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The summer of 2004 features crows-feet rock stars everywhere.

Prince, David Bowie, Van Halen and Devo are touring the country, and their loyal, long-term fans are responding by filling up the concert venues.

While some of these more mature musical acts, relatively speaking, are still producing relevant, vibrant new works, they cannot rely on today's homogenized radio industry to play their work. (We say “relatively” mature, because Van Halen is forever a band of teenagers, even if its members approaching 50.) Artists tour because they love to play music, support themselves and connect with fans. For many groups, old and new, touring is grassroots marketing.

An artist's emotional and riveting live performance has tremendous influence on word of mouth and future CD sales. Watching a performance in person with other fans can be a powerful communal experience.

Going on tour is what business can learn from Van Halen.

Business ‘Rock Stars'

And it so happens that grassroots tours of business “rock stars” are a hot ticket this year. Here are some of the business acts on the road this year:

Kerstin and Spencer Block, Founders of Tucson-Based Buffalo Exchange

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Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba are the authors of Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force.