Jack Honomichl, Who Defined Market Research Industry, Dies at 85

Longtime Advertising Age Columnist Founded Inside Research, Honomichl 50

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Jack Honomichl, former Advertising Age columnist, founder of the trade journal Inside Research, and a man who literally defined the market-research industry as creator of its only top-company ranking, died Dec. 8 after a long illness. He was 85.

Jack Honomichl
Jack Honomichl Credit: Inside Research

Laurence Gold, Editor and Publisher of Inside Research, who bought the publication in 1993, said Mr. Honomichl helped define an industry that had been "shrouded in the fog of obscurity" when he first started compiling what would become the "Honomichl 50" listing of top U.S. research companies in 1973.

That came after he'd launched the industry's first trade journal, The Analyst, in 1969, and then soon after began writing the first of hundreds of The Research Beat columns for Advertising Age over 18 years.

The Honomichl 50, which began as a list of 10, at one point expanded to 100 in the 1980s, Mr. Gold said, and in 1986 spawned a global Honomichl 25 that also continues to this day. Mr. Honomichl kept a hand in the annual rankings until recently, writing an annual column that accompanied them. Asked whether the name would survive Mr. Honomichl, Mr. Gold said it's under consideration, adding "I don't see why not."

Mr. Honomichl, who also wrote a column for the American Marketing Association's Marketing News in the 1990s, had an interest in journalism and research from the start of his career after college at Northwestern and graduate school at the University of Chicago. He joined the Chicago Tribune in 1957, running a paper diary panel of Chicago respondents. He later worked on research panels for MRCA, Audits & Survey and Dun & Bradstreet before starting his own firm, Marketing Aid Center, in the late 1970s.

Mr. Honomichl was also author of several books on the research industry, including "Honomichl on Market Research" in 1978, "Marketing Research People: Their Behind-The-Scenes Stories" in 1984; and "The Market Research Industry: As the Old Order Crumbles, a New Version Takes Place" in 2003. In 2011 he was honored by the Council of American Survey Research Organizations with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

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