Thirty-four Years and 13 Editions Later, Marketing Professors Continue with Their “Labor of Love”

February 23, 2024

George Belch (left) and Michael Belch sit next to all 13 editions of their textbookOpen the image full screen.
George Belch (left) and Michael Belch sit next to all 13 editions of their textbook
In the late 1980s, Marketing professors and brothers, George and Michael Belch, found themselves at a crossroads. Both were teaching marketing communications courses at the Fowler College of Business at San Diego State University and were dissatisfied with the available textbooks for their classes. So, they decided to write their own.

The first edition of their book, “Introduction to Advertising and Promotion Management,” was released in 1990. Unlike many textbooks of that era, the book examined how companies were transitioning from using traditional advertising to reach consumers through mass media to an integrated marketing communications (IMC) strategy that included the strategic integration of their promotional tools such as sales promotions, direct marketing, and public relations.

More than three decades later, IMC is still at the forefront of corporate communications, and the brothers are still teaching at SDSU and sharing their research findings and practical applications of IMC.  In 2024, the thirteenth edition of their textbook, now titled “Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective” was published. 

“After writing the first edition of the book, the number of marketing communication tools available to marketers was evolving more rapidly than ever. We realized that we needed to cover all of the research and developments impacting IMC with each subsequent edition,” said George Belch. “Keeping abreast of all of the changes that have resulted from the digital revolution such as the growth of the Internet, social media and mobile marketing and their impact on IMC has been very challenging but necessary. We’ve been refining and updating the book extensively with every edition.” 

Not counting the times the book has been re-sold as a used textbook, the professors estimate that all new editions have sold anywhere from 500,000 to 600,000 copies. “It’s probably fair to estimate that nearly 1 million students have used the book around the world,” said George Belch. “It has been translated into several languages including Spanish, German, and Chinese and international editions have been written for numerous countries.” 

“There is probably no other business discipline that has evolved so quickly in the past three decades as IMC and each new edition of the book requires significant revisions,” Belch continued. “But the intense amount of effort, time and research that goes into each new edition has been a major reason for its success and, in many ways, is a labor of love.”

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