Message from BMA Atlanta’s March Speaker, Robert Lauterborn

February 22, 2017 By
By Feb 22, 2017Blog


We’re pleased to announce Robert Lauterborn, co-author of best-selling book, “Integrated Marketing Communication: Pulling It Together And Making It Work” (NTC, 1993), as the guest speaker for our March 23rd event. The event discussion will focus on why Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) is more relevant today than ever.

Click here to save your spot to join us March 23 at McCormick & Schmidt for Professor Lauterborn’s presentation!

Message to Atlanta from March guest speaker, Robert Lauterborn:

When Don Schultz, Stan Tannenbaum and I wrote the first book on Integrated Marketing Communications nearly 25 years ago, there were a lot of impediments that made it difficult for our vision to become reality.   Agencies were organized to think advertising first.  Marketing and communication functions in companies were fragmented.  Research was more about data than insight.  And the ability (much less the willingness) to coordinate marketing communication in a comprehensive way didn’t exist yet.

Ten years later, the book had sold more than 50,000 copies, IMC had entered the language and agencies were at least paying lip service to the concept, account planning had some into being to deepen customer understanding, and the Internet led by the development of social media was beginning to provide unimagined potential for access.

But in my mind, integrated marketing communication had failed, or at least people’s understanding of the idea had fallen far short of where we had hoped.

For example, within a couple of years of publication, Fallon McElligott, then a shooting star of a creative agency based in Minneapolis, appointed a Senior Vice President of Integrated Marketing Communication.   I called him up and found out that his job title should actually have been vice president of “all other.”   Everything EXCEPT advertising.   Not integrated at all.   What a disappointment.   Major agencies had set up IMC groups.  Same story.   Barely integrated, if at all.

Oh, sure there had been a few nice campaigns that LOOKED integrated, but in reality it was all on the surface.   Business as usual was the order of the day.

Their excuse was that clients didn’t think that way, so how could they?   Hmmm.   There’s the key word: thinking.

What we thought we’d been advocating was a strategic thinking process.   How people had implemented their versions of IMC was tactically.

I wrote a piece at the time for Ad Age that said “Maybe it’s time to blow away IMC.  Introducing ICBM: Integrated Customer Behavior Management, which is what we had had in mind in the first place.   When he read the article, Al Ries, an adopted Atlantan, calle me up and said, “Bob, you’re too impatient.   It takes a quarter of a century for people to get an idea like that.”   At that time, his and Jack Trout’s breakthrough concept of Positioning, was just approaching that mark and he said that many people were only just then beginning to get it.

Well, IMC is just about hitting that quarter-century mark, but I don’t think that a lot of people have got it even yet, at least not in the way we intended for it to be understood.

So I’m delighted to have this opportunity to take you “back to basics” and try again to see if I can help you to change the way at least a few of your organizations think.