Course Descriptions

Course catalog descriptions for courses offered in all currently published terms.


MKT 630 Marketing Engineering
  2.25 hours Elective Terms Offered: W15(B), W16(B)
  Advisory Prerequisites: MKT 501/503/591 

WN10: Advanced Marketing Research: Marketing Engineering

Course Objectives

The overarching purpose of this course is to convey the ample benefits of a systematic, analytical approach to marketing decision-making, and to build skills / knowledge / confidence in undertaking such analyses on your own. An analytical approach will enable you to: (1) identify appropriate marketing options and actions, (2) calibrate costs and expected returns associated with each, and (3) choose those with the highest likelihood of achieving one’s business goals. That is, you will be on the happy path to “Marketing ROI”, which companies are increasingly obsessed about (for good reason).


“Why Marketing Engineering? Don’t I know enough about Marketing already?”


This course zooms onward from the Marketing Core course in several concrete ways, but mainly in terms of operationalizing marketing concepts like segmentation, targeting, positioning, and marketing resource allocation. By the end of this course, you will learn how to extract information in the ways marketers are increasingly required to, for example, to: segment customers and markets, identify attractive targeting prospects, determine the best brand positioning in customers’ minds, develop new products that add value to consumers and firms… and more. But, most of all, you will become adept in systematizing decision-making based on powerful, proven modeling methodology.


We will also manage to cover a lot of ground typically bundled under “marketing analytics”, including such fun stuff as factor / cluster / latent class / conjoint analyses, heterogeneity, hierarchical models, multidimensional scaling, etc. We will NOT be approaching these topics theoretically, that is, via equations, proofs and other things most people hate. Instead, we’ll learn how they work, when to use them, and what they tell marketers.


Course Structure and Overview


The basic pedagogical approach is to employ a mix of learning methods consistent with the relatively compressed ‘module’ format of this course. There will be lectures, class discussions, software tools, cases, and assigned readings. Class sessions will be devoted to probing, extending and applying the material in the readings and the cases. One could call this “Tell-Show-Do”, a sequence providing hands-on experience in using the course materials for making marketing decisions. Lectures (always supplemented by the text) will cover the concepts and models you need in order to understand – and to apply – a scientific approach to marketing. Applications are illustrated in the cases, readings, and the examples; the software tools allow for hands-on opportunities to apply the concepts and models to resolve real-life marketing problems.


Topics include:

    Course Overview

    Fun and Informative Stats Review

    Introduction: Scientific Marketing Analysis

    IRI  Panel Data Collection

    Segmentation and Targeting (Cluster, Discriminant)

    Secondary and External Data

    Positioning (Perceptual Maps, MDS)

    Forecasting (Bass Model)

    Scanner Data and IRI / Guadagni-Little Article / LOGIT

    Latent Class Analysis

    New Product Design

    Discrete Choice Models, Conjoint

    Advanced Topics: Heterogeneity, Hierarchical Models, and Bayesian Estimation


Texts and Course Materials


Principles of Marketing Engineering, Gary L. Lilien, Arvind Rangaswamy, and Arnaud De Bruyn, Trafford Publishers, 2007.  This book is a classic, and we will follow it very closely. A copy of the Marketing Engineering software associated with the book will be provided to all students free of charge. Some of the other materials load automatically with the software, and still more will appear via CTools. Everything will be in PDF, and there is no coursepack as such.


Modern Marketing Research: Concepts, Methods, and Cases, Fred Feinberg, Tom Kinnear, and Jim Taylor, Cengage / Thompson Academic Publishing, 2008. This book, while not yet a classic, should be, because it is just stupendous. It has the best coverage of marketing research methods in the known cosmos, with lots of worked examples. Note that it is OPTIONAL. Meaning: you don’t need to purchase it. We will not follow it closely, but anyone wanting more detail on the methods presented in the course will find this a prudent investment. It also makes a great gift.




The reading assignments from Principles of Marketing Engineering are required, before class. This provides the necessary background materials for class discussions. There will also be supplemental materials, mainly “tutorials” on how to run various models through the provided software. Cases appear automatically when you load the software, in a folder called “My Marketing Engineering” (note: I did not pick this cutesy title). Most everything will be put on CTools as well, for easy access anywhere.


Class participation (Individual)


All students should read each case and conduct sufficient analyses to be able to address the questions specified in the case (among others). Everyone is expected to contribute actively to case discussions, as well as offer elaborations and examples during lecture sessions. [Please bring name cards to classes.] This component of the course will count toward a hefty portion of your course grade (more below).


In evaluating class participation, quality counts more than quantity. I will try to assess how your contributions enhance both the content and process of a discussion. You can help here by actually contributing regularly to the content and process of the discussions. Some pointers:


·         Participation means both speaking and listening. Your contributions will count for more if you build on the comments/insights offered by others in the class.

·         It’s not necessary to demonstrate mastery of the case facts, although they should be used to bolster arguments. Try to ask interesting questions, or offer good examples and insights.

·         The purpose of the case discussions is creatively making the data “speak”, so that we can determine appropriate marketing actions. It’s an iterative, interactive process, without pre-existing “absolutely right” answers.

·         Finally, don’t take things personally. Try always to have an open mind: be inquisitive and skeptical, but not dogmatic.


Case Write-ups (Team)


This course focuses on “learning by doing.” In that spirit, teams will analyze each assigned case before class and develop their recommendations. For each case that we will discuss, your team is required to submit a one (or, if you really need it, two) page executive summary that contains your recommendations and rationale for them. Use the case discussion questions as a guide in developing your recommendations. These case write-ups are due well before class: by 8PM on the day BEFORE case sessions (Day sections), or NOON on the day OF case discussions (Evening section). Late submissions are acceptable if the apocalypse comes, but otherwise not.


Each team is also required to do at least one in-class case presentation (the number will depend on the number of teams in the course; we will have at least two teams presenting each case). This is not shorthand for “blow off the cases you are not presenting”. Presentations will be arranged well in advance for your team to prepare appropriately. You need not submit an executive summary for the case you will be presenting. Instead send me a copy of your slides along with any accompanying notes.




You will be allowed to form your own groups for the purposes of case analyses and final project, but I reserve the right to place latecomers and those from outside the business school into appropriate homes.  Groups should have about 5 (i.e., 4 or 6 are OK, too, although 4 means a lot of work for everyone) members and strive for heterogeneity in composition. Critical Note: At the end of the semester, group members will rate one another in terms of their relative contribution in group work.  As such, shirking group responsibilities is by far the surest route to oblivion.