I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve always had a fascination with Zombies. Maybe it was because I remember watching “Night of the Living Dead” when I was around 6 years old, or maybe I’m just always preparing myself for the inevitable zombie apocalypse, but I always find myself comparing various things to zombies, or assessing how I would survive in a given location. But I just happened to have a brilliant idea. As a marketer, what lessons can I learn from zombies? So I went straight to the tape, marathoning through seasons of “The Walking Dead” and watching all the classics.

What Zombies Can Teach Us About Marketing


Let’s be real, zombies are slow. Very slow. As a result the living are able to easily walk away from them. While this may appear as a glaring weakness, it is actually a genius tactic employed by the walkers. You see, zombies are determined to get your brains, and it doesn’t matter if they have to walk after you for minutes or days, they’re prepared for the long haul. And eventually, you will get tired, you will need to sleep, you’ll need to stop… and NOM! The zombie will get you!

As a marketer what can we learn from this? For starters, the value of the slow play. In certain situations you may think that pushing for a hard sell over and over will increase your business, but often times going in the other direction can yield better results. Rather than being “pushy” with your leads, try playing it slow and creep up on your prey. Nurture them with thought leadership and interesting content. Make them think they’re safe, and then sooner or later they’ll convert into a paying customer. They can only run away from you for so long. Below you can view a good 10 step example of drip marketing campaign provided by SimplyCast.

Using a slow nurture strategy like the one above, you can see how the campaign pushes the prospect to sign up for a yearly subscription by engaging and providing value along the way.


So a single zombie may not strike fear into your heart immediately. Maybe you don’t realize that inevitably it will catch you, but you know what will strike fear deep into your heart? A whole swarm of zombies. You might be able to survive running from one, but when you’re surrounded and getting chomped at from every angle the result is inevitable. The same goes for marketing. If you just chase after your prospects through marketing blasts, they have a higher likelihood of being able to avoid you. But if you market like a zombie, you swarm your leads form every direction.

By running multi-channel marketing campaigns you attack your leads by email, social media, retargeting, Paid ads, and even profile them so you can create organic content that meets their needs. The result will be an increased probability that you’ll engage and close your prospects.

An example of this would be TopShop’s “Wish You Were At TopShop” campaign where they combined the retail floor with Instagram and Facebook. TopShop provided in-store shoppers with free style and make-up sessions, and then asked to create digital postcards through Instagram, and then upload the photos to Facebook.

The campaign resulted in increased foot traffic, mass coverage through over 640 blogs, increased presence and exposure of their Facebook page and thousands of images leveraged on Instagram. For their target demographic, they were able to create a completely immersive experience that surrounded prospective customers through every channel that they frequented.


The most jump worthy scenes in any zombie flick are the ones where the zombie surprises the unsuspecting victim from the shadows, behind a door, under a sheet, or wherever. The element of surprise is one of the best tactics in the arsenal of the living dead, and even according the Harvard Business Review is also valuable for marketers.

Surprise and Delight has become a popular marketing strategy, especially with the rise in social media. In this strategy, companies “randomly” select an individual or group to receive a gift or experience. The elements needed to create a Surprise and Delight marketing campaign are simple: authenticity, not too cheesy, and wow factor. This type of campaign enables brands to spread their message by word of mouth or social discussion, shows a genuine care for customers, and of course a new and exciting experience.

With Christmas only a couple months ago, I’d like for us to remember this Surprise and Delight campaign by WestJet.

On Christmas Eve, WestJet selected a random flight and rewarded customers with gifts that ranged from Android tablets to big screen TVs. The video by WestJet shows Santa (or someone impersonating Santa Claus) ask passengers what they want for Christmas, and WestJet volunteers purchased the gifts, wrapped them and had them waiting for the passengers when they landed. The result was one of the most awesome viral marketing campaigns that surprised and delighted.


Market Like a Zombie

Whether you’re creeping, swarming, or surprising, using best practices in zombie-ness you can better engage your customers, expand your reach, and even close more business. So next time you’re watching “The Walking Dead” and you see a zombie, don’t just think of a brainless walker, consider that these are creatures that are pioneering modern day marketing practices. Take a second to observe these zombies because they may be the key to your next marketing campaign.