Summer Reading #10 – Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead

Gratefuldead At Public Words we’re keen followers of David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR, World Wide Rave, and Real-Time Marketing and PR, due out in November.  David has released a surprise summer book, just in time for marketers who want to combine a little fun with their work:  Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead:  What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History.  It’s co-written with Brian Halligan, CEO of Hubspot, and another Deadhead.  Full disclosure:  we’ve helped David with his speeches.  Fuller disclosure:  I vaguely remember attending a Grateful Dead concert in the late seventies.  Maybe the early eighties. 

The book is a delightful combination of serious marketing insights and trivia about the band, including some great photos from the Dead’s archive.  It doesn’t take long to read, and you can justify the time spent as work-related. 

Here are just a few of the marketing lessons:

1.    Create a unique business model
2.    Build a diverse team
3.    Embrace technology
4.    Establish a new category
5.    Bring people on an odyssey

I highly recommend the book for some very useful marketing insights presented in a user-friendly way.   David and Brian’s text is thoughtful and teases the lessons out of the Dead’s history in a way that is relevant, topical, and never feels forced.  The lessons are buttressed with current examples from companies that have tried similar things.  A great beach read for Type-A marketers who have trouble leaving their work behind. 


  1. says

    HI Nick,
    as an European I used to dream of meeting a Deadhead. There were none where I grew up :)
    The Dead were unique and that’s what made them special, of course but they also created a movement around themselves (just like successful bloggers today do) and that seemed like their most powerful marketing weapon.

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