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Learning from the American Beauties

Learning from the American Beauties


So I set out to write a piece about the lessons that marketers can learn from the way the iGaming industry goes about its everyday business – more of which later. But, in the course of my (modest) research, I stumbled across an absolute work of genius by Hubspot’s Brian Halligan and David Meerman Scott.

Marketing Lessons from The Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History has a lengthy title but is in fact, a very slimline book. But the best stuff often comes in little packages, and this is no exception; the 19 lessons that The Grateful Dead lived by are as true in business today as they ever were in the carefree days of the 1960s and 70s.

19 marketing lessons from Garcia and gang

We shall just rattle them off and, for the most part, you can fill in the obvious details for yourselves: Create a unique business model, use a memorable brand name, build a diverse team, be yourself, experiment relentlessly, embrace technology, establish new categories, encourage eccentricity, bring people on a journey, put fans in the front row, build your following, cut out the middleman, free your content, be spreadable, upgrade to premium, loosen up your brand, partner with entrepreneurs, give back and finally, probably most important of all, do what you love.

Those that stand out as being slightly less than self-explanatory are the idea of loosening the brand, basically playing around with it and not necessarily being slaves to a rigid identity. This is a brave tactic, the best example of which is Google with its daily adoption of ‘doodles’, frequently themed.

Working the data and freebies hit the spot

Equally pertinent, and ahead of its time, was The Grateful Dead’s realisation that user data is invaluable, as is putting that data to work. The band created a mailing list long before there was any such creation as the Internet and posted out updates on what they were up to fans who had written to them and provided addresses. By the 1990s, when they began using email, this embryonic ‘database’ had reached half a million subscribers.

And finally, as we shift gears and segue back towards the original topic, let us use free content as the bridge between the Grateful Dead and the iGaming marketers. Contrary to widespread belief, free content is actually a marketing tactic with fantastic ROI. It was the absolute cornerstone of the original online poker boom. Free content connects with fans, developing their interest and passion. This inevitably leads to an ‘upsell’ to show tickets, albums and merchandise in the case of a band, and paid play and loyalty in the case of an online gaming and betting site. And gaming customers love anything that is free, so online sites use welcome bonuses, first deposit bonuses, cash backs, loyalty bonuses, the lot.

Value for money is first and foremost

In the case of the iGaming sector, there are several more marketing tactics that the most successful companies execute exceptionally well. First and foremost amongst these is a commitment to providing true value to customers. This means a selection of high-quality game offers, frequent and fair bonus opportunities, prompt payment processing and secure protection of player data. Prospects who see real value such as this are well on the way to becoming customers.

Closely linked to this provision of genuine value is the delivery of a great user experience. The best online gaming sites are visually appealing, simple to navigate, fast and seamless. Whatever you are selling, an easy and enjoyable user experience can convert a curious lead into a committed customer.

Be like your punters… and take a few risks!

Finally, just as with all forms of gambling, it is impossible to win unless you embrace an element of risk. Successful marketing initiatives involve taking risks; not all of them will work but ultimately, fortune will favour the brave. Be bold, think about the campaigns and ideas that you love and remember… almost all risky and brave, I would imagine. A bit like The Grateful Dead, back in the day, I imagine!