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In the 1960s, the Grateful Dead pioneered many social media and inbound marketing concepts that content businesses use today. The band made a series of difficult and often unpopular decisions in order to differentiate itself from its competition. But those choices -- made completely against accepted record industry "best practices" -- turned the Grateful Dead into one of the most successful content creators in history. The lessons from the Dead are an important tool for content companies to understand the new marketing environment in language and examples that are familiar to all. The Grateful Dead is one huge case study in contrarian content marketing techniques. The Grateful Dead teaches everyone that business model innovation is frequently more important than product innovation.
after thought DAVID MEERMAN SCOTT actually established “taper sections” where fans’ equipment could be set up for the best sound quality. When nearly every other band said no, the Grateful Dead created a huge network of Grateful Dead people who traded tapes in pre-internet days. The broad exposure to free content led to millions of new fans and sold tickets to the live shows. As many companies today experiment Content Lessons with offering valuable content on the web, the Grateful Dead teaches us that when we free our content, more people are exposed to it and, eventually, will want to purchase our premium content. Yes, free content sells content. The Grateful Dead created a mailing list in the early 1970s i n the 1960s, the Grateful Dead pioneered many social media and inbound marketing concepts that content businesses use today. The band made a series of difficult and often unpopular decisions in order to differentiate itself from its competition. But those choices—made completely against with which it announced tours to fans first. Later, it established its own ticketing office, which provided the most loyal fans with the best seats in the house. The Grateful Dead teaches us that building a community and treating customers with care and respect drives passionate loyalty. But I see the exact opposite accepted record industry “best practices”—turned the Grateful with so many content companies where new subscribers get the Dead into one of the most successful content creators in history. best deal—the really cheap magazine subscription offered to new The band performed more than 2,300 concerts from 1965 subscribers for example—while loyal customers pay the most. through 1995, generated billions of dollars in ticket sales, and The Grateful Dead let its audience define the Grateful Dead produced many gold and platinum records. experience. Concerts were a happening, a destination where all For the past year, I researched the business practices of the 20,000 or more audience members were actually part of the Grateful Dead as I wrote (with co-author Brian Halligan, CEO of experience. Making fans an equal partner in a mutual journey, HubSpot)
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