Professional Marketing as “Consumer Engineering”? A Concept in Transatlantic Perspective
This chapter traces the history of consumer engineering as part of an overall drive toward “scientific” marketing. Measuring consumer markets and studying consumer motivations became increasingly important to U.S. corporations from the interwar years. Logemann shows the rise of corporate market research departments and new professional consultancies. The promise of “scientific” planning in marketing, however, was no American peculiarity. The case of German-American market researcher Alfred Politz demonstrates the importance of transatlantic exchanges and methodological transfers in consumer research at mid-century. As transatlantic consumer engineers, European émigrés such as Politz and the Austrian-born motivation researcher Ernest Dichter played a crucial role in translating modern marketing approaches between the United States and Western Europe.