She corrected me immediately. I said that the word “Green” was losing its voracity in green marketing. Jacquelyn Ottman, author of the new book, “The New Rules of Green Marketing,” sat squarely across from me in a small booth in a deli on the upper east side of Manhattan. She looked up and said, “What do you mean? Green marketing is finally coming into its own.”
I suppose she ought to know. Jacquie, principal in J. Ottman Consulting, wrote her first of four books on green marketing in 1991. Like a witness now being cross examined by a polished pro, I forged on in the defense of my position. I pointed to how trite and trivial so many marketers have become as they half-heartedly promote their “Green” brands, and how their incompetence, and misdirected and ill-advised use of green marketing terms dilutes the entire movement. I had a lot of coffee in me that sunny St. Patty’s Day morning.
“That is precisely why I wrote the book,” she, with the calming affect of a tenured professor, said.
“The New Rules of Green Marketing” is a hybrid of text book and professional journal. I did not read it cover-to-cover on my flight out to NYC. It is the kind of book that you pick through, dog-ear, highlight and scribble in. It overflows with insightful marketing, smart case studies, and lists of references, resources and “do’s and don’ts” for successful green marketers. It now adds another pound or two to my briefcase, even when I try to shoo it away. When it appears again on my office desk or in my home den, I find myself indiscriminately opening it and learning in 5-minute chunks.
When my third cup of coffee arrived, she volunteered to sign my copy. I had to apologize for already having written all through it. I think she was glad to see the industriousness of this reader mirroring her utilitarian approach to sustainability.
Jacquie is a very wise, friendly and thoughtful marketer. Admittedly, I can get bogged down and ornery about the inane use of the advertising industry in general, and especially the short-sightedness often found in green marketers. But not Jacquie. She has one optimistic goal: “To skew the market to greener goods.” Her book is built on three themes:
- Product lifecycle orientation
- Responsible consumerism
- Consumer empowerment through education
If you’re a brand manager, chief sustainability officer, or ad agency consulting with a self-proclaimed “green” person, product, company or cause, then you need to read, no, wait, “own,” “The New Rules of Green Marketing.” It will give you an immediate jump on your competition through its encapsulation of decades of proven green marketing experience combined with current and relevant resources.
I can’t tell you what a treat it was to have breakfast with Jacquie in her neighborhood deli. Her new book is simply a reflection of her generosity, and although I picked up the tab for our eggs and bagels, she happily gave me some unsolicited branding advice to make me a better blogger and green marketer. And you know what else? I think she’s right about that, too.
God bless her.