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Volume 1, Number 2

on . 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.

To connect with us, please contact us through the support center.

Please pass this newsletter on to your colleagues who can subscribe by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.

Volume 1, Number 1

on . Posted in Instructor Newsletters

Introducing the Marketing Engineering Quarterly Newsletter

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Marketing Engineering News, a quarterly newsletter aimed at current or potential users of the Marketing Engineering suite of teaching materials.  We anticipate that each issue will include:

  • ME>XL News:  an update on what is new and what is planned for the ME>XL suite of offerings
  • Teaching Tip: something we have found that instructors find useful
  • Instructor Forum:  a commentary from a Marketing Engineering instructor, sharing some classroom experiences
  • Features:  other topical items that instructors may find useful

We will also provide resource links, letters and comments as the newsletter evolves.

We hope you find the newsletter of use and we invite your reactions and comments.

To connect with us, please contact us through the support center.

Please pass this newsletter on to your colleagues who can subscribe by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

All the best,
Gary Lilien
Arvind Rangaswamy

Arnaud De Bruyn

Marketing Engineering for Excel News

Release 1.1, a maintenance release, available Monday, December 24.

  • Corrects a few minor issues discovered in our initial release
  • Adds suppression of the ME>XL splash screen after software activation
  • Adds a market trendline to the Bass model

Release 1.2, available in January 2008, adds several features requested by our users.

  • ME>XL Program Group is added to the Start ->Programs list to allow users to activate/deactivate the ME>XL add-in
  • Instructor materials, cases and solutions are revised to make students and professors more effective
  • A new case is added (SyPhone) to allow instructors to better teach the Customer Lifetime Value model

Release 1.3, available in April 2008, will introduce the Latent Class option of our Segmentation and Classification model.  Watch for a complete list of new features in our next newsletter.

Teaching Tip

This space will feature a short "teaching tip" is each issue…and we’d like to hear from you.  If have discovered a tip or technique that makes the Marketing Engineering experience more interesting for your students, please send it along.  You may contact us through the support center.

Marketing Engineering for Excel was specifically designed to allow you to use locally developed cases and problems to allow your students to be more engaged in the learning process.  We distribute a robust set of cases with the software, and will be adding additional cases in 2008, but your students might enjoy using marketing analytics with a problem assignment using locally gathered data.  

Try this: ask your students to develop a list of several "attributes" about local restaurants. Ask them to poll 10 or 20 fellow students and friends. Have them analyze the results using ME>XL’s Positioning software. You could ask them to collect both Perceptual and Preference data (time permitting). Ask your students to analyze the results and determine what restaurants might do to change their "market position".

With the assistance of a TA, you could actually do this example in class, using your students as respondents where they will be part of the "market".

From ME 2.4 to ME>XL — The Washington University Experience

At the University of Washington, Bothell, I have employed one version or the other of the Marketing Engineering software primarily at the MBA level since the Fall of 1999. Consequently I am all too familiar with the glitches and software bugs in the earlier versions and have had to prepare various handouts to address these problems as and when the student groups encountered them. This year it was with some trepidation that I migrated to the Marketing Engineering for Excel (ME>XL) version (which has now become a tool bar within Excel), fully expecting a flurry of emails from students encountering new sets of glitches that I had not had to address before. Having field tested a couple of the modules this fall it is clear that this version has led to strongly positive user experience.

Student reactions in the MBA class of 2008, with an average work experience of over 10 years, ran the gamut from, "a fantastic product", "an easy way to put together data in a comprehensible format", "makes analysis simpler", "an incredibly powerful research tool that was intuitive to use", to "helps put results together that can be easily translated for upper management". This has made my work around handouts redundant. I have instead had to engage in discussion with students trying to do some advanced segmentation analysis.

Lilien and Rangaswamy (with their new co-author De Bruyn) have essentially created a disruptive innovation in the practice of marketing with this release of ME>XL. This is potentially going to cause a revolution in the way the best trained managers think and interact with data. It has the hallmarks of being "a great leveller," making it possible for smaller firms with smart managers but limited resources to compete with the big corporations with seemingly unlimited research budgets.

The Marketing Engineering team provided prompt support to any student question that was submitted, making software support issues a non-event. Thank you for a remarkable new version. My major concern is that I am almost scared to unleash these students on the world with access to such easy to use software.

By Prof. P.V. (Sundar) Balakrishnan

Coming Events — ME>XL Instructor Workshop at Winter AMA

February 15, 2008

If you are attending the AMA Educators Conference in Austin in February, consider joining us for a half-day, hands-on Marketing Engineering Workshop with Gary Lilien and Arvind Rangaswamy on Friday, Feb. 15, 2008 at University of Texas Austin (immediately before conference).