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Grateful Dead Content Lessons by ProQuest

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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.

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									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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