Home What the Grateful Dead Can Teach Us About Marketing

What the Grateful Dead Can Teach Us About Marketing

For those of us of a certain age and of a certain countercultural bent, yesterday’s date, August 1 – despite the 15 years since his death – remains “Jerry’s birthday.”

(Um, that’s Jerry Garcia for you kids.)

And today marks the publication of a new book Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History. In it, authors David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan examine the ways in which the band developed incredibly innovative marketing strategies — strategies that they contend are quite pertinent to the Internet marketing age.

The Grateful Dead broke many of the music industry’s rules. As the authors write, “the band made a series of difficult and often unpopular decisions in order to differentiate themselves from their competition by providing the highest quality service to their fans. They were not simply selling a product. The Dead pioneered a ‘freemium’ business model, allowing concert attendees to record and trade concert tapes, building a powerful word-of-mouth fan network pioneered by free music.” In addition to direct outreach and ticket sales to fans, the Dead made a number of unconventional business decisions that helped develop a fan base and an economy that remains strong to this day.

Here are a few of the lessons that Scott and Meerman suggest the Dead can taught us:

Rethink Industry Assumptions

Choose a Good Name and Good Logo for your B(r)and

Turn Your Customers into Evangelists

Build a Diverse Team

Free Your Content


Partner with Other Entrepreneurs

Take Your Customers on an Odyssey

Do What You Love

Believe it if you need it, or leave it if you dare…

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