The Original Inbound Marketing Rockstars: The Grateful Dead

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Kipp Bodnar
Kipp Bodnar



grateful dead Inbound and social media marketing strategies are much older than most people think. They didn't just appear in recent years. Companies like Dell, Pepsi and other major brands are now adopting strategies and practices that have existed for decades. In fact, inbound marketing existed well before the days of the internet. The internet has merely served as a catalyst to support its growth, scale and reduce cost of entry.

If inbound marketing has been around for decades, who is an example of a pre-internet pioneer? How about the Grateful Dead?

You may not realize it from the music industry of today, but in the 1960s the Grateful Dead pioneered many social media and inbound marketing concepts that businesses in all industries use today on the web.

How did a group of musicians from San Francisco transform marketing and become social media pioneers?

The Dead made a series of important choices to separate themselves from everyone in their industry, making difficult and unpopular decisions such as allowing fans to tape concerts and creating special tickets and access for fans. 

The Dead Marketing Funnel

Chris Anderson wrote an entire book about an an emerging economy based on a "free" pricing model. The concept of the freemium model is to give away valuable information for free to attract a larger base of prospective customers with a percentage of them willing to pay for a premium product or service. This approach is at the core of inbound marketing and describes the evolving marketing funnel for many businesses today.

The Dead pioneered this approach. They allowed concert attendees to tape shows and distribute them to other fans for free, and it worked. The Dead, one of the most iconic and successful rock bands of its era, achieved elite success with only one top 10 song, which didn't come until the 1980s.

They succeeded by building a word-of-mouth network of fans powered by free music. The Dead understood that it was about the experience that the music provided instead of strictly the music itself.

Fast forward to today. Successful inbound marketers have a content strategy and marketing funnel that is similar to that of the Dead. Companies who have achieved successful results have shifted focus away from products and features and have created a demand at the top of the funnel through a content strategy that puts the problems and needs of customers ahead of constant interruption caused by outbound marketing.

What Can Your Business Learn From the Grateful Dead?

Free is only one of many concepts that will be discussed by HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan and marketing author and speaker David Meerman Scott in their webinar: "Inbound Marketing Lessons From The Grateful Dead." Check out the video below from Halligan and Scott as they provide a preview of the webinar, then check out the full webinar here



Photo Credit: WallyG

On-Demand Webinar: Marketing Lessons From The Grateful Dead


Marketing Lessons From The Grateful Dead


Join fellow deadheads, HubSpot CEO, Brian Halligan and acclaimed author, David Meerman Scott for marketing takeaways from the Grateful Dead!

Download The Free Webinar Now !

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