By Douglas Ward
Charles Coolidge Parlin used to be thought of through many to be the founding father of industry study. operating for the dominant Curtis Publishing corporation, he revolutionized the through delivering extra price to advertisers via information regarding the racial, ethnic, and neighborhood biases of readers and shoppers. by means of protecting touch with either companies and clients, Parlin and Curtis courses have been in a position to flip client wishes into company gains. In a brand new model of commercial, Douglas Ward offers an fascinating company heritage that explains how and why Curtis built its industry study department. He unearths the evolution and effect of Parlin’s paintings, which understood how readers and advertisers within the rising patron financial system checked out magazines and ads. Ward additionally examines the cultural and social purposes for the advance and use of marketplace research—particularly in regard to Curtis’ readership of upper-income elites. the outcome weaves the tales of Parlin and Curtis into the adjustments occurring in American enterprise and advertisements within the early 20th century.
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Additional resources for A New Brand of Business: Charles Coolidge Parlin, Curtis Publishing Company, and the Origins of Market Research
As Parlin later described his early days at Curtis: “I had nobody to bother me, nobody wanted anything, nobody had any information. . ”10 That afternoon in July 1911, after Hazen’s visit to Boston, Latshaw helped Parlin get started by arranging a lunch appointment with Grant Wright, editor of the Eastern Dealer, an agricultural trade publication in Philadelphia. Parlin left town that night. 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.
27 A NEW ERA OF BUSINESS 29 Curtis lost thousands of subscribers after the new policies were put into place, but with those who remained he was able to claim a “quality,” or affluent, readership that subscribed on the merits of the magazine, not as part of a promotional gimmick. He also lost thousands of dollars in advertising revenue after he banned patent medicine ads, then cosmetics ads, then financial ads, and eventually cigarette ads. After doing so, though, he told Journal readers that he would be personally responsible for any loss they incurred by responding to the magazine’s advertisements.
Dana Durand, director of the Census Bureau, which had itself been made permanent only a decade before, but had become by the late nineteenth century the chief source of government data about business. Facts were easy to come by, Durand told Latshaw, but bald facts were of little use. 56 Latshaw spoke with several college and university professors about the research job at Curtis, but he rejected them all on grounds that they would be too likely to approach the work from behind a desk—“card shufflers,” he called them.
A New Brand of Business: Charles Coolidge Parlin, Curtis Publishing Company, and the Origins of Market Research by Douglas Ward