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



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Ralph E. Grabowski
  Professional Practice  




I focus on the up-front Marketing process for technology-based enterprises and practice in three segments. 

  1. Marketing Consultant to established companies with competent, in-place Marketing teams 

  2. Marketing revival, a temporary executive for turnarounds

  3. VP of Marketing for startups 

The up-front Marketing process is differentiated from promoting and selling in function, as well as by time, although it ultimately guides downstream promoting and selling.  It is early intervention to steer the enterprise, a leadership role.   

Upstream Market Research is an iterative process conducted as a team with technologists, and occurs before the product is ready; perhaps even before the product is committed to engineering.  Market Research is a simple name for a complex series of rigorous, fact gathering, analytical processes including market segmentation, market sizing, market validation, Competitive Intelligence (CI), food chain analysis, modeling the customer, calculating customer payback, and quantifying customer needs.


When to bring me in

    When there is a Marketing urgency

  • Because upstream Marketing investment yields significant payback and is correlated with success 

  • When there is a sense of urgency to achieve financial and strategic goals 

  • When there is a lot of money on the table 

  • When you need to grow market share, sales, and profits 

  • When you must have the market validation to compel investment

  • When it is time to develop the budget and staffing for success 

  • When you need to strengthen the Marketing competency 

  • When customers may interact more openly with a third party 

  • When surfacing customer intent in highly technical fields means first capturing their respect 

  • When the situation needs an honest, objective player, free from politics and with no self-interest 

  • When more Marketing horsepower, increased bandwidth, or focus would be helpful

    When there is an organizational urgency

  • For a revival, rebuilding, or turnaround 

  • When you need leadership 

  • When you need to strengthen the team 

  • When you need prompt and decisive action, not reports 

  • When you want to raise your people and the organization to another level 

  • When a dynamic situation demands dynamic talent, instead of a steady-state person 

  • When an executive with needed experience is not readily available

  • When there is insufficient time to complete a retained search, to survive the inevitable counter-offer, and to wait for the person to move 

  • When the job specification is unstable or not well defined 

  • When the position may disappear at the completion of the assignment 

  • When a sudden resignation leaves a hole 

  • When you need to move on a poor performer

  • When others have failed

When there is an engineering urgency

  • When you need to define and launch new products

  • When you need to focus engineering on only those investments which might best result in decisive, defensible competitive advantage


Why to bring me in

Because I am an engineer.

an MIT engineering degree enables me understand new technology, to appreciate its value, and to capture the respect of internal technologists and of customers. 

Because I surface the facts.

"Getting the facts is hard, Ralph.  Once the data are available, making decisions is easy."  William P. Boland, CEO, NETCO Automation.

The disciplined sequence leading to the facts is rigorous Primary Market Research supported with adequate budget and staffing:

  • being able to formulate the right questions, 

  • identifying the few who can best answer (typically leading-edge users),

  • penetrating to those few, and

  • skillful, neutral questioning to elicit customer intent accurately and quickly.

"Strategy must be based on facts, not on wishes."  Dr. Barry Unger, co-founder of the MIT Enterprise Forum 

Because I bring a broad technical background from having been in more than fifty different technologies.

Because I can deliver the methods, processes, and tools from forty-seven years of Marketing.

Because I have a track record having helped launch new products, new companies, and new fields which have become worth more than ten Billion dollars.


A process for success

Stage one
The evidence demonstrates that technology-based enterprises which do not invest in upstream Marketing fail.  I help you address the pitfalls, with experience from forty-seven years of Marketing.

Stage two
We make a fundamental shift in management attention and investment commitment toward decisive, up-front Marketing.  We aim for success with the budget and staffing.  I actuate your commitment by supplying the Marketing leadership, processes, methods, tools, and benchmarks.  

Stage three
I support the achievement of your financial and strategic goals.



Technology focus

I am frequently asked, "What technology do you specialize in?"  My specialty is the upstream Marketing process in emerging technologies, for which there may be no one with experience, and being able to make an immediate contribution by creating (business) organization, discipline, and structure.  My track record has shown that experience in the Marketing essentials, coupled with technical credentials, is more important than experience within a particular industry.

For example, I have helped launch more than seven new fields.  Obviously, there was no one with experience in any of these new fields.  My contribution is an understanding of the process, methods, and tools of technology-based Marketing.  An MIT engineering degree enables me understand new technology, to appreciate its value, and to capture the respect of internal technologists and of customers.

Many new developments are exciting precisely because they are at the intersection of several different technologies.  Having practiced in more than fifty different technologies, I bring a broad technical background to the table.


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