What Bank Marketers Shouldn't Learn From The Grateful Dead

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Have you seen the flurry of articles encapsulating the lessons that managers and marketers should learn from the Grateful Dead?

I have to confess to having contributed to this body of work, both on my previous blog, and while I was at Forrester.

Lost in all this advice, however, are the things that bank marketers shouldn’t learn from the Grateful Dead, like:

1. Letting customers sell burritos from the back of their VW Microbus’ in the parking lot. Well, hold on. On second thought, since there are so few people at the branches these days, maybe this is a good way to use all that unused space in the branch’s parking lot.

2. Letting customers record them. The Dead were famous for letting their fans record and distribute their concerts. Banks shouldn’t do this. The rudeness and incompetency of bank reps will end up in YouTube videos. This is not the best use of YouTube for banks.

3. Psychedelic light shows. Digital signage in the branches: Good. Strobe lights: Not so much. The psychedelic light shows at Dead concerts were outstanding. I’m not sure banks should try this, though. On the other hand, going back to point #1, if there are no customers in the branches, then strobe lights might help to hide this embarrassing fact.

4. Selling merchandise. The Dead made a fortune by licensing their logos, etc. which ended up on t-shirts and a whole host of other types of merchandise. I haven’t crunched the numbers on this one, but I’m betting that Citibank isn’t going to get rich selling Citi t-shirts.

5. Giving out LSD to customers. OK, granted that it’s been some 45 years since the Acid Tests, and that it really wasn’t the Dead that handed out LSD. But I did want to make sure that banks realized that this probably isn’t the best strategy for them to pursue.

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