History

The Medill Spiegel Research Center continues the long tradition of incorporating mathematics, statistics and psychology to understand the principles of effective advertising at Northwestern. Professor Emeritus Ted Spiegel’s vision was to tie academic research more closely to the profession of marketing, which was his personal and professional heritage, to solve business problems.

1865
Joseph Spiegel Emigrates to Chicago
Spiegel Company Founder, Joseph Spiegel

Joseph Spiegel emigrates to Chicago and opens a retail turned mail-order business. Spiegel couples a customer’s product purchases with demographics and payment history, a revolutionary practice for a time long before digital customer analytics. These innovations give Spiegel a data-driven and customer-centric edge.

Spiegel's Furniture Shop Opens
Spiegel's furniture shop catalog cover from 1865

Spiegel's furniture shop opens in 1865 on Wabash Avenue in Chicago

Source: People Get the Credit; the First One Hundred Years of The Spiegel Story 1865-1965. Copyright 1954 by Spiegel, Inc.

1893
Modie Spiegel Takes Over as President
Modie J. Spiegel

Modie Spiegel takes over as president of the Spiegel Company and works at the company for 50 years.

Under Modie’s leadership, the Spiegel company pioneers customer-centric business tactics that allow it to become a cultural icon. Customers thank Modie for the role that the Spiegel business plays in their lives, sending pictures of their children wearing matching Spiegel outfits and themselves wearing Spiegel clothes on their wedding days.

Modie’s legacy includes sales of more than $6.6 billion in merchandise, orders from 3.5 million customers, and 200,000 jobs.

Source: People Get the Credit; the First One Hundred Years of The Spiegel Story 1865-1965. Copyright 1954 by Spiegel, Inc.

1957
Ted Spiegel Joins the Family Business
Ted with father M.J. Spiegel

Ted Spiegel, grandson of Joseph Spiegel and the namesake of the Medill Spiegel Research Center, joins the family business, Spiegel, Inc. He serves as vice president of marketing.

Source: People Get the Credit; the First One Hundred Years of The Spiegel Story 1865-1965. Copyright 1954 by Spiegel, Inc.

1988
Ted Spiegel Joins the Northwestern University Faculty
Ted Spiegel and student at graduation

Pulling on his experience in catalog marketing and business strategy to help a wide range of clients from Walt Disney to the Reader’s Digest to the Library of Congress, Ted establishes a direct marketing concentration (a first in the nation) at Northwestern and is instrumental in shaping the IMC curriculum during his 25-year Northwestern career.

"Ted Spiegel's enthusiasm for learning and teaching led to innovations that will influence not only the direction of IMC but larger parts of the University. He understood that new communications technologies were having an enormous impact on his field, and helped bring those technologies into the classroom."

- Brian Nielsen, Academic Technologies, Northwestern University

2011
The Spiegel Research Initiative Is Founded
Executive Director Tom Collinger and Ted Spiegel

The Spiegel Research Initiative is founded by a generous gift from Ted and his wife Audrey with support from corporations, alumni, and friends. The focus of the initiative is to do evidence-based, data driven analysis to prove the relationship between customer engagement and purchase behavior. Tom Collinger and Ed Malthouse take on the roles of Executive Director and Research Director respectively.

Spiegel also launches its initial advisory board composed of five members:

Jim Lecinski, former Vice President, U.S. Sales and Services at Google and currently a faculty member at Northwestern.

Jonathan Copulsky, former Chief Marketing Officer and Principal of Deloitte and currently a faculty member at Northwestern.

Karin Giffney, former vice president of marketing for T-Mobile and currently President of the Two12 Group.

Nick Beil, former CEO of Performics, the search marketing agency of VivaKi, and currently the COO of Narrative Science.

Paul Rand, founder and former CEO of Zocalo, and currently Vice President of Communications at University of Chicago.

2013
Ted Spiegel Passes Away
Ted Spiegel
Ted Spiegel passes away. As late as two weeks prior to his passing, Ted discusses research ideas with Executive Director Tom Collinger. Spiegel officially earns “research center” status. “Ted mentored many faculty members and students. Up until a few weeks ago, he was challenging the IMC faculty to improve teaching with the use of new technologies and teaching approaches. We will miss his vision for IMC education and research.” – Ed Malthouse, Research Director, Medill Spiegel Research Center Read Medill's tribute to Ted Spiegel
Research Studies and Presentations
Research director Ed Malthouse and our post-doctoral study student Su Jung Kim present their findings on online negative word-of-mouth at Social Media week in Chicago.
2015 2016
Audrey Spiegel Passes Away
Audrey M. Spiegel

Audrey Spiegel passes away. As a Northwestern alumna, and wife of Ted Spiegel, the Medill Spiegel Research Center honors her legacy.

"She was generous and glamorous, a radiant personality with a wonderful sense of humor."

Chicago Tribune

Consumer Engagement Engine Is Developed
Source: Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. 2017 copyright
The Medill Spiegel Research Center’s Consumer Engagement Engine is developed as a product of the extensive consumer-centric work of the center. Spiegel also conducts in-depth research into media consumption trends.
Research Studies and Presentations

Spiegel publishes an e-book and academic articles on multi-platform customer engagement and customer loyalty programs.

2017
E-Book Published Examining ROI of Branded Apps
Branded App ROI e-book
The Medill Spiegel Research Center publishes an e-book examining ROI of branded apps and another e-book on the power of customer reviews. Spiegel researches the value of paid versus owned media. Spiegel also publishes academic papers on these topics and presents key findings at academic conferences and conferences for marketing practitioners in partnership with sponsor companies.
Spiegel Partners With Graduate Research Fellows

Spiegel works with 10 Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) graduate students as student research fellows who present their research findings in partnership with Deloitte on the topic “Does content engagement drive positive business outcomes?” 

In addition to Spiegel graduate research fellows, the center partners with another five IMC graduate students on the Impact Marketing Team who create articles, social media content, and infographics, and five undergraduate students on the Spiegel Media team who create an animation and interactive graph on paid versus owned media.

2018
Medill Spiegel Research Center Publishes an E-Book on Retail Marketing
e-book on retail marketing
In 2018 the Medill Spiegel Research Center publishes an e-book on retail marketing examining the question of how retailers and mall operators can best engage customers. The center begins the Spiegel Spotlight interview series that highlights findings from the B2B marketing research in partnership with Deloitte and the creation of a “Customer Engagement Index.” The center publishes academic and marketing practitioner articles on B2B and retail marketing and presents these topics to both academics and practitioners.
Spiegel Begins Partnership with ShopRunner

The center begins a partnership with ShopRunner, an online ecommerce platform, and with the Medill Local News Initiative, “a two year research and development project intended to spur experimentation to new approaches to local news.” Spiegel conducts an analysis of 13 terabytes of data from the Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and Indianapolis Star that finds subscriber retention is closely linked with regular reader visits and consumption of local content.

2019
Northwestern University’s Medill Local News Initiative and Medill Spiegel Research Center Are Named Recipients of a Google Innovation Challenge Award
Google Headquarters

Northwestern University’s Medill Local News Initiative and its Medill Spiegel Research Center are named recipients of a Google Innovation Challenge award to create a Subscriber Engagement Index. Medill Local News Initiative Wins Google Innovation Award to Create Digital Reader Index - Medill - Northwestern University. The index will serve as a new tool to give local news organizations “timely, unique, actionable insights about the online behaviors of their digital subscribers,” says Medill Senior Associate Dean Tim Franklin, head of the Medill Local News Initiative. Work begins on the development of a prototype version of the index.

Photo courtesy of Shawn Collins (CC BY 2.0) (Flickr)

2020
Tom Collinger, Spiegel’s Founding Executive Director, Retires and Is Succeeded by Jonathan Copulsky
Jonathan Copulsky

Tom Collinger, Spiegel’s founding Executive Director, retires and is succeeded by Jonathan Copulsky, a Medill faculty member and a former CMO and Principal at Deloitte. The Center’s mission remains unchanged, but the logo is changed to reflect NU’s brand standards, the center’s name is shortened to the Medill Spiegel Research Center, and a new tagline is created to reflect the center’s focus on engagement -- “Engagement drives outcomes. We prove it. You use it.”

Work Continues With Local News Outlets

Work continues with local news outlets, including the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which had ended print delivery of its Monday-Saturday papers statewide throughout 2018 and 2019 and transitioned to a digital replica edition. All subscribers were provided a new iPad to access the replica edition, as well as one-on-one instruction, training and technical assistance. The Spiegel research, led by Research Director Ed Malthouse, and supported by IMC graduate students, examines how reader engagement and customer lifetime value grew as a result.

Collaboration continues between Spiegel and the Medill Local News Initiative

Collaboration continues between Spiegel and the Medill Local News Initiative, culminating in the delivery of a prototype of the Medill Subscriber Engagement Index. Work begins on the operational version of the index. Medill signs an agreement with McClatchy, which operates 30 local news organizations in several major markets in the U.S., to become the initial participant in the Index. Medill also signs an agreement with media services firm, Mather Economics, to work together on the index. As part of this agreement, Mather will supply data to the Medill Index from potentially hundreds of local news markets. The Mather agreement provides Medill with the ability to make the Subscriber Engagement Index a robust benchmarking tool that will be invaluable in helping local news outlets better understand their performance with digital subscribers and reader revenue.

2021
The Spiegel-LNI Collaboration Delivers an Operational Version of the Subscriber Engagement Index

The Spiegel-LNI collaboration delivers an operational version of the Subscriber Engagement Index, as specified by the Google grant. Mather and Medill conclude agreements to include about 150 local news markets in the Index. Those agreements include major companies like Tribune Publishing, Hearst, Advance Local and Lee Enterprises, as well as agreements with individual publishers, like the Philadelphia Inquirer, Dallas Morning News, Tampa Bay Times, Seattle Times, Newsday, Denver Post, Las Vegas Review Journal, Bangor Daily News, Cedar Rapids Gazette and many others.

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