Robert J. Lavidge, Pioneer in Marketing Research, Dies at 94

Matt Weingarden
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Robert Lavidge
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The American Marketing Association honors the life and contributions of Robert J. Lavidge.​​​

​Robert James "Bob" Lavidge, one of the nation's leading marketing researchers and co-creater of the Lavidge-Steiner model​ for interpreting the impact of advertising on customer decision-making, died at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona on December 15, 2016. 

Throughout his distinguished ​career, Lavidge held fast to the belief that marketing had the power to improve the world and the lives of individuals across every society. 

Born in 1921, Bob was raised in the city of Chicago. After attending DePauw University, he served in the US Navy during World War II. He returned to the US and received his MBA from the University of Chicago where he had excelled in data analysis. Following short marketing research roles at Leiber Brothers and the American Meat Institute, Lavidge co-founded Elrick and Lavidge with Bob Elrick in 1951. The marketing research and consulting group would become a leading firm in North America. In 1978 they sold the firm to Equifax and Bob officially retired six years later.

While a student at the University of Chicago, Lavidge was heavily influenced by Professor George H. Brown, who was one of the early leaders of the American Marketing Association. Lavidge joined the AMA in 1947 and remained an active member until his death. His service included terms as president of the Chicago AMA Chapter, Vice-President of Marketing Research, and President of the AMA Board of Directors. Key initiatives started under his leadership included the launch of the Journal of Marketing Research and the establishment of the AMA Doctoral Consortium (renamed the AMA-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium in 1997). 

In retirement, Lavidge worked with many former and current AMA leaders to launch the AMA Foundation. He would serve as the Foundation's first chair. Bob viewed the role of the AMA as helping marketers become more effective in their work and ultimately helping their employers grow. His personal vision for the foundation was to create a space for marketers to make a difference in the world. 

At the end of his service on the AMA Foundation board, the Robert J. Lavidge Global Marketing Research Prize was established in to honor his legacy and to celebrate marketers  who have devised and successfully implemented research/insight procedures that has practical implications for use by others. He was honored with the Charles Coolidge Parlin Marketing Research Award​ and the Naples Award of the Advertising Research Foundation.

Bob found immense joy in his family. He was married to Margaret for 60 years until she passed away trom Alzheimer's disease in 2006. In 2009 he married Virginia "Ginny" Lowery and the two shared seven happy years together. In addition to Ginny, he is survived by brother Arthur, children Margaret/Twinkle Gosselink (Paul), Kathleen Lavidge (Ed McKinley), Lynn Rovelstad (Todd), and Bill Lavdige (Julie) as well as seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A Memorial Service is scheduled for December 23, 2016 at 2 p.m. at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church at 25150 N. Pima Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85255. 

See also, Robert J. Lavidge Obituary, Arizona Republic​

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Matt Weingarden
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