Learning Loyalty from the Grateful Dead

In 2008, David Meerman Scott drew comparisons between social marketing and the Grateful Dead at the the first Inbound Marketing Conference in Massachusetts. Having seen dozens of Dead shows, my first in 1982, I immediately understood what he was talking about.

This band did everything differently– they produced only 13 albums over 30 years but instead toured constantly, doing more than 2300 shows. They played different songs every night from their catalog of 500 and supported the fans need for live shows by letting them record from a special section in the audience. Their brand lives on more than 15 years after Jerry Garcia’s death, and new fans are discovering them even now.

So, when I heard that David and Brian Halligan of Hubspot had written “Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History”, I knew I needed to review it here. It covers how the Dead did the marketing basics differently: Their unique brand, message and offering, their fans(customers), and finally, their business model and operations. It’s a perfect guide for CEOs and marketers to learn to think differently and  create a break through brand.

I like it’s size and structure, small and easy to digest, but with a lot of good concepts that will make sense to marketers. There are also great examples of businesses that succeeded using some of these principles.  If you don’t know much about the Grateful Dead, this material will help you to understand them and why they were the most successful touring band in history.  To learn more, visit the Facebook Fan page.

As a result of reading this great book, I am considering how Weber Media Partners can better grow our fans, one at a time, by listening and collaborating with our clients to deliver the most innovative and effective marketing programs. Read the book and maybe you will too.

Oh, and, take some time to listen to the music. It’s just that good.

7 thoughts on “Learning Loyalty from the Grateful Dead”

  1. Hi Catherine!

    Wow – thanks so much for writing about our book. You have a great memory — I’ve been talking up the Dead as an example for a while.

    You’re already on your way to doing Grateful Dead style marketing with this blog. Congrats.

    And the music is still great. Have you caught Furthur yet?


  2. Hi David.
    You are welcome. I enjoyed the book thoroughly.

    Yes, we saw Further in Lowell in June and going again to Worcester. Hope to see you and Brian there!


  3. Hi Catherine,
    Thanks for the comparison of the Grateful Dead and social media. I couldn’t agree more. David Meerman Scott responding to your blog is also testimony to the power of social media. It’s amazing how far reaching open conversations can travel.

    John Bergdoll

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