Zombie takeovers are the monster event of the moment. And they hold lessons for us marketers. In addition to learning to never get bitten, and to sever heads off completely, those lessons include some worthwhile marketing tactics. So listen up, because you wouldn't want your campaign to precipitate a viral outbreak... err... wait... you do!
Rule 1: Keep Your Eye on Your Target Audience
In a post-apocalyptic zombie-driven world, we will all have to keep our eyes and ears open. The same applies in today's marketing department. Understanding what makes your target tick is the ultimate key to survival.
To honor Rule 1, you'll first have to build your ideal audience based on your products or services Start with the skeleton and determine their age group, gender, marital status, and education level. Then add the meat: What kind of attitudes do they foster and what values do they carry? What are their interests, hobbies, and overall lifestyle like?
Once you've drafted your model, the next step is to find them in real time.
Four Ways to Zero-In
- Set your radar on your competitors and see who they are targeting. WARNING: do not follow their steps play by play, they could easily be overlooking your niche audience.
- Stay on top of statistics with sites like Pew Internet that offer up-to-date insights into American life, Internet tendencies, and business trends.
- Show off your human side by engaging with your audience in Facebook discussions and tweets. By putting the sale aside to first connect on a personal level, you are allowing potential customers to lower their guard. This will give you an opportunity to receive quality input and build a relationship while organically promoting your brand.
- Slip on your Google lab coat. The world's favorite search engine is working hard to help you analyze and reach your niche. Start with Google Alerts to stay on top of your target, and then take it to the next level with Google Analytics.
Rule 2: Never Roam Alone
Those who follow the counter-zombie rule to resist attachments are hopeless; just like safety, creativity and productivity too come in numbers. Just because you run a small business does not mean your reach has to be small. Many entrepreneurs with a type-A personality can have a tendency to keep their efforts to themselves; in marketing, do the opposite.
Two Quick Tips for Cultivating a Clan
- Guest-blog as if to save your life. You will connect with a potentially untapped audience, but by providing quality content you will also be creating a win for your guest blog host. Make sure your pitch is relevant to the host's specific site, and adherel closely to guidelines.
- Host an event with likeminded entrepreneurs and with press members. In-person social gatherings are a great way to make business connections. Don't have a special event in your budget? Try initiating a tweetup, which can take place in a setting as casual as a local coffee shop. Interested in engaging beyond your ZIP code? Create a twitter chat around a universal event. (For example: Do you run an ecommerce fashion site? Create a Twitter chat around the nationally aired Victoria Secret fashion show. All you will need is a relevant hashtag where you and others can post real-time content in reference to what everyone else is watching.)
Rule 3: Have Advanced Weapons on Hand
What's more powerful than a machete through the head of the living dead? That grenade in your left hand and that flamethrower strapped to your back. Your marketing, too, should have advanced approaches of attack. Email campaigns, flyers, and Facebook are as basic as food and water. Also arm yourself with some trendy tactics such as infographics and Web video... and really watch the heads roll.
The Flesh Eater's Guide to a Wicked Web Video
All it takes is a click, but you need a tasty title to reel viewers in. So have a killer title.
Audiences are thirsty for your brains (and ideas), so rather than make a sales pitch, tell a story via interviews, a behind-the-scenes look, or a product review.
Appeal to the living and create a call to action. Also, always allow others the opportunity to bite back by providing feedback links for Facebook likes, retweets, and comments.
Rule 4: Accept That the World Will Never Be the Same
For those who long for the days of the monthly marketing seminar, you might as well join the walkers. The marketing world has morphed into living in the trenches 24/7. The Internet and social media have meant that marketing tactics are in a constant state of metamorphosis.
Twitter was once the newest thing; now, marketing efforts are extending to places like Pinterest, Vine, and Instagram. And in the time it's taken you to read this sentence, a new social media baby is likely to have been born.
Regardless of years of experience or stellar sales, you owe it to your business to commit to your social media education. Subscribe to relevant business and marketing blogs so you can start each day with the most up-to-date trends. Not enough computer time in your day? Try out a podcast that you can listen to on your phone and on the go.
* * *
If all goes well, a zombie apocalypse will never happen, but armed with these four rules you can be confident that your marketing efforts will serve your business well in any environment.
Commit yourself to dynamic approaches, because the only way to keep from turning into a soulless corpse is to keep you marketing efforts alive and kicking.
It's your turn: How do you keep your marketing fresh?