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Fresh Cuts

  • Writer's pictureDrew Donaldson

Dead Tech Dystopia: How to Train Your Zombie

Rotting-flesh-covered hands dig themselves up through the ground. Guttural groans emanate from scarred faces, once human, but no longer. Legs buckle awkwardly as the bones shift noisily beneath the skin.

Do these tropes sound familiar? They should. Practically every zombie movie in existence has similar images as part of its storyline. We’re talking Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland...the list goes on and on.

A soon-to-be blockbuster to join the ranks of zombie-inspired stories is a GroHaus original. Welcome to the trailer for Dead Tech Dystopia: How to Train Your Zombie. In it, you will learn that certain marketing technologies should have died a long time ago, but, despite mortal injuries, they are still walking amongst the living, sabotaging young entrepreneurs with their zombie shenanigans. However, some crafty small business owners enjoy playing with zombies and can do so without getting bit.

So, in this limited-time preview, enjoy learning about dead tech and how to train these zombies to work for you while remaining unscathed. Let’s do the monster mash!

Zombie #1: QR Codes

With origins in 1990s Japan (now that’s a time and place I’d like to see!), the quick-response (QR) code has been around for a while but didn’t gain real traction as a marketing tool until the 2000s. The more capable younger brother to the barcode, the QR code stores a lot of information in a small amount of space, which is why marketers found it to be a nifty physical device to reach customers digitally. And it can be if you know how to use it. Unfortunately, there are too many QR codes risks out there for marketers to capitalize on its potential, which is why GroHaus has volunteered to write the eulogy for this dead tech (whenever this zombie finds its final resting place).

Mortal Injuries:

  1. QR codes on subway advertisements. Use caution. Why? No, WiFi, dummy! You can’t scan a QR code without an internet connection. So, the misplacement of QR codes is a big reason why QR codes are risky to use.

  2. QR codes on television promos. Be careful. Why? A television QR code is only available for a few seconds, which is not enough time for consumers to find their phone, open the app, and scan. So, the mistiming of QR codes is another potential hazard.

  3. Other QR codes link to broken pages or poorly optimized mobile landing pages — some of the cardinal sins of the marketing world. Or it simply links to your website, which customers can access via a more accessible URL. So what’s the real benefit of a QR code? Nada.

There are just too many ways customers can have a bad experience with QR codes, and it only takes one bad experience to deter people. We don’t like to fail after effort. It hurts our pride. So, tread lightly on shaky QR code ground. You don’t want to end up with one foot in the marketing grave.

Training Protocol:

Still not scared of QR codes? Good for you. Here are some tips on how to train this zombie.

  1. Once you’ve chosen a QR generator to use and the type of content you’d like to advertise with it, make sure you can edit it later on. This means opting for a dynamic QR code instead of a static one. You will want the capability to revisit the QR code and change it depending on what your analytics reveal. Don’t get stuck in the QR-code mud. It’s smelly in there.

  2. Make your QR code brand-specific by customizing it. This means choosing a QR generator that offers greater design functionality, like Don’t waste an opportunity to market yourself by creating a QR code that looks just like all the others. You want your zombie to be special.

  3. Finally, consider the placement, timing, and destination of your QR code before you share it with the public. You want QR codes that improve marketing efficiency. It’s all about ease, convenience, and quality information.

Zombie #2: Snapchat

The instant-gratification millennial favorite, Snapchat became popular (circa 2011) for its magician-like appear/disappear act. This social media platform offers its users the ability to send a short message, usually in picture or video form, and then said message will explode into nothingness. The transitory nature of Snapchat is its main claim to fame. However, if you ever want to claim fame as a business owner, you should use Snapchat with caution, or else risk a permanent resting spot in the GroHaus graveyard.

Mortal Injuries:

According to an article published in the online business resource Entrepreneur, here are some big reasons why Snapchat isn’t such a snappy business tool, making it the winner of our Social Media Zombie Award (such an honor).

  1. Snapchat’s capability for users to share content with others is nonexistent. So much about scaling one’s business is dependent upon users spreading the word, which is why Facebook and Twitter have such functionality. In this way, you can shoot yourself on the marketing foot if you use Snapchat. And then you will end up walking like a zombie. Oh, the irony!

  2. Unless you are super crafty with a well-timed CTA within the Snapchat message (again, hard to do in 10 seconds), then you are really out of luck when it comes to directing customers to your website or other means of conversion. Snapchat does not offer outbound linking, which makes it easy to mismanage.

  3. Snapchat does not have a solid analytics platform, either; so, unless you are an analytics savant and can find alternative means to measure your performance, you might be limited in what marketing insight you can glean from your Snapchat campaign.

Just because something is trendy and you have the means to use it, doesn’t mean you actually should, especially if the propensity to misuse it is so high. Just ask the ghost of Myspace, who currently roams around the Crypt of Forgotten Social Media Platforms (located on the southwest corner of the GroHaus Graveyard if you care to visit some time).

Training Protocol:

Despite its eerie groaning and skin peeling, Snapchat still interests business owners as a marketing tool. Here are some insider secrets on how to train this zombie.

  1. When you first join Snapchat, make sure you create a business account (not a personal one). This will give you access to ad accounts, which will be useful to you as you create your first campaign. Just make your phone is fully charged. All of this must be done on a mobile device. This zombie is oh so trendy.

  2. You have 10 seconds for each Snapchat Ad, so you will want to make sure that in those ten seconds, you craft an ad that is highly engaging and interactive, squeezing in that CTA if you can. Also, two-thirds of existing ads use audio to enhance their products or services. Make sure you do as well. Mute zombies are just weird. Kelly uses a gif from Hocus pocus here with the zombie with the mouth sewn shut

  3. Once you pop open a can of Snapchat, you can’t stop. No really, you have to put forth daily effort for Snapchat to become the marketing tool you desire it to be. Snapchat Stories are an easy way to achieve this goal.

Bing Search Ads

Archnemesis to Google, the Microsoft-owned search engine Bing is an onomatopoetic avenue small business owners can take to market their product. Bing has a big benefit of ad placement on Yahoo and AOL (search engines also owned by Microsoft), and it has a smaller competitor pool, which means chances are, your ads pop up first in a search. If you have the start-up moola and wherewithal to use Bing, by all means, do so!

However, there are strategic risks ingrained in its use that should be considered before using Bing for your advertisement needs. Search-engine zombies...they’re a tricky breed.

Mortal Injuries:

  1. Google, over the last six months, has had an average of 89 billion visits per month. It is the number one search engine worldwide, which means it has the largest consumer reach worldwide as well. Bing, on the other hand, had an average of 1 billion visits for the same time scale. It’s like comparing tiny crab apples to genetically engineered, “Honey, I Blew Up the Apple” super-sized apples. There is no comparison. So if you are considering using Bing, keep in mind that your advertisements have to be super spot on to counteract its stubby, T-rex arm reach.

  2. Bing also has a complicated interface, which creates a slower rollout and fewer automated bidding options. Troubleshooting such problems is not for the faint of heart. And if your heart palpitates at a cricket chirping, you may fumble using Bing.

  3. Broad keyword matches on Bing are problematic because you will still pair with a lot of extraneous search words, which means your crafty advertisement will pop up in front of people who aren’t interested. You’ll have to be pretty slick on the keyword front, and it’s a game that is easy to lose on Bing.

Bing campaigns can be successful in the right hands. Too many of us have the wrong hands (switched at birth or something), which is why the Grim Reaper often comes a-knockin’ (I hope he’s like Death from Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey).

Training Protocol:

Still ready to get your Bing on? Put on your armor and get ready to train this dead beast.

  1. Using Bing’s PPC advertising program (pay per click), you bid on keywords, resulting in the display of your ad when those keywords are searched by users. Just make sure to set up targeting filters when you do so. This will help you control where your advertisements pop up. For instance, if you only want your ad to appear on AOL, you can filter out Bing and Yahoo. The more control you have over your zombie the better (zombie leashes are on sale now at the GroHaus gift store).

  2. Consider Bing’s users as you consider using Bing. According to Hubspot, they tend to be interested in “financial and shopping services,” so if your business aligns with those categories, hop on the Bing bus. Destination: conversion and ROI. Bing users also tend to be part of the older and wealthier generation, so if you are trying to reach millennials or Gen Z, you might want to give your bus ticket to someone else.

  3. Bing has the benefit of social extensions, which allows you to track your following on major social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It also allows viewers to see your following as well, and if you are quite the Zombie trainer, your following is probably pretty solid. Make sure to enable the social extension function on Bing to show as much.

Print Advertising Promos

Welcome to the world of print advertising, where the cremated remains of hard-copy advertising can often be found. Why? Well, many times the risks of using print advertising outweigh the benefits. So, if you are brave enough to tackle the zombies that have survived, be sure you are aware of how they’ve been mortally wounded (i.e., promotion injuries!).

Mortal Injuries

  1. Promotions, typically in the form of coupons, are the lifeblood of print advertising campaigns. They act as physical call-to-actions. Without them, you have no way of acquiring new customers or measuring if your efforts are successful. You are dead in the water (and it smells fishy in there).

  2. Generic promos like a coupon for “15% off” will gain you some traction, but solely using them will stunt your marketing campaign growth. This is because having a consistently generic discount program can set you on the Discounters Dilemma Path, which leads straight to the GroHaus Graveyard.

  3. The ultimate way to end the life of a print ad is to botch the cosmetic work. For the love of all that is good in the marketing world, please proofread your print advertisements! Spelling and grammar are important in marketing campaigns, especially in channels where you can’t readily fix the mistake with a quick click (i.e. print!).

Just open your mailbox and you’ll see that print advertising still exists. Before it shuffles off this mortal coil, make sure you heed the warnings sent from above (GroHaus likes to hang out in hot air balloons sometimes).

Training Protocol:

The training of this zombie is pretty straightforward. Don’t do the don’ts.

  1. Always provide a promotion to boost customer conversion. It’s the little-known rule of print advertising. And we are sharing it with you...because we care about your zombie.

  2. Avoid the grave by mixing your promotions up; offer a free e-book or tip guide every once in a while (instead of just a coupon) and reap the benefits of lead generation.

  3. Take the time to go over the diction and syntax with an editing fine-tooth comb (also available for purchase at the GroHaus gift store). You only have one chance to make a first impression in the print ad realm; make sure it’s a good one. You want your zombie looking pretty.

SMS Advertising

Our lives are comprised of two things: food and text messaging. And really, text messaging is like the food of digital lives; we rely heavily upon it to survive. It’s no wonder, then, that businesses wanted to hop on this sustenance train.

And so, SMS advertising was born. Short message service (SMS) marketing is when a business sends text messages to customers (who have opted in) to receive important information like limited-time offers or critical updates. Its speedy delivery time and speedy read-time, which helped retain customers and bolster brands, were both contributing factors to its initial success. However, where there are peaks, there are valleys. And SMS advertising is in one massive “Land Before Time” customer-misuse valley. Here are the current reasons why SMS advertising has turned into a zombie.

Mortal Injuries

  1. It’s rainin’ dollar bills, y’all...only the monetary precipitation is coming from your wallet. According to Hubspot, the bigger the size of your contact list, the more hefty the price of sending SMS messages. So, it’s almost like you are getting fiscally punished when your business starts growing. Talk about a paradox! So, just know that if you use SMS advertising you run the risk of exorbitant fee scarring. And those types of scars tend to be permanent.

  2. The next fail lies in the one-way street style of communication. A common misuse of SMS advertising is to treat it solely as a means to disseminate information. If a person who receives an SMS cannot send a follow-up text to facilitate ongoing dialogue, then the service becomes less effective.

  3. Let’s talk Jailhouse Rock, now. And no, we aren’t deep diving into Elvis Presley’s number one hits and their implications on modern marketing (though, that would be an interesting blog to read…). We are rather talking about the ramifications of illegal SMS advertising. Due to Covid-19, SMS advertising skyrocketed, and so did the potential for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Zombies can be dangerously expensive, especially when lawsuits are involved.

SMS advertising is a risky business and we all know what happens when we take risks that should be avoided. An untimely end awaits, like the fate of any scary movie character walking slowly up the stairs to investigate an unknown noise. Just don’t do it!

Training Protocol:

By now, you are a solid zombie trainer. One last round of training, and you will become the Mr. Miyagi of zombie karate kids (imagine that!).

  1. Make sure you have enough start-up capital to fund all facets of your business, including your SMS advertising campaign. SMS messages tend to cost a cent or two for each message sent, so do some calculations ahead of time to make sure you have the financial wiggle room to accommodate it.

  2. Make your SMS a feedback platform instead of a big dish of information you are hoping your customers will dig into. This could involve creating review requests using services like The point is you want to interact with your customers in a valuable way. People like to feel valued. It makes them feel warm and tingly like they are wearing a Snuggie.

  3. Want to avoid a $47 million lawsuit? Make sure you are aware of the risks involved when crafting an SMS campaign, like sending text messages without permission. Knowledge is power, folks. Learn about how to fail while on the path toward success. And also, watch out for Zombies along the way; they like to hide in bushes.

GroHaus: We Know Zombies

Don’t let those zombie graveyard hands pull you under; get trained on how to escape the grave with GroHaus’s newest box-office hit, coming soon to a theater near you. Did you enjoy this sneak peek? If so, sign up today for more quality intel and guidance from our dedicated marketing specialists.

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