professional website designers NJAs a marketer I’m always interested in what other companies and competitors do to engage and reward their best customers.

And as a music lover and frequent concert goer, I wanted to mention how one of my favorite bands, Phish, consistently rewards it’s best fans and leverages that fan enthusiasm to make brand ambassadors out of their best customers, which we, as concert goers and buyers of their music, clearly are.

So what can a 20-year old jam band with lots of tie-dyed fans teach you about marketing?

CUSTOMER APPRECIATION

One of the things that I love about going to Phish concerts aside from the concerts themselves, is that they offer complete free downloads of every concert you attend by entering the bar code on the ticket directly into an area on their website, www.livephish.com:

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Talk about a loyalty rewards program!  Immediately after each show, the band rewards it’s most loyal fans by giving them even more of what they want — a free download of the concert they just attended!  This speaks volumes to the basic marketing principle of giving something of value to get something of value.  I, the fan, buy their tickets and they give me a free download to reward my purchase (in addition to a kick-ass three-plus hour show).  Not only does the free download generate much good will, it also acts as a freestanding reminder of how much I enjoyed their concert each and every time I listen to the recording, increasing the likelihood that I will either buy additional music, more concert tickets or, most likely, both.

VIRAL MARKETING

Phish is not alone in encouraging their fans to record their music at their concerts.  Bands like Widespread Panic, Government Mule and the Grateful Dead have done it for years.

But remember, this all started as early as 1985 before the advent of the Internet and the digital age, when widespread tape trading was the norm. These tapes spread across the US like wildfire. In fact, it’s important to note that, since Phish never had any mainstream or radio hits, their enormous popularity was driven largely by this band-sanctioned trading of fan-recorded music.   Now, they’ve taken that home grown fan activity to the next level by providing professionally recorded concerts directly from the sound boards.  A win-win!

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOUR BUSINESS

So what does this have to do with YOUR business you may ask?  Chances are you are not in the member of a popular jam band but what you do have in common with bands like Phish are your clients, customers, fans and followers.  Everyone likes to feel special so think strategically about setting up your own loyalty program that makes sense for your business.  Reward your best customers and clients with special services, discounts and coupons.  Perhaps a premium service that only existing customers are eligible for.  Or maybe just a heartfelt thank you or other token of your appreciation.

What ideas do you have for spreading the love?