Introducing David Meerman Scott

Sometimes you can learn aspects of business from obscure and seemingly unrelated places and people.  Like learning lessons of marketing from the Grateful Dead.  David Meerman Scott did just that.  David is an international best-selling author of several books and speaks routinely around the world.   David doesn’t like to write typical, boring marketing books though.  He looks to write about things he enjoys.

David came up with the idea of taking business concepts from the jam band, while working with his friend and CEO of Hubspot, Brian Halligan.  Hubspot is a leading online provider of marketing and sales software, but they offer a ton of free digital content as well.  Brian and David, both huge dead heads, decided to try making a fun marking webinar on the Grateful Dead.  The webinar they produced became the most popular one Hubspot had to that point, and so together they decided to write the book version.

For those of you not in the know, the Grateful Dead was a band started in 1965 known for their eclectic style, fusing a number of different genres and using an improvisational style when preforming.  Also, The Dead were one of the few bands that allowed their fans to record their live performances, make tapes, and trade them amongst other fans.  Unlike most bands, their fans would tend to go to multiple performances because no two shows were alike.  Instead of treating their fans like consumers, the band treated them like a community and considered those in the audience part of the show.  Essentially, more than trying to suck money out of their fans, they wanted to do right by them.  They trusted the fan base like they were another member of the band, and that is why they would let them do things like tape live shows.

So what can we learn from the “Dead”, and how can we implement some of the ideas they championed in our businesses?  First, you have to be willing to let go of some content to your customers for free.  The idea is that if you give away useful information, you will generate more customers.  Second, you want to build a community around your business, not just a grouping of customers.  Your customers should feel like they are apart of the business, not just numbers or dollar signs.  You must build your community, and then serve your community, and the community will share further.  In some ways, the Grateful Dead were pioneers of viral marketing.

David doesn’t just spout these ideas; he lives by them.  To promote one of his most recent books, The New Rules of Sales and Service, David made a 180-slide power point presentation, which had the majority of the concepts he talks about in his book.  He then shared the power point for free on slide share.  By doing this, the sales of his books increased to find out the rest of the story.


In this episode

We hear how Greg met David at a speaking engagement, and how Greg one the first thing in his life just for being a hippy.  Dave has a “light bulb” moment as it comes to removing some of the barriers to service.   Also, David tells us about his book, Selling the Moon, about marketing the Apollo program, and how David recently sold its rights for a documentary.  We also hear of a few companies who had unintentionally practiced some marketing lessons from the Grateful Dead to “grate” success.