Mimi Lieber, pioneering study on consumer research, dies at 93

Ms. Lieber died Monday in Bergen, N.J., after a long bout with cancer. She was 93. Ms. Lieber oversaw consumer research for Merck in the 1930s and ’40s as marketing research gained importance across…

Mimi Lieber, pioneering study on consumer research, dies at 93

Ms. Lieber died Monday in Bergen, N.J., after a long bout with cancer. She was 93.

Ms. Lieber oversaw consumer research for Merck in the 1930s and ’40s as marketing research gained importance across the country. She started her career on the market research side of the business in Philadelphia, where she established Merck’s first consumer research department. But a decade later, she left to become the director of consumer relations at SmithKline Beecham, the pharmaceutical giant.

Her experience led her to the relatively obscure Bureau of Consumer Research in New York’s Federal Building, where she conducted dozens of “firsts,” among them the first report that tracked television viewing and the first analysis of “e-mail campaigns.”

Working out of the Federal Building, Ms. Lieber’s vision for marketing, in which human contact was not discarded as a cheap form of research, became one of the key ideas and building blocks of the burgeoning field. Her focus on the active source rather than passive screen emerged decades before the concept of “experiential marketing” took hold.

“There was never a better coach than Mimi to bring the research she pioneered to Merck and SmithKline’s management and executives,” Chris Roberts, a research expert, wrote in a New York Times obituary of Ms. Lieber.

Mimi Levin Lieber, a key figure in the development of consumer research as it pertained to consumer marketing, has died at age 93.

Margaret Levin Lieber, 92

Knoxville, Tenn.

Merck Products, Inc.

1927-2017

Married, she had one son, Jonathan, from her first marriage.

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