Tag Archives: zombie

What “Fear the Walking Dead” Taught Me About Marketing Strategy

Yes, I’m talking about zombies again.

As a fan of the AMC series “The Walking Dead,” I’ve also enjoyed its spinoff, “Fear the Walking Dead.”  For those of you not immersed in zombieana, “Walking Dead” started a few weeks into a zombie pandemic while “Fear” started just before the event.


Your tax dollars at work!

What do all these living dead shows have to do with marketing strategy?  Simple.  “Fear” has reminded me of one of the key elements of marketing strategy: work around what you don’t know and with what you do know.

In “Fear,” we see people struggling to make sense of a world in which they realize they don’t know a lot of key things.  At the start of the show, they don’t know how to kill zombies (hint: aim for the head).  They don’t know how zombies behave, something we’ve come to learn in “Walking Dead.”  At the very beginning, many people simply think the zombies are in the grip of drugs or some terrible virus.

So, what do they know?  They know something very important, something that also pertains to marketing strategy.  As Satre said, “hell is other people.”

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How to Make the Most of Zombie Time

In my last post, I recommended that strategy teams spend 10% of their time–uncompensated by the client–looking for challenges that most marketers don’t even know exist.  I call this concept “zombie time” as a nod to the book and movie “World War Z,” in which we learn that Israel anticipated the zombie apocalypse because they routinely assigned intelligence analysts to imagine the unimaginable.

So, assuming you haven’t received training from Mossad, how do you do that?

To begin with, it helps to have a knack for asking stupid questions.  So, as Shock G used to say, “let’s get stupid!


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Back to the Future: Best Day & Time To Mail Rises from the Grave

Folks, things have gotten so bad that I’ve intentionally mashed up to movie tropes: “Back to the Future” and zombies.

Let me back up.  Email marketers–especially retailers–have done a pretty good job of jumping on the opt-down bandwagon.  If you haven’t heard the term, I refer to the practice of letting email subscribers who want to unsubscribe from you choose a more relaxed mailing frequency, such as weekly or monthly.


Screenshot 2015-11-23 08.45.12

Oh, Brooks Brothers, I wish I knew how to quit you.

While opt-down gives marketers a powerful tool for retention, it also forces us to revisit a debate that has raged since AOL accounted for the biggest number of email addresses: best day of week and time of day to mail.

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