It’s Time To Put A Few Zombie Marketing Strategies Into The Grave For Good

It’s Time To Put A Few Zombie Marketing Strategies Into The Grave For Good

It’s Time To Put A Few Zombie Marketing Strategies Into The Grave For Good

How do you convey the idea of a zombie apocalypse and zombies to the audience of a television series when the show’s characters exist in a world that has never heard the word “zombie” before?

You get creative.

The Walking Dead universe manages to talk about zombies in an effective way by using terms like “walkers,” “herd,” and “creepers.” The creative phrasing even helps the storytellers draw some fine distinctions between the different types of zombies in their show — which ultimately gives viewers a richer experience than the single word “zombie” ever could.

Deep down, that’s the heart and soul of any marketing campaign. Use simple and effective concepts to get your consumer base to understand more about your products or services. However, you must constantly evolve your strategies. Otherwise you can easily waste precious time, money, and energy on marketing concepts that are already dead.

How to Spot a Dead Marketing Concept When You See One

Mindless rituals and ideas that won’t stay in the grave are everywhere in marketing. You just have to be able to spot them and be willing to call them out for what they are.

  1. Campaigns that can’t measure your key performance indicators (KPIs)

These are marketing campaigns that don’t give you the ability to track their performance to see if they’re getting the desired business results. You cannot have an effective marketing campaign without a scorecard.

To test a campaign that you suspect is in this category, try listing specific, actionable goals that you want to see the campaign produce. For example, it could be as simple as generating 25% of your new leads. Next, figure out how you can actually track the progress toward your goal. Can’t do it? You’ve got a roamer on your hands that could be doing your brand more long-term harm than good.

Some of the best examples of these kinds of campaigns are still being used on college campuses — where they’re targeting exactly the wrong market. Things like chalking and floor stickers may be easy to do but they’re largely ignored by the Millennials passing over them. Campus ambassadors may be able to get your company a lot of Facebook “likes”. But how many of those come from the sincerely interested instead of students just willing to help another student meet a quota? That creates the equivalent of consumer spam for your company — not actual prospects.

  1. Campaigns that lose the trust of your customer base.

Today’s marketing is all about personalization. This means generic content that offers quantity but not quality and seems to target everyone instead of those with specific needs or interests can actually turn potential customers off.

Nothing screams “zombie” louder than automated content on social media. If your Facebook page just spews automated messages, you’re losing the chance to engage your customers. Worse — they may suspect that your small business that once made them feel special is turning into a corporate monster that doesn’t even recognize them.

Another tactic that needs to die is the “false sense of urgency” that some companies use to nudge loose the wallets of hesitant buyers. For example: Putting only one of a “very special” item out in your store when there are 20 more sitting in the stock or holding a “limited-time offer” that pressures customers into action. These tactics can give you a minor short-term gain but a major long-term loss. Today’s consumers are a savvy lot. Once they catch on — and they will catch on — you’ll lose their trust and the trust of everyone they know.

  1. Campaigns that don’t give you enough return on your investment (ROI)

Old-school advertising still has its place — in some markets more than others. While you don’t want to discount your older customers, you have to face the reality that Millennials are becoming a much bigger force in the nation’s consumer base. That means it is increasingly important to track the ROI of every marketing dollar spent on ads.

For example, Yellow Page ads used to be a lead-generation staple for every business. Today, you need to carefully examine your ROI before you commit to the cost. The value of that ad may be diminishing rapidly from years gone by.

Are you investing in late-night TV ads? Hiring a minor celebrity to endorse your product? Your ROI is probably non-existent. The real stars today are YouTubers, who have the capacity to take viewers along with them as they unbox your product and learn to use it. Even better, viewers don’t think of user-generated content as ads so much as they do “shared experiences” that they can trust.

A Piece of Survival Advice Every Marketer Should Remember

Get a handle on what’s going on in the world of popular culture. Then tie your marketing campaigns to trends whenever possible. Pop culture has a unique way of capturing the imagination of diverse groups of people — who can turn into new prospects if you can get their attention.

For example, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) took advantage of the public’s fascination with shows like The Walking Dead back in 2011 and tied it into a topic that was so dry it appeared mummified: disaster preparation. They simply updated their directions to include how to plan for a zombie apocalypse. It was the first time the CDC pushed a campaign on Facebook and Twitter not related to an actual disaster. They started publishing the links on a Monday. The campaign amassed so much attention that the CDC’s servers overloaded and crashed by that Wednesday.

If you aren’t tuned in yourself to what’s grabbing everyone’s attention, websites like Mashable, Wired, Buzzfeed, and Cracked can help. Even just browsing Reddit or Facebook can help you learn whether werewolves are still hot and why Rick and Morty is a show to know.

The Takeaway:

Survival requires adaptability and a little bit of ruthlessness. Once a marketing concept is showing signs that the end is near — don’t drag the process out. Give it a quick death and save your precious resources for projects and ideas that still have a lot of life ahead of them.

Maggie Black
[email protected]

Maggie Black is a freelance writer, biographer, editor and mixed-media artist. She absolutely loves what she does for a living and occasionally gets out of her pajamas (for public appearances only).