How a dominant magazine publisher developed the business of market research
A New Brand of Business
Charles Coolidge Parlin, Curtis Publishing Company, and the Origins of Market Research
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Douglas B. Ward
Charles Coolidge Parlin was considered by many to be the founder of market research. Working for the dominant Curtis Publishing Company, he revolutionized the industry by providing added value to advertisers through information about the racial, ethnic, and regional biases of readers and consumers. By maintaining contact with both businesses and customers, Parlin and Curtis publications were able to turn consumer wants into corporate profits.
In A New Brand of Business, Douglas Ward provides an intriguing business history that explains how and why Curtis developed its market research division. He reveals the evolution and impact of Parlin’s work, which understood how readers and advertisers in the emerging consumer economy looked at magazines and advertisements. Ward also examines the cultural and social reasons for the development and use of market researchparticularly in regard to Curtis' readership of upper-income elites. The result weaves the stories of Parlin and Curtis into the changes taking place in American business and advertising in the early twentieth century.
"A New Brand of Business provides a fascinating look into the early development of marketing research at a key moment in the development of consumer capitalism. Ward's historical research is rigorous and his focus is important and engaging."
"Parlin's work at the Curtis Publishing Company and his impact on the marketing and advertising industry (e.g., his development of readership and circulation surveys) are detailed in this well-researched and documented work.... Thus, this well-written volume will appeal to a broader readership than would be typical of a scholarly business history. Summing Up: Recommended"
"Ward does an admirable job taking the reader on a journey through the early development stages of organized scientific marketing research...The book offers the reader the benefit of War's engaging interpretation and focus of his research combined with his rigorous attention to detail... A New Brand of Business is a must read for anyone who would like to have a better grasp of how modern marketing research developed within the chaos and uncertainty of an emerging consumer leviathan."
"[A]n important addition to marketing history. It illuminates the development of market research--not marketing research, an important distinction--and provides a solid model for development of historical research in marketing.... This is an important book worthy of serious attention by scholars and students for understanding the development of important marketing practices. It serves as a positive model for teaching historical research in marketing. There are no reservations in recommending this book and it should be part of every course in marketing history."
"Exhaustively researched... Beautifully written and accessible to a broad audience, Ward’s analysis of [Charles Coolidge] Parlin’s career trajectory at Curtis Publishing and the long-term importance of his market research work is both penetrating and comprehensive."