In a recent Deliver Magazine interview, David Meerman Scott expounded on a brand made famous by its distinctive sound, look and unorthodox business methodology: The Grateful Dead.

Different way to engage

Co-author of Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History, Scott said, “The Grateful Dead treated fans with tremendous respect, and my sense…is that there is a very one-way relationship between companies and potential customers. If you apply lessons from The Grateful Dead, you will think of different ways to engage your audience.”

The book examines the original and alternative branding style that developed a remarkably loyal following for over three decades.

Based on his examination of Grateful Dead marketing methodology, here are 7 notable business strategies from David Meerman Scott.

  1. Be authentic: Your customers will prefer working with someone who is real over an avatar created to please them.
  2. Bypass accepted channels and go direct: Instead of sending our monthly newsletters or press releases because it’s “the thing to do”, personalize your message and deliver it to your clientele in an out-of-the-box way.
  3. Rethink traditional assumptions: Are there services that you currently outsource that could be done in-house? Is there something your customers have asked for more than once that you don’t provide? Be creative about alternative revenue streams for you and your business.
  4. Maintain a mailing list: Start a community and continue to build on it. Before you know it, it’s a thriving metropolis.
  5. Mix your marketing: The Grateful Dead had a unique sound, but they gave their audience many different ways to experience it. Same goes for marketing–deliver your unique message and value proposition from different angles, at different times, via different media.
  6. Develop a network: Enhance your brand by creating a special value and sharing it with those in your network.
  7. Offer free products: The Grateful Dead allowed their audience to record performances and share with whomever they chose. This “freemium” ultimately increased the band’s visibility and reach.

When asked how marketers can best take advantage of the secrets of the Grateful Dead, Scott answered, “Be yourself. Be who you are and have fun. If you don’t love what you do, it’s going to show in the results. If you truly love it and create interesting messages that work well, use that to your advantage and enjoy the process of communicating that to people.”