Spiegel research center achieves 'center' status


The Spiegel Digital & Database Research Center will celebrate its new role as Medill's first research center at the end of the month. Spiegel Center researchers will present their newest findings linking mobile engagement to purchase behavior on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 2 p.m. in the McCormick Tribune Forum. The presentation will be followed by a reception. The event is free and open to the public.

The project was founded in 2011 with an endowment gift from Professor Emeritus Ted Spiegel as the Spiegel Digital & Database Research Initiative. Ted Spiegel passed away in May 2013, and with his wife Audrey’s participation, left an estate gift to the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications to endow the center.

The Spiegel project was created to closely tie academic research to the industry, and is reliant on participation of company sponsors willing to share data and support in market experiments. Spiegel was a recognized expert in direct marketing and helped launch Medill's graduate degree in that area. He was founder and president of Spiegel Marketing and got his start in his family's now-famous Spiegel Catalog business.

“The focus of the center is to do evidence-based, data-driven analysis to prove the relationship between customer engagement and purchase behavior," said Tom Collinger, executive director of the Spiegel the Digital & Database Research Center. The center's advisory board, which is comprised of marketing professionals, has assisted in selecting research topics. Past research has investigated the role of social media contests in driving purchase behavior and the role of online negative word-of-mouth in influencing purchase behavior.

"Ted wanted to change how academic research was done and his approach was to have a close collaboration with industry," said Ed Malthouse, the Center's Research Director and the Theodore R. and Annie Laurie Sills Professor of Integrated Marketing Communications. "His approach was to put research into practice and test it."

The Spiegel Research Center has partnered with corporate sponsors such as Loyalty One, Peapod, the Coca-Cola Company, ConAgra Foods, Inc., Reckitt Benckiser and Colony Brands, Inc. for research projects.