Book Reviews


Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First

Author: Shel Horowitz
Publisher Accurate Writing & More
Publication Date: June 2003

Reviewer:Andy Marken
In his nearly 25 years in the advertising/public relations field, Andy has been involved with a broad range of corporate and marketing activities. Prior to forming Marken Communications in mid-1977, Andy was vice president of Bozell & Jacobs and its predecessor agencies. During his 12 years with these agencies, he developed and coordinated a wide variety of highly visible and successful promotional campaigns and activities for clients. A graduate of Iowa State University, Andy received his Bachelor's Degree with majors in Radio & Television and Journalism. Widely published in the industry and trade press, he is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

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News Flash  Watching companies like MCI, Adelphi, Enron, Anderson and others spiral from ďgreatnessĒ to something less than despicable and knowing some communications people creatively shaped these messages is depressing.  Reading about communications people cooking up deals to pay journalists to hawk desired messages is depressing.  Reading Shelís book gave us renewed faith that there is hope for free enterprise!  If enough communications professionals read  and put the concepts to work  we might, just might raise the image of our profession.

Read Shelís book and put his recommendations to work and you will have a definite feeling that you are making a contribution to your company and your community (local and global).  This is a book not just for your personal reading but for your boss and his/her boss.  Principled Profit isnít a public relations tactical book, it is a strategic book that gives you real business stories that illustrate doing good for competitors, employees, partners and customers can pay dividends. 

Whether you like to admit it or not, public relations people are in the people business.  We interpret our people (management) to other people (customers) and we interpret other people (customers) to our people (management).  Along the way we deal with a world of other people.  Shel shows how businesses of all types  public and private  can be run ethically and ultimately profitably.  But weíd mislead you if you finished this review and thought it was another roadmap to making a buck.  This is a book about how you can get up in the morning, look at the mirror and like what you see in the mirror.  Itís about helping you understand how you can work through the day, come home in the evening and still like the person staring back at you in the mirror.  Itís about doing your job, doing it well, doing it successfully and end up with everyone winning. 

Donít get us wrong, this isnít one of those business ethics books that preach at you.  Shelís book is one that works with you and guides you through practical, real-life examples.  The author also recognizes that there is the dark side of the coin but that win-win marketing and communications can produce solid results for your organization.  At the same time he recognizes that it is a lot easier (and more expeditious) to tear down the competition, short-change your partners and in general take-the-money and run.  But without preaching at you he shows that doing the right thing not only feels goodÖit works.

While corporate scandals and trials may make the front page of the paper and top the 9 p.m. news, Principled Profit gives you a practical how-to guide in your personal and professional interrelations even when you know the person on the other side of the table doesnít have your best interests high on his/her priority list.  But by taking the principled high ground it is possible to turn even adversarial situations into win-win situations. 

Youíll probably be a skeptic when you first open the book but it wonít take you long before you know that Horowitz really believes  and makes you believe  that people really do matter. 

Sure this is a marketing book but isnít that what public relations is all about?  Itís about marketing the most important product you know  yourself!  If you canít do that to deliver a win-win situation you certainly arenít going to do it for your organization.  Being ethical and following the principles you know are right can be the best thing you do for your most important business  you!