I had lunch with a former colleague from Harvard Business School last week. He asked me about Mekko Graphics and specifically about Marimekko charts. I think I did a good job explaining to him why you might use a Marimekko chart. I noted that you can capture two dimensions in one chart, for example revenue by region and vertical market. With a Marimekko chart, you can quickly spot large segments (e.g., a specific vertical that has a large share of a region) and identify ‘white space’ (e.g., a vertical that is under-represented in a specific region).
I found a simple example in the Bain and Company 2012 Global Private Equity Report. They had a Marimekko chart that presented private equity investments in emerging markets. The main takeaway from the chart is that China, India and Brazil dominate the other emerging markets with respect to private equity investments. I decided to reproduce the data both as a 100% stacked bar and a Marimekko chart to highlight the added value of the Marimekko. The two charts are on the slide below:
Both charts show that the China, India and Brazil dominate the other emerging market countries with respect to private equity investments. The 100% stacked bar makes it easier to see that these three countries account for over 50% of the total investments. The Marimekko adds regional data to the picture. You can see the relative importance of the three key countries AND the relative importance of the four regions, with Emerging Asia accounting for over 60% of the total investment.
Since the Marimekko is a new chart for many of our users, I hope this example helps you figure out when you can use it. Here are the charts in SlideShare: