Every horror movie has an antagonist and a protagonist. There’s the person who is doing the chasing and the person who is running away. You’ve got Freddie Kreuger and Jason, serial killers who terrorize their audience. You’ve got the horror movies with strange supernatural creatures that no one knows who to counter. Then you’ve got zombie movies.
Across the board, zombie movies have one thing in common and that’s the fact that people fight back. Every zombie movie has a plan or a strategy for tackling the problem. Sure there’s fear and mayhem, but there’s also a plan.
Does the climate sound familiar? It should. It’s a perfect describer for the world of marketing: the unknown with occasional mayhem, but there’s a plan. So what advice about our world can be further from our favorite zombie movies?
Separate Yourself From the Crowd
At the end of 28 Days Later, we saw our protagonist survive the Zombie apocalypse because they retreated to a farmland outside the city. In every zombie movie, the goal is to be remote. Now there’s a difference between being remote and being cut off. Cut off means you have no access or information about the outside world, which can be dangerous. However, remote means you’re separate from the pack but still can get access if need. This works both ways because you’re also controlling what gets in.
Marketing works the same way. You want to be aware of what’s going on but you don’t want to be just another body in a large and overwhelming crowd. Create some distance to give you perspective and control – as well as creating exclusivity.
Viral Happens Quick
In zombie films that are based on viral infections, it’s safe to say that it happens rapidly. In World War Z, there was about a 13-second count between bite and transformation before the zombie went on the attack. Viral in our world works the same way. The question is how are you going to respond to it.
In World War Z, nations around the world from Israel to North Korea had different strategies for containing a viral outbreak. While this works for some of them, the problem with containment is that you’re not tackling the source. This is true for whether you’re dealing with a viral attack on your brand, a competitor’s viral message, or our own – it’s always smartest to get to the source so you can either control the spread or manipulate it to trigger it again.
In other words, you want to understand the thought process that occurs in split second that would convert someone from reading or seeing the message to transferring it to their community of people.
Your Instincts Are Usually Right
Marketing used to be about inspiration, and now it’s become a science and data controlled industry. And yet, instincts are usually not only correct but they’re a way of saving time through faster decision making. Take Shaun of the Dead where our hero knew the owner of a bar they frequented must have had a weapon behind the counter – which he did. If they had gotten to that stronghold earlier without the interference and second guessing, they probably wouldn’t have lost as many resources. Rule of thumb: trust your instincts, especially if they’ve been right in the past.
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