7 Marketing Lessons I Learned from Zombie Apocalypse Survival Rules

by Adam Luckeroth, on Oct, 29, 2015

In Zombieland, a hilariously bizarre Zom-Com (short for Zombie Comedy, yes that’s a real genre of film) movie about surviving in a post zombie apocalypse America, the main character “Columbus” credits his survival to his strict adherence to a specific set of rules.


These rules were created by Columbus based on his experiences while traveling and avoiding zombies. Think of them as survival reminders.

Interestingly enough, and in the spirit of the Halloween season, several of these rules can be repurposed as lessons for effective marketing.

The Rules

1. Cardio - To escape a pursuing zombie you will need to out-run it, and this means being in good shape.

What this means for marketers: To catch (convert) your target persona can be a long-term endeavor. You need to have the basics covered such as content, social, email, SEO and paid search and the stamina to continue nurturing and building relationships throughout the entire customer journey.

2. The Double Tap - When in doubt, don't get stingy with your bullets.

What this means for marketers: Most people won’t respond to just one attempt. You need to create multiple touch points and continue to reach out with your message.

3. Beware of Bathrooms - You are at your most vulnerable while sitting on the toilet, so always take extra care.

What this means for marketers: Don’t get caught off guard. Make sure that phone, chat, email and support systems work correctly and provide a consistently positive experience for customers and prospects at all times.

4. Seatbelts - You won't be driving along easy roads anymore: with numerous things to avoid you need to be ready for a crash!

What this means for marketers: Similar to not getting caught off guard, you should prepare for things to go wrong, and have a plan for when they do. For example, double check your call to action links before sending out an email update to prevent those on the receiving end from clicking through to a dead link.

5. Travel Light (originally rule #7) - While trying to get away from a mass of zombies, the last thing you want is to be heaving luggage around.

What this means for marketers: It’s easy to do too much, and try to target everyone with different tools and messaging. Instead, narrow your focus to the right personas and profiles with a concise buyer journey that provides the information that they need to move forward.

6. Don’t Be A Hero (originally rule #17) - Possibly the most important rule of all. Don't risk your own life just to make yourself look good.

What this means for marketers: First of all, please do be a hero to your customers and prospects by exceeding their needs. But at the same time, don’t cover up mistakes or hide the truth. If something goes wrong, being upfront and honest about it can build trust while lying is a sure-fire way to destroy your reputation (and invite lawsuits).

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7. Limber Up (originally rule #18) - Before going into a zombie-infested area, you will need to prepare for the impending running by limbering up.

What this means for marketers: To stay at the top of your game, always be studying, trying new tools, implementing, measuring and improving.

In the movie, Columbus mentioned 33 total rules for survival in Zombieland. Which others would you apply to marketing?

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