For as long as I can remember, people have been pulling life lessons from film and television, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and share some marketing lessons that can be learnt from The Walking Dead.
I’ve been wanting to do this post for a long time now, but have been putting it off till nearer the date The Walking Dead actually starts (I’ve been counting down, I’m that excited!) so this has been a long time coming, so I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it!
- Don’t let your guard down. – This is a major thing in The Walking Dead. As soon as they let their guard down and get comfortable something bad happens. cough Negan cough*. We all know that in the apocalypse that things can go from bad to worse in a split second, and it only takes one second to change a situation. The lesson to be taken from this one is to always be on the ball with whatever your job role entails, whether it is social media, or designing ads – if you let your guard down, your competitors will get one up on you.
- Be willing to let go of legacy ideas. – It is easy to stick with what you know works, but that needs to stop! Maggie and her family were hell bent on staying on the farm and practically ignoring the fact that a zombie apocalypse had started, but once they had embraced the idea, they became a force to be reckoned with. It is important to remember that it isn’t about you, it is about the customers and everything you do should serve their needs and that is where you will find success.
- Build your team with purpose. – The creation of a team is central to the success of a team, whether in a zombie world or in an office somewhere in the world. Just because someone has the right skills, doesn’t mean they are right for the job. If someone looks brilliant on paper, they might not be brilliant in person. The right person is someone that fits in with the team, has a great personality and the culture of the company. Rick has it on point with his three questions, the first two could be any answer, but the one that matters is the ‘why’. People need a purpose, and asking why can be the best way to find that out.
- Prepare your team for emergencies. – This one comes as an obvious in terms with The Walking Dead considering their whole life is an emergency. When it comes to marketing however, it is still vitally important to ensure that people know what to do in case of an emergency. Your team needs to have training to deal with unexpected situations, like absences and workload increases. Cross-training your team protects the health and wellbeing of your team, department and company.
- Be versatile. – As on The Walking Dead, it is important to be versatile and learn as many different skills that you can. When teams are small and budgets are tight, sometimes you have to look at how you can transfer different skills set. Marketers often wear multiple skill hats. At the heart of it, if you understand your customer and what they need, you can use that knowledge to apply your skills to other areas. You might only have email marketing experience, but you can use those storytelling skills in other areas, such as social media to landing pages. You have to be adaptable to the ever changing landscape of marketing and PR.
- Basic can be effective. – Michonne is known as the ‘chick with the sword’ and Daryl is definitely known as the ‘bowman’. In a world where ammunition is gold, the ability to wield old school weapons has a certain advantage. It can be really easy to get swept up in new technologies and strategies but if you don’t have the right message and understanding of customers, you’ll be shooting blanks. Sometimes the basic tools available are the best ones. It’s all about understanding your audience.
So there you have it. The Walking Dead is good for life skills and career skills, but it also makes for good television, so it is a win win either way!