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

  1. 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.
  2. Stay on top of statistics with sites like Pew Internet that offer up-to-date insights into American life, Internet tendencies, and business trends.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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image of Kelly Gregorio

Kelly Gregorio works at Advantage Capital Funds, a small businesses loan provider. She writes about topics that affect entrepreneurs. Read her posts at the Small Business Center blog.