Glen L. Urban is a leading educator, a prize-winning researcher specializing in marketing and new product development, an entrepreneur, an author, a sculptor, and a sailor. He has been a member of the MIT Sloan School of Management faculty since 1966, was Deputy Dean at the school from 1987 to 1991, and Dean from 1993 to 1998. He became professor emeritus in 2019.
Urban's research focus is on management science models that improve the productivity of new product development. In a methodology he devised called Information Acceleration, he uses computer technology to simulate future sales of products such as cars, computer systems, telecommunications, and drugs. The precision of the technique can save manufacturers of durable and high-tech industrial products millions of dollars in development costs. One Information Acceleration field experiment sponsored by General Motors' Electric Vehicle Division contributed significantly to GM's decision to modify its plans for investment in plant and equipment to launch the new automobile.
Information Acceleration emerged from Urban's earlier ground-breaking work in premarket forecasting for frequently-purchased consumer (nondurable) goods called Assessor. Since the Assessor concept, it has been used to forecast the success and profitability of more than 3,000 new consumer products around the world.
Dr. Urban's research is to develop a trust-based marketing system on the Internet. An extension of the Information Acceleration research, the system uses General Motors trucks for a prototype Web site called Trucktown, and integrates the use of attribute screening, expert advice, collaborative filtering and community interaction. It supports consumer decision making and supplies manufacturers with new product opportunity definitions. Current research explores the role of growing consumer power on trust based relationships and how companies should respond. He calls this the "trust imperative".
Over the past 10 years he concentrated on the effectiveness of new media. He created benevolent apps to build trust in social media with support from Liberty Mutual Insurance. His work is on story telling was conducted in cooperation with BMW and empirically documented the power of stories to communicate marketing messages. Projects have examined morphing of web sites and banner ads to match the cognitive style of users, trust based apps, and apps to reach Gen Y. In a project employing Perspective Meta Analysis he is measuring the effects in a clinical experimental setting the tradeoff of new versus old media in order to optimize the media allocations and total advertising budget. Most recent work has been on the advantages of deep learning compared to traditional marketing analytics. Finally with the advent of Covid-19, he is proposing the use of the morphing Gittens algorithms in stage 3 testing of Covid-19 vaccines. Preliminary research into testing of other vaccines indicates the potential to reduce stage three testing by up to 50%.
Trained initially in engineering and business--earning a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1963 and an M.B.A. in 1964, both from the University of Wisconsin-- Urban went on to earn a Ph.D. in marketing at Northwestern University in 1966. He is co-author of six books, including Digital Marketing Strategy (2003), Design and Marketing of New Products (second edition, 1993), Advanced Marketing Strategy (1991), and Management Science in Marketing (1969). He has also published over thirty articles on pre market forecasting of new products, test marketing, product line planning, leading-edge users in new product development, and Trust Based Strategies. His papers have won several prestigious awards, including two O'Dells -- in 1983 and 1986 -- for the best papers published in marketing research. In 1996 he received the American Marketing Association Paul D. Converse Award for outstanding contributions to the development of the science of marketing, and the Journal of Marketing award for best paper. In 1999 he was winner of the American Marketing Association and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Charles Coolidge Parlin Award for recognition of a body of work in marketing research. And in 2009 he was named a fellow in the Marketing Science association - ISMS in INFORMS.
In addition, he co-founded several other marketing software companies that implemented published MIT research results.