Publications and speeches

Of the best-selling book he co-authored, “Integrated Marketing Communication: Pulling It Together And Making It Work” (NTC,1993), Robert Lauterborn says:

Nearly twenty years ago when Don Schultz and I and the late Stan Tannenbaum wrote the seminal IMC book, we had a vision of a seamless dialogue among marketer companies and all their “stakeholders” (to use a term most familiar to our PR colleagues). “Impatient” is the best way to describe how I feel about progress toward that goal to date. On the one hand, the words “Integrated Marketing Communications” are now common currency on both sides of the aisle. Virtually everybody talks about IMC; many agencies have even changed their names to include some reference to the concept. My dissatisfaction comes from observing how that plays out in practice, where too often advertising is still the Pavlovian first thought and IMC only means all other.” True strategy-based, media-neutral thinking still seems to me to be the exception rather than the rule. (For more on this subject, see Is It Time to Blow Away IMC? Introducing ICBM.) The missing link in the original IMC book (and the first new element I added when I started to write my next book, “IMC 2.0,” which I hope to finish by the end of 2010) is an implementation tool called the Behavioral TimeLine®. That’s the signature planning instrument from the IMC seminars and workshops I’ve been doing around the world. Meanwhile, relative to my frustration that the true vision has yet to be completely realized, my former GE colleague Al Ries (co-author with Jack Trout of the original book on positioning) says I am in too much of a hurry; he says that it takes at least ten years for a new idea to be understood and longer for it to be fully implemented. I hope so. I suppose I should just be happy that the original IMC book has been translated into 13 languages and that it’s sold more than 50,000 copies worldwide. Maybe I am too impatient!

Of his latest book, “Print Matters: How to Write Great Advertising” (Racom, 2008), he enthuses:

This was truly a labor of love (some of you may remember the Kelly Award-winning Power of the Printed Word campaign we did for International Paper), and it came about in a most unlikely way. My co-author, a professor at Susquehanna University named Randy Hines, interned at the Virgin Islands Daily News in St. Thomas, VI while our younger son and his wife were copy editors there. The two couples hit it off and remained friends when both returned to the mainland. At some point, Randy expressed frustration with the lack of a good book on how to write print advertising and expressed a desire to do one himself, if he could find a co-author. Dave said, “Why don’t you talk to my father?” He did, and we did, and here’s my introduction to the book:

Why Print Matters
Print is the purest form of advertising – an idea given power visually and crafted to move people with words. If you don’t have an idea, it shows. If you can’t write, people know. You can’t hide emptiness behind a mesmerizing glare of glitzy TV production or trade on the familiar voice of a spokesperson to make a connection for you. It’s just you and the reader. Print is the acid test for advertising as well as for advertising people.

Why Print Works
An instructive interactive game we play with students is to get them talking about current television commercials they love. Often they are able to describe their favorites virtually scene-by-scene, fairly accurately repeat the dialogue, and even hum the music. The catch comes when they are asked to identify the advertiser. Horrifyingly (if you paid for this commercial), they sometimes can’t even name the category. More often, they ascribe the work to the wrong company or brand, usually the category leader. We’re not talking about rare exceptions here. Year after year, class after class, this is the rule. The ploy never fails. Occasionally, a commercial breaks through and bonds the brand to the work (Volkswagen’s distinctive “curve” commercials, for example, or anything Apple does, including its iPhone), but the average television commercial is not only considered by some a waste of money, it produces a negative return on investment for brands that are not the leaders in their categories. Doubt it? Try this test yourself with any random group of people who aren’t in marketing or advertising.What fascinates us is that this is not true for most print advertising. People almost always recall the advertised brand accurately when they describe print ads they like. Why is this so? One reason is that people experience print differently from how they experience television.People “watch” television while multi-tasking. Although much has been written lately about multi-tasking media activities, the topic is not a new one. Researchers like Herb Krugman demonstrated decades ago that the number-one activity of people allegedly watching television is reading. Number two is talking to someone, either in person or increasingly on their ubiquitous cell phones. Today’s researchers found that the Internet plays a big role while the TV is on. Television does not require us to pay attention. So we don’t. In a desperate attempt to alter this unalterable truth, advertisers seek to entertain. Is it any wonder that it is the entertainment, not the sponsor, that is remembered? Another growing problem about television advertising is how digital video recorders allow viewers to skip right past commercials in previously recorded programs. TiVo and other technology toys, according to Nielsen Media Research, were in 17 percent of U.S. homes by mid-2007. In fact, Nielsen now wants to gauge viewership of commercials, instead of the programs, to create more realistic ratings for advertisers. The new issue of commercial ratings even delayed the upfront buying season for the fall 2007 network programs.In contrast, print requires our attention. If you lose your concentration when you’re reading and your mind wanders, what do you do? Why, you read the sentence or paragraph or page over again – too often more than once. A woman named Evelyn Wood built a speed-reading franchise on this simple truth. Her instructors don’t teach you to read faster; they teach you to concentrate better so you don’t have to reread. That’s why Evelyn Wood graduates not only seem to read faster, they also remember better. People process print differently, too. An Israeli researcher demonstrated this with an often-cited experiment. He exposed a group of young people to a simple story, half of them in a video mode, the other half in print. Tested at similar intervals – two days, two weeks, two months or whatever – the subjects revealed fascinating differences not so much in their ability to recall the basic story, but in the connections they had made with the material. Their relative ability to repeat the plot line differed only slightly, but when asked questions such as, “What do you suppose Rachel’s life was like before this story began?” and “What do you think is going to happen next?” the TV kids went “Huh?” The print kids, however, had developed entire scenarios that combined material already in their heads with the story they had read. “I think Rachel grew up in the city, in a house near the harbor,” said one. “Rachel and Ben are going to get married and have three children, two boys and a girl,” said another. What does this tell us? That what we read goes into a different part of the brain from what we merely watch. Readers are active participants in the communication process, while TV viewers are passive. “Reading is Fundamental,” says a venerable literacy program. And so it is. Therefore, the fundamentals of writing advertising to be read are also critical. That’s what this book is about. How to not only attract a reader, but how to involve him or her in the world of the brand. How to not only know what to say, based on what the reader needs to hear, but how to say it with such professional craftsmanship that your print advertising message penetrates the reader’s mind, creates action and builds lasting bonds.

Here’s what the book looks like: pm-image.doc
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Selected Articles

Over the years, Professor Lauterborn has lectured and presented to companies and organizations all over the world, and his writings have appeared in dozens of publications. Below you will find a selection of his print articles on integrated marketing communication, advertising and education, sales and marketing, and other related subjects. (For audio and video interviews and presentations, click on the “Library” heading on the sidebar to the left of his photo at the top of this page.)