The Player: McLaughlin looks to put punch back into integration

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Mark McLaughlin learned the importance of integrated marketing a decade ago as media director on George Bush Sr.'s re-election campaign. "That experience really opened my eyes to the critical need for the complete integration of the communications strategy. ... Data plays [a key role] in helping evolve your strategy on an ongoing basis," he said.

Managing the marketing of consumer and business brands requires many of the same analytics a key election does, and a smart strategy means pooling all the data at your disposal to determine which media levers to push. Mr. McLaughlin, the 44-year-old president of FCBi, the direct and digital marketing arm of Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, New York, plans to advocate those techniques in his newly created position.

Mr. McLaughlin comes to FCBi from Havas' Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners, where he was managing director, and will lead the agency's efforts to embrace what he refers to as "unbiased marketing strategies." He will evangelize the relationship between direct and online marketing to clients that are increasingly recognizing the need to link sales and marketing more tightly.

Mr. McLaughlin also wants to put the heft back into integration, which he said is a powerful idea that links acquisition and loyalty marketing but has been "beaten to death."

"Executing on [integration] every day is really a big challenge," he said.

While at Euro RSCG, Mr. McLaughlin worked on behalf of clients that include Volvo North America and Intel Corp. During that time, he guided Volvo's launch of the S-60 sedan on AOL Time Warner's America Online with no traditional broadcast media. The effort led to a successful online customer relationship program.

"Mark is just a very enthusiastic and innovative thinker," said Ann Lewnes, VP-Intel Inside and co-marketing, and Mr. McLaughlin's former client at Intel Corp. "When he worked on our business, he was always kind of pushing the envelope."

Mr. McLaughlin grew up in the media business at D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in the `80s working as a group media director on some 20 Procter & Gamble Co. brands.

tough lesson

In 1992, Martin Puris, former principal of the now-defunct Ammirati Puris Lintas, lured him away to work on the Bush re-election campaign.

"The emotions are more like competing in the Super Bowl, because losing is just an emotionally crushing thing," said Mr. McLaughlin.

He's not sorry for the experience, but now, as a father of three, he's content to live vicariously through NBC's "The West Wing."

Prior to Euro RSCG, he dabbled in digital media for two years as a founding member of Unicast, the inventor of the Superstitial online ad format. "I realized that one way or another, the Internet was going to be critical."

Fast Facts

Name: Mark McLaughlin

Age: 44

Now: President, Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide's FCBi

Challenge: Trying to keep "integration" from dissolving into a cliche.

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