Lecturer and senior research scholar of the school of business Paul Scipione ‘68 recently completed his latest book, A Nation of Numbers: The Development of Marketing Research in America. Its expected hardcover release will be in late 2014, and its softcover release date is due in early spring 2015. As the first of its kind, Nation of Numbers tells the history of marketing research in the United States. According to Scipione, it also tells “the definitive history of the market research business from day one.”
Scipione graduated from Geneseo in 1968, was drafted into the Vietnam War and returned to the United States to complete his masters degree and PhD at the University of Buffalo and Rutgers University, respectively.
Scipione described the history of marketing research as a “unique American movie.” Scipione stated that he drew inspiration for his book through the influences of statistician George Gallup and his own mentor, co-founder of the Response Analysis Corporation Herb Abelson. Nation of Numbers is almost a biography of all the pioneers in the different fields in market research, with Gallup being the head honcho. Researchers in the field used Gallup’s name as a verb––you have ‘Galluped’ the population’s opinion.
“I’ve always been fascinated about the history of companies and industry,” Scipione said.
Scipione’s interest in the field of market research stems from when he graduated from Rutgers University with his PhD and received a call from Raymond Rubicam to be the very first research director at his ad agency. According to Scipione, Princeton University is now the market research capitol of the world. He worked for the Response Analysis Corporation with Abelson as his mentor. He then became the vice president and copy research director for the U.S. offices in the late 1970s.
“It is important to know the roots of the field to understand what we’re doing now,” Scipione said.
At Geneseo, Scipione is working on his next four novels which he has mapped out. In the summer of 2013, a company from St. Paul, Minnesota opened up a publishing company called Quirks and asked Scipione to use Nation of Numbers as its pioneer book.
Most of the research for the book comes from Scipione’s own research from the Advertising Research Foundation, American Marketing Association, Council of American Survey Research Organization, AAPOR libraries and even Gallup’s personal papers and files. Scipione also gathered research for his book by taking notes at his meetings with Gallup himself.
“We both had Volkswagens and we met in the Princeton waiting room,” Scipione said. “He had a little Beetle and my wife and I had a Dasher, special wagon. I went over and introduced myself and we were still talking once our cars were done and he invited me to lunch. We had lunch four, five times in the years after that.”
Quirks is publishing a website for Nation of Numbers in the coming months where Scipione would like to post supplements to the book. Since there wasn’t enough room in the book for all of the information, Scipione plans to upload the additional information to the website.