more disease detection.

My Market Research becomes testimony before the US Congress which resulted in new legislation.

 

The problem

Stan Lapidus founded ITRAN  as a general-purpose machine vision company.   He successfully grew ITRAN into a top-tier participant and the largest supplier to General Motors.  While ITRAN achieved this one strategic goal, they were a financial failure.

Stan started looking for another entrepreneurial challenge and began investigating opportunities for special-purpose machine vision systems in medicine and health care.  Pap smear screening, Stan suspected, was one potential opportunity.  

He needed to convert anecdotes into quantified evidence.  He required market validation to compel investment.  He wanted the facts.

 

My assignments

Working out of his basement, Stan gave me a single name (which turned out to be the wrong name) to launch the process, a page-and-a-half, double-spaced treatment (that's all there was), a medical textbook on Cytology, and a limited budget with no money to travel.  He asked me to research fundamental driving forces that might support investment in Pap automation:

  • Demographics
  • Financial
  • Regulatory
  • Technology

As I surfaced these facts, Stan then gave me another assignment to probe further into customer needs, confirming the market opportunity and product concept with primary market research.

Market Research evolves as it proceeds.  Promising evidence led to further assignments:

  • Supply testimony to the US Congress
  • Rigorous market validation, 
        customer modeling
        market sizing, and 
        payback analysis
  • Competitive Intelligence (CI) on a startup still in their garage

 

 
 
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