How The Grateful Dead Fathered Inbound Marketing, WALSTIB

Grateful Dead July 4th 2015 Fare The Well Concert

Inbound marketing is a process by which the marketers entice their audiences in such a way that viewers can't help but want to learn more about the company.  When executed properly, content marketing will bring fresh eyes to a business without the audience even realizing that they are suddenly liking, retweeting, clicking, buying, and following.

Although the word "follow" has certainly taken on a life of its own in recent years, and it far from resembles any following that occurred back in Jerry Garcia's hay day, there's a correlation that is strangely irrefutable, tying the Grateful Dead to the fatherhood of inbound marketing.

For decades, loyal lovers of the Grateful Dead took a page out of Kerouac in search of the open road, which always led to a show that had never been seen before.  For the Dead, putting on a new show each and every time they hit the stage wasn't a novelty; it was a way of life.  With each show, the air was filled with a previously unforgivable mix of things that did not go together, allowing the crowds to have a brand new experience each and every time.  If a fan missed a show, that experience was gone forever, never to be duplicated.

The lack of duplicity made people all over the world hunger for more.  They wanted to know the Dead.  They wanted to hear them, experience them, and dance to them, and they were willing to travel anywhere for their chance to feel each once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Grateful Dead - Dead Heads Taper Section Taken when I was a Freelancer for the Band from 1987-1995

Grateful Dead - Dead Heads Taper Section Taken when I was a Freelancer for the Band from 1987-1995

This following is a company's dream.  This following defines inbound marketing.  Going all the way back to the '60s, nobody's created more of an urge to follow than Jerry Garcia and his crew.

It is incredibly unlikely that the Grateful Dead headed into the music world with the intent of being seen as marketing forefathers five decades later, but that is how it happened.  In today's world, however, hoping to simply fall into success is a set up for failure.  To achieve a successful following of interested and active consumers, a business must first start with a plan.  Without a proper plan in place, those road trippers will find themselves straying away from the music or lost somewhere in an undiscovered corner of the country with a couple of flat tires and an empty gas tank.

Like any good voyage to new lands, the road map may contain several different routes, each of which can lead the way to a stage filled with amazing success.  That is, as long as every detour has a contingency and the mileage of each option is weighed carefully.  Content marketing is, in fact, an umbrella title for several tools.  All of these, or a strategic combination of a few, can truly boost a company's presence in the marketplace:

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Public Relations
  • Pay Per Click Advertising
  • Inbound Marketing
  • Content Strategy

Content marketing isn't something that can be considered 'a nice thing to have' any longer.  It is an essential ingredient for any successful business.  After all, one of the biggest branding successes in history would have to be the evolution from a notorious band to the embodiment a special ice cream that's just as notable as the people who inspired its flavors.


About Michael Conway and Means-of-Production

About Michael Conway and Means-of-Production

My firm builds Squarespace websites, Houzz profiles, and content marketing and advertising solutions for architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. Our all-in-one tactics attract the right clients with exceptional architectural photography and brand messaging that sets you apart from the competition. Contact me for a free-of-charge consultation and marketing review. It takes about 40 minutes and you'll be provided a list of actionable improvements designed to solve your specific marketing problems. 

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