By Douglas Ward
Charles Coolidge Parlin used to be thought of via many to be the founding father of marketplace learn. operating for the dominant Curtis Publishing corporation, he revolutionized the through offering extra price to advertisers via information regarding the racial, ethnic, and neighborhood biases of readers and shoppers. by means of preserving touch with either companies and clients, Parlin and Curtis courses have been in a position to flip shopper wishes into company earnings. In a brand new model of industrial, Douglas Ward offers an fascinating company historical past that explains how and why Curtis constructed its industry study department. He finds the evolution and impression of Parlin’s paintings, which understood how readers and advertisers within the rising purchaser economic system checked out magazines and ads. Ward additionally examines the cultural and social purposes for the advance and use of industry research—particularly in regard to Curtis’ readership of upper-income elites. the end result weaves the tales of Parlin and Curtis into the alterations happening in American company and ads within the early 20th century.
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Extra resources for A New Brand of Business: Charles Coolidge Parlin, Curtis Publishing Company, and the Origins of Market Research
Gaining that understanding became the primary goal of the new Division of Commercial Research the company opened in 1911. Edward Bok might have had the rare ability to read Journal subscribers’ letters like tea leaves, Post editor George Horace Lorimer might have had a keen intuition in assembling editorial material, and Cyrus Curtis himself might have had the ability to spot both talent and commercial possibilities. The company’s advertising representatives said they needed something more tangible to work with, though, especially if this ongoing expansion was to succeed.
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.
A NEW ERA OF BUSINESS 33 The ploy worked. Stewart & Clark signed a contract for two pages of advertising space in the Post each month and was eventually forced to buy Warner, once a weak and declining competitor, for $2 million. Advertising for automobiles and accessories in the Post continued to escalate, swelling the size of the magazine and making the Post the publication for marketing automobiles. By 1914, the Post carried 68 percent of all automobile advertising in the more than thirty competing magazines that Curtis tracked, and by 1923, it carried 83 percent of the more than $17 million that automakers spent on advertising in weekly magazines.