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Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History Hardcover – Aug 2 2010

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (Aug. 2 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470900520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470900529
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.7 x 18.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #337,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"For years, business theorists and corporate strategists have pointed to the Dead's example for insights into perennial issues and emerging challenges. Scott and Halligan focus on one key factor in the band's extraordinary artistic and business success—their iconic and enduring identity, not just as a band but as a brand. The authors' real appreciation for the Dead phenomenon, and their compelling and creative analyses of the Dead's marketing acumen, make this thought-provoking survey mandatory reading."
Nicholas Meriwether, Grateful Dead Archivist, UC Santa Cruz, and author, All Graceful Instruments: The Contexts of the Grateful Dead Phenomenon and Dead Letters: Essays on the Grateful Dead.

"Demand everything. Expect nothing."
Bill Kreutzmann, co-founder and drummer, The Grateful Dead

"David and Brian share my deep passion for music and its inspiration in our everyday lives. In Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead, they combine their marketing expertise with a zeal for one of the most successful and iconic bands of all time. They mold two subjects that are seemingly poles apart into one breakthrough book that is as entertaining as it is enlightening."
Del Breckenfeld, Director, Entertainment Marketing, Fender Musical Instruments Corp. & author of The Cool Factor: Building Your Brand’s Image Through Partnership Marketing

"Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead explores the phenomenon created by the Grateful Dead showcasing the extraordinary power of music and the innovations the Dead developed to connect and bond with their audience."
Michael Lang, co-creator & Producer of the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Festival and author The Road to Woodstock

"Halligan and Scott have written one of the most inspired, practical, and unconventional books on the business bookshelf. Want to develop a cult-like following, establish a new category, and do what you love? Scott and Halligan—calling upon their innate marketing savvy and inspired by their passion for the Grateful Dead—show you how."
Marc Benioff; Chairman & CEO,

"Jerry Garcia and his band were brilliant marketers. They understood that you grow your fan base one fan at a time and they constantly came up with things to energize their base while continuing to build it. As committed fans and talented marketing pros, Brian and David have created a book that is both entertaining and informative."
Jim Irsay, Owner and CEO, Indianapolis Colts and owner of Jerry Garcia's guitar, Tiger

"Being a 20-year member of the Grateful Dead's extended family, it's safe to say that we never felt like we were being marketed to in any way. The Dead treated us right by reaching out to us and keeping us in the know. Brian Halligan and David Meerman Scott's book Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead is an eye opener with keen observations. Who would have thought so many years ago that there was any plan in place at all?"
Ken Hays, Big Boss Man, Gathering of the Vibes

"...a well-written and sprightly little book. If you learn these lessons, you will have a better company and you will have a better life..."
Geoff Travis, Management Today

About the Author

Brian Halligan has seen the Grateful Dead perform more than 100 times. He is CEO & confounder of HubSpot, a marketing software company that helps businesses transform the way theymarket thier products by "getting found" on the Internet. Brian is also coauthor of Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs and is an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at MIT. In his spare time, he sits on a few boards of directors, follows his beloved Red Sox, goes to the gym, and is learning to play guitar.
Learn more at
Follow Brian at

Since his first Grateful Dead show when he was a teenager in 1979, David Meerman Scott has seen the band perform over 40 times. David is a marketing strategist and a professional speaker. He is the author of the Business Week bestselling book The New Rules of Marketing & PR and several other books. He speaks at conferences and corporate events around the world. He loves to surf (but isn't very good at it), collects artifacts from the Apollo moon program, and maintains a database, with 308 entries at this writing, of every band he has seen in concert.
He is a graduate of Kenyon College where he listened to a heck of a lot of Grateful Dead in his dorm room.
Learn more at
Follow David at

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Describes how the Grateful Dead were (greatly) ahead of their time with their marketing approach. Well worth the cost for the ideas.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa6de330c) out of 5 stars 56 reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7283fcc) out of 5 stars Why I put down a Kellermann mystery to read read a marketing book July 26 2010
By Roger C. Parker - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This was a weird weekend; by 10:00 AM Friday, I had received a copy of Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead in the mail, and had borrowed a "Fast Read" copy of Jonathan Kellerman's latest Alex Delaware mystery, Deception, at the library.

I read a little of each on the way home. Both books engaged me on the first page, as books by David Meerman Scott and Jonathan Kellerman tend to be. Both quickly "hooked" my interest.

However, faced with the choice of what to read, I finished Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead first. I became engrossed in the back story, or explanation, of the reasons a rock group I had long observed took the steps it did, and how it benefited their career and solidified their position.

It helped that I also resonated with the author's first-hand stories of attending numerous Grateful Dead concerts and visiting the Grateful Dead Archive at the University of California at Santa Cruz. The photographs provided atmosphere, the anecdotes provided story, and the book's tight writing and strong organization contributed to a "high momentum" and fascinating reading experience...a "high-momentum page-turner" that teaches fundamental marketing lessons and values.

Because the ideas come through so clearly, Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead begs the question: "Why doesn't every business act like the Grateful Dead?" Why don't all businesses "Put Fans in the Front Row?" Why don't all businesses "Embrace Technology" and "Cut Out the Middleman?" Why don't all businesses "Bring People on an Odyssey?"

The lessons are obvious, and--most important--they are reinforced with concrete examples of how other other businesses far removed from rock and roll have profited from the same marketing ideas. Sidebars and summaries emphasize the lessons and organize them for easy reference.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I was reading a copy sent by the publisher. BUT, receiving a book doesn't mean you have to read it! I read it because it's a great book, and I ended up sending two copies to long-time clients in Seattle. And, only after I finished Marketing Lessons, did I return to my Jonathan Kellerman mystery.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6c1d81c) out of 5 stars How to Build a Following The Grateful Dead Way July 23 2010
By Mark Levy - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Through their albums, tours, and memorabilia, The Grateful Dead have generated a massive following and hundreds of millions of dollars in sales.

Two people who have studied the group's unusual business-and-culture-building methods are social media gurus and Deadheads, David Meerman Scott (author of "The New Rules of Marketing & PR" and, full disclosure, my friend and client) and Brian Halligan (CEO of Hubspot).

In the Introduction to "Marketing Lessons From The Grateful Dead," David and Brian call The Dead "one huge case study in contrarian marketing. Most of the band's many marketing innovations are based on doing the exact opposite of what other bands (and record labels) are doing at the time." A few contrarian examples:

* While other bands protected their songs from illegal taping by fans, The Dead set up "taper sections" at their concerts, where fans could openly record music. Later, the fans would share copies with other Deadheads, as well as with people who had never experienced the music before. The pool of Dead fans grew exponentially.

* While other bands saw touring as a money-draining evil that only served to get word out about their albums, The Dead turned the model on its head and built up their live shows into their primary revenue-generating vehicle. Suddenly, the 45s and albums served to promote the shows.

* While other band treated their fans as an undifferentiated mass, The Dead would accommodates the niches in their fan base. For instance, one niche, referred to as "The Spinners," enjoyed whirling to the music during a concert. Rather than ignoring or having them ejected, The Dead erected speakers in the concourse, so that the Spinners could congregate there and gyrate without restriction.

The book cites forward-thinking strategies like these, distills them down to their essence, shows how companies like Dropbox and Burton Snowboards are using these strategies today, and then teaches readers how they might use these ideas in their own business to build an active following.

I received my copy of the book yesterday, have read it through once, and am psyched for a second reading this weekend.

Some of the strategies I saw, such as planning monthly 19-day marketing "sprints," were brand new to me, while others, such as creating a unique business model, became new to me when studied though the rousing example of The Grateful Dead.

If you're at all passionate about your work and ideas, "Marketing Lessons From The Grateful Dead" can help make a deep difference in how you approach getting word out about them to the world. It's very much a book on how to succeed through building an enthusiastic community around shared meaning.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb4787ec4) out of 5 stars Social media's birth amongst the haze of pot smoke July 24 2010
By Bradley Smith - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Whoda thunked that what was once perceived as anti-business-Haight-Ashbury culture has became what is now truly coveted by corporate communicators... direct relationships with our fans, which my shareholder communications niche calls "investors." The book's lesson on "Free your Content" resonates deeply in an industry regulated to promote transparency yet ironically struggles with the perceived liability of content control.

From my personal POV, the book reinforces what has always guided my successes: the irrefutable winning strategy of content and creativity.

Go buy the book. I received an advanced copy: it's a terrific summer Marcom read. Fun, real and actionable.

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN. What I find to be most amazing is their discovery that what many consultants are ceaselessly blogging and Tweeting about today - labeled as "social media", transparency and access - The Dead, over four decades ago, instinctively called chillin' and sharin'.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6d2ef24) out of 5 stars Not just a book for marketing and business professionals July 23 2010
By Keith Jennings - Published on
Format: Hardcover
No matter what you do in life (small business owner, marketing executive, creative writer, church leader, nonprofiteer, consultant, musician, etc.), you want to share your passions and connect with others like you. That's what this book is about at it's most fundamental level.

At some point, we all ask, "How can we get the word out about this?" Which leads many marketers and non-marketers alike to do some very stupid and disrespectful things. It also causes some to "sell out." Yet, no one can ever accuse the Grateful Dead of selling out. That's what originally caught my interest with this book. I've always wrestled with the question of how to grow a cause/product/service without compromising the values and excitement that gave it life to begin with.

Scott and Halligan's book, "Marketing Lesssons from the Grateful Dead," goes after this question with real life examples. The beauty is that, by using the Grateful Dead as their lead model and metaphor, they inspire a spirit of community, innovation and respect that may connect more with values-oriented readers, than profit-driven ones. After all, most of us are not going to be Apple, U2 or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We have to succeed in the second or third pocket of the long tail. And that's what the Dead did: dominate their section of that "tail."

The Grateful Dead approach to "marketing" is not a profit-centered one. Yet they were profitable. Likewise, the Dead bucked conventional wisdom and success measures. Yet were successful.

This book will cost you less than taking your family to Chick-Fil-A. And the potential return, if you absorb and pursue what you'll learn, can sustain you, your family and your cause or business
for years to come.

After you read it, come back here and share what you learned with future readers.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6de5a80) out of 5 stars Garcia Outsmarted Social-Media Experts Even Stoned July 23 2010
By Nalts - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Grateful Dead was ahead of its time in a lot of things, but arguably pioneered social-media marketing with a lot of practices... giving away free music and charging for concerts is just one example. You don't need to be a former Dead Head to enjoy this book, but if you know the Dead this book will help you understand social media in a deep relevant way. It's well written, concise, and draws on some fantastic parallels between what the band did instinctively -- and what marketers and executives should consider in 2010 and beyond. Best of all some of the proceeds benefits charity in the name of the band.