Beyond the Mad Men: Consumer Engineering and the Rise of Marketing Management, 1920s–1970s
The introduction to this volume discusses consumer engineering as a professionalizing approach to marketing since the interwar years. A broad array of experts, including market researchers, commercial designers, and sales managers contributed to the rise of new systematic and creative forms of consumer-oriented marketing. As a social technology, marketing now aimed not only to understand consumers and analyze their needs but also sought to shape their desires. The authors call for a transnational marketing history that looks beyond the study of advertising and enquires into underlying notions of consumers and markets, their practical application, and the design of consumer goods and spaces. Going beyond the paradigm of “Americanization,” the volume explores mid-century marketing as a form of social engineering across the Atlantic World.