Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green Book Review

The greenest thing about a new book called Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green by Jay Conrad Levinson and Shel Horowitz (John Wiley & Sons, 2010) is the color of the cover.

There is one chapter mid-way through the book that is less than 20 pages long that explores green marketing. The remainder of the book is really just a repeat of some of Levinson's and Horowitz's other marketing books. There is nothing new in this book except a few added chapters on marketing with a social cause and using social media.

The authors do explain the fact this book is "based heavily on Shel's earlier book Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First." Unfortunately people who buy the book based on the title will be greenwashed by the promising title.

Both authors write good books. This book just does not live up to its title. The only green marketing tips that are useful are from a section called Turn Green into Gold and include the following tips on making green an organization-wide effort by:

• Green your operations.

• Green your marketing.

• Green your stakeholders.

The book was disappointing to say the least in its delivering of green marketing theories, ideals, practices and promises.


Kiwano said…
Hi Pat,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book. I was ready to buy it myself - I've written about this topic before, and it's definitely something I'm interested in - but then I saw your blog post... thanks!

It's frustrating that now everyone wants to use words such as "green", "sustainable" or "organic" everywhere, even if it's not related with the product they're selling (or trying to). It makes life difficult for consumers that are actually serious about pursuing a more sustainable lifestyle.

Good article - looking forward to more on this!
Pat, thank you for reviewing my new book, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green. With all due respect, I think you missed a lot of the Green content. Firstly, you do note the chapter (#13) on Marketing Green, which is of course completely focused on Green issues (of which being genuine rather than greenwashing is only one section out of eight sections in the chapter, by the way), Then there's the rest of Chapter 19 (past the recap of principles)--which looks at deep sustainability, based on the work of people like Amory Lovins and John Todd, and this work is placed squarely in a business context with applicability to many types of companies. There are profiles throughout the book of companies and organizations focused on Green, sustainable, and/or local-economy models—and Green examples interwoven through large chunks of the book. I actually counted 12 chapters (out of 19) that have significant content in these areas: chapters 2, 3, 6, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19. Four of those chapters (13, 17, 18, and 19) are really dominated by the environmental theme.

Much of the rest of the book deals with either creating the ethical underpinning that's necessary to do Green that isn't greenwash, or the practical hands-on tools necessary to carry out these strategies. It's not enough to go Green; you also have to understand how to share that message with the world.

As for the issue of notification...The majority of people who bought my earlier book, Principled Profit, bought it through me. This was a self-published book with a small print run. I have been very clear with my own lists (as well as my social media presence) for months in advance of publication that this new book was coming, and that it would replace the old one. The book also contained numerous points of contact, so anyone who wished to let me into their circle of influence had ample ways to do so, and thus would have been notified. While I have no way to reach buyers who bought through other channels, I did make my best effort to let people know. There's also significant new content in this book that was not in the old one, including a number of whole sections. And the older chapters have been updated, expanded, revised, etc.

In short, I would submit that Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green more than fulfills the promise it makes in the title, subtitle, and back cover, and that it would still be useful even to those who bought the earlier book.

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