UK research pioneer Harry Henry, the last survivor of the 23 founders of the Market Research Society (MRS), has died aged 92 after a stroke.
Henry’s many achievements include the launch of Marplan, the establishment of the forerunners of the National Readership Surveys, running the first UK Yellow Pages company and driving the increased influence and recognition of the marketing function in British newspapers. He served for forty years as Chairman of the Advertising Statistics Committee of the Advertising Association.
In 1938 he went to work in a newly conceived market research function for ad agency Colman Prentis & Varley, to which he returned after the war in 1946, the year when along with 22 others he founded the UK’s Market Research Society. He resumed as the agency’s Market Research Manager and then became Director and General Manager of a new subsidiary company he formed, Market Information Services Ltd. His achievements in this period include the planning and conduct of the Hulton Readership Surveys from 1947 to 1953, prototypes for the later National Readership Surveys.
In 1954 he joined McCann-Erickson Advertising as Director of Research, building up a large and well-integrated research function. Five years later he launched a subsidiary company, Marplan Ltd.
Two years after this, Henry moved to the Board of The Thomson Organisation Ltd, publisher of the Sunday Times and many regional newspapers, as Director of Marketing, later combined with the role of Deputy MD. In 1965 he won the contract from Post Office Telecommunications for the UK’s first 'yellow pages' telephone directories, and became the first Chairman of Thomson Yellow Pages Ltd.
He is credited with being the first person to use a computer to analyse market research data, in 1959.
In 1983 along with Mike Waterson he set up a quarterly Food & Drink Forecast, out of which grew major information supplier NTC Research Ltd and ad and media journals including Admap, as well as the World Advertising Research Center.
Henry received the MRS Gold Medal in 1988, and the Advertising Association's Mackintosh Medal in 2004. He wrote and lectured extensively in a number of countries, published books on Patterns of British Life (1948), and The Rural Market (1950), Behind the Headlines: Readings in the Economics of the Press (1978) and The Dynamics of the British Press, 1961 to 1984 (1986).
He married Mary Anstey, in 1938: she died in 1989.