Market research is inextricably intertwined with consumer culture. From its origins in the early twentieth century, the primary task of the market research industry has been to provide information and insights on consumers to client organizations. Indeed, market researchers argued that they played a key linking role between the consumer and the supplier. For example, Colin McDonald and Stephen King claimed that market research contributed to democracy through consumer enfranchisement. C. H. Wells (1999, 4), in his history of market research in the United States, concluded that “market researchers not only changed American business but also American culture.” Through their research studies, the pioneers of market research promoted a new view of society, one that defined people by their buying power and ability to consume ...

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