Instructor Newsletters

Volume 1, Number 2

Posted in Instructor Newsletters

Marketing Engineering News

Welcome to the second issue of Marketing Engineering News. It has been an exciting time for us, as Marketing Engineering and Marketing Engineering for Excel (ME>XL) software have seen rapid uptake in the past semester. We are pleased to report some new developments in ME>XL as well as information on some new cases we are developing. We are keen to get your feedback on both.

This issue contains:

  • ME>XL News: Release 1.3 will be available in July '08. Among other things it will introduce the Latent Class option in the Customer Choice (Logit) model. Also, new cases have been posted for several other models. A webinar tailored to new Marketing Engineering instructors is being offered in August.
  • Instructor Forum: Prof. Dan Toy recounts his 20+ year journey with Marketing Engineering.
  • A Student's Perspective: An ESSEC MBA Graduate talks about how ME>XL has helped him launch his entrepreneurial venture.

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All the best,
Gary Lilien, Penn State University 
Arvind Rangaswamy, Penn State University

Arnaud De Bruyn, ESSEC Business School 

Marketing Engineering for Excel News

Release 1.3, a maintenance release, available Friday, July 25.

  • Latent Class Segmentation within our Customer Choice model
  • Various maintenance enhancements

Webinar for New Instructors: The Marketing Engineering Solution

  • This webinar, being held August 13 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, will focus on new instructors who are contemplating a marketing analytics course in the fall.  We'll cover the text, software and resources available to help you plan your course.
  • For more information and to register, please visit our webinar page.


New Business Cases are being introduced for Fall 2008.

  • Blackberry Pearl ( Product Positioning)
  • Convergys (Customer Lifetime Value)
  • Ford Hybrid Cars (Bass, New Product Introduction)

Marketing Engineering in the Classroom: My 20+ Year Journey

Dan Toy, Professor of Marketing, California State University, Chico

My first experience using “marketing engineering” concepts in the classroom came in the early 1980s. At first, I was using several cases written by Darrell Clark, then a professor at the Harvard Business School, that incorporated decision models into Harvard type cases. Eventually, Darrell aggregated the cases to create a book focused on marketing analysis and decision making. This text included a spreadsheet software package called Lotus 123 that allowed students to incorporate quantitative modeling into their case solutions. I used Darrell’s book in a marketing analysis course for both a second year MBA class and for an undergraduate class for business honor students. I became a firm believer in the models-based approach and have been using this approach to teach marketing concepts ever since.

Darrell’s marketing analysis text was the prototype for the original Lilien and Rangaswamy text on marketing engineering. I was one of the early adopters of the Lilien and Rangaswamy text “Marketing Engineering” when it was first published in 1998. I used the text in a Marketing Management graduate class as well as a senior level undergraduate class. The first two versions of the text were difficult reading for students in both classes, but I always emphasized a conceptual, rather than mathematical, understanding of the marketing engineering material. Both classes were very successful in terms of both student learning and student feedback.

I am now using the most current marketing engineering text, Principles of Marketing Engineering, along with the new Excel-based software, a marked improvement over the previous software in terms of ease-of-use. During a 15-week semester I assign 13 cases. I also have three exams in the course: two “midterms” and a comprehensive final. The cases are analyzed by student teams. Each team is responsible for presenting two cases and writing up all 13 of the assigned cases. This format requires teams to be prepared to discuss each of the cases every week of the class. Because every student in the class analyzes all of the cases, in depth discussions about each student case presentation are central and important parts of the course and the learning experience.

Here’s how I run my classes: A typical three hour class includes a one to two hour discussion of a marketing issue and a related marketing engineering tool followed by an exploration of the next case due, where we talk about how the marketing engineering tool can be used to help solve the case problem. I use extensive Power Point presentations to help students understand how each marketing engineering tool works in general and more specifically, how it can be used to help solve the case problem. These presentations make it possible for students to more efficiently and effectively solve the problems presented in the marketing case. Before I developed these Power Point presentations, I spent a considerable amount of time helping students with the cases. Now, students have few questions about how to analyze the cases and they feel confident doing their analyses without my intervention. Depending on class size, I have either one or two team presentations for each case. After each presentation (limited to 25 – 30 minutes) the class critiques the analysis of the presenting team. We then start the discussion of the next marketing engineering concept.

While most students feel this class is the toughest MBA course they take, their overall evaluation of the class is always very positive. Most importantly, they really enjoy the hands on, quantitative approach to solving marketing issues and appreciate the fact that the course provides both concepts and tools they can apply outside the classroom. The marketing engineering class is my favorite class to teach and I find it just about impossible to go back to teaching marketing using more traditional lecture or case-discussion approaches.

I would be happy to share my experiences and detailed recommendations with other instructors contemplating their Marketing Engineering journeys of their own. My friends know that I am an avid mountain climber and the analogy with marketing engineering is clear in my mind--while the path is steep at times, the view from the top makes the journey more than worthwhile.

Student Perspective of Marketing Engineering for Excel

Lionel ChouraquiESSEC MBA Graduate, 2008

I had a chance to use Marketing Engineering for Excel while I was working on a term project for one of my courses at ESSEC Business School, and I applied that tool to an entrepreneurial venture I was involved in. At the time, I was working on launching a new offer on the education market in Paris, and used that course assignment to conduct additional market research. We mainly used the customer choice component of Marketing Engineering for Excel, which helped us understand what really matters for a prospective student. Indeed, if you ask if professors’ reputation matters, they will say yes. If you ask if location of the school matters, they will say yes. If you ask if the tuition fee matters, they will say yes again. The challenge of our analysis with Marketing Engineering for Excel was to understand the true, key drivers of students’ choices, to help us build a better offer for the market, and of course focus our communication efforts.

The software was really all-inclusive, and once the tutorial was read, very easy to use. We ran into some problems at first (real data can be messy sometimes), but all in all, the experience was positive and very enriching. My partners and I are launching our company this summer.