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Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History by David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan


David Meerman Scott is an internationally acclaimed marketing and sales strategist, author and keynoter.

Forbes Magazine said that David is “one of those select few people who saw and understood the social media phenomenon as it began.”

He is author or co-author of ten books – three are international bestsellers. The New Rules of Marketing & PR, now in its 4th edition, has been translated into 26 languages and is used as a text in hundreds of universities and business schools worldwide. It is a modern business classic with over 300,000 copies sold thus far.

David also authored Real-Time Marketing & PR, (a Wall Street Journal bestseller), Newsjacking, and World Wide Rave.

He co-authored Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program (now in pre-production as a feature-length film titled The Men Who Sold the Moon).

The Host’s Perspective:

The Grateful Dead was one of the most successful rock bands of all time and was known for an eclectic music style, unique live performances and a devoted fan base, known as “Deadheads.”

The band marketed itself and built a following by doing pretty much the opposite of what most other bands did. For instance, they encouraged their fans to record their shows and give tapes to their friends. They built a mailing list of fans to keep in touch with them. They sold concert tickets directly to fans instead of through a middleman. And most significantly, they built their business model on live concerts, instead of album sales long before that model became the norm for today’s recording artists.

The music industry thought they were crazy, but the approach the Grateful Dead took was ultimately successful. Many of the things they did to build a following are what successful modern marketers are now doing in the Internet age.

The Grateful Dead was doing social media and content marketing long before there was Internet marketing.

And rather than trying to have an enormous fan base that was a mile wide and an inch deep like The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead strove to have a deep relationship with a niche audience.

And that is how many businesses are profiting in the long-tail nature of the Internet.

Even if you’re not a fan of The Grateful Dead, this is a great marketing book that both entertains and educates.

Listen to the interview:


Show Notes

The New Rules of Sales and Service by David Meerman Scott (Marketing Book Podcast interview)

World Wide Rave by David Meerman Scott

David Meerman Scott and Douglas Burdett

David Meerman Scott and Douglas Burdett at the Inbound Conference, Boston, Massachusetts

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