Van Jones beat the odds when The Green Collar Economy landed at number 12 on the New York Times best-seller list. “What he didn’t have, as a first time author with an almost non-existent marketing budget, was the kind of money and name-recognition that typically helps place a book on the best sellers list and in the national conversation,” writes Nicholas Sabloff in an article at the Huffington Post. “So he improvised.”

With a marketing budget of less than $5,000 and the help of colleagues at his environmental org Green For All, Jones created a viral campaign that targeted 150 environment-oriented organizations of every size and scope. The team also dusted off their Rolodexes, and Sabloff says, “they called everyone they knew.”

The persistence paid off. Central to the enthusiasm of environmental networks was a product worthy of the hype. “We don’t put forth anything unless we really believe in it,” says the Reverend Lennox Yearwood in the same article. “I’m a believer in what the book stands for and obviously our members, mostly young people aged 18 to 29, really found Jones’ book exciting.” The Hip Hop Caucus, which Yearwood heads, sent a series of messages about The Green Collar Economy to its 700,000-strong membership. Blogs like Treehugger responded with a review and an interview; the Environmental Defense Fund was so impressed that it recommended the book to 500,000 members.

Alli Chagi-Starr of Green For All told the Huffington Post, “A friend called and told me she got the email from 10 different sources.” That is viral—and undeniable Marketing Inspiration.

Cheers, Skip

Source: MarketingProfs newsletter 11/03/08