Huh you might say? The Grateful Dead wrote a book about marketing lessons?
Nope, they did not, but folks who know the Band did and they decided that this iconic band could provide some lessons that all might gain from. I thought this a reasonable premise and one which should be particularly applicable for community-based nonprofits (not necessarily those big corporate nonprofits like hospitals and museums).
Anyway, sad to say, Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead is not that insightful. Somewhat interesting about the life of the band as well as the artwork for sure, but insightful -- not so much.
The book is divided into three sections: lessons from/about the Band; the Fans; and, the Business. Each chapter is also divided into three parts profiling an element or technique, describing the lesson and offering an example (more entertaining than educational).
As some may know, I am particularly passionate about marketing strategies. This was one of my areas of training and it is my favorite part of the business plans I assist nonprofits in developing, so I must offer that my biggest dissapointment wth this book is that it really doesn't help folks understand what a marketing strategy is. I'm speaking of the 5 P's: Product/Service benefits and features; Pricing; Place (Distribution); Promotion (Communication); and, Positioning (value correlation to competitors and other equivalent offerings).
That said, the lessons themselves are not that engaging or necessarily clever. "Choose a memorable brand name" might be helpful for nonprofits developing a new offering but surprising, clever or unique? "Free your content". We're talking to nonprofits here and this sort-of goes in the wrong direction although their point has some merit when thinking about making intro-level offerings no charge as "lead-into" higher-level offerings. "Build a following" and "Encourage eccentricity" -- kinda nonprofit anyway -- no?
So, get the book for cheap or free for its entertainment value? Sure, why not. Buy the book to learn? Only if you lower your expectations.