By Douglas Ward

Charles Coolidge Parlin used to be thought of by means of many to be the founding father of industry examine. operating for the dominant Curtis Publishing corporation, he revolutionized the by way of delivering extra worth to advertisers via information regarding the racial, ethnic, and neighborhood biases of readers and shoppers. by means of retaining touch with either companies and buyers, Parlin and Curtis courses have been capable of flip patron desires into company gains.     In a brand new model of commercial, Douglas Ward presents an fascinating company historical past that explains how and why Curtis constructed its marketplace examine department. He unearths the evolution and impression of Parlin’s paintings, which understood how readers and advertisers within the rising buyer economic system checked out magazines and ads. Ward additionally examines the cultural and social purposes for the improvement and use of marketplace research—particularly in regard to Curtis’ readership of upper-income elites. the end result weaves the tales of Parlin and Curtis into the adjustments occurring in American company and ads within the early 20th century.

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Extra info for A New Brand of Business: Charles Coolidge Parlin, Curtis Publishing Company, and the Origins of Market Research

Sample text

As he stared into the darkness through the window of the southbound train, he later recalled, he felt like Sammy Weller, a young lad in one of his favorite books, Charles Dickens’s Pickwick Papers. Sammy’s father AN UNLIKELY LEADER 45 had thrown his son into the streets of London so that he would learn to take care of himself. That, Mr. Weller thought, was the best training available. Parlin took comfort in that thought. He did not know how to approach the task before him, but then neither did anyone else.

Freeman of the Nichols-Finn Advertising Company of Chicago said that the word agency had become outdated. Agents were really students of commerce, of economics, of distribution, and of trade conditions, and they knew the ins and outs of the business world, Freeman wrote. ” but “How can you help me to market my proposition to better advantage? What do you know about my market and the people I am trying to reach? Are you equipped to say how much money it would take to do a certain thing in an advertising direction?

No clashing of interests. 38 Some agents did not buy that, and they worried that Curtis was trying to muscle in and save the money that went toward their commissions—usually 10 percent of the advertising bill. Those doubts grew during the summer of 1913, when Curtis broke from established standards and unilaterally changed its policy toward agencies. 40 Advertising was blamed for, among other things, increasing the cost of living, discouraging competition, and forcing stores to carry brand-name goods that often had lower profit margins.

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