5 Horror Movie Cliches That Apply to Marketing

Happy Halloween, marketers! How are you celebrating? I, for one, will be hosting a scary movie marathon of epic proportion. I love horror movies despite of (or perhaps because of) the fact that the characters are notorious for being, shall we say, less than logical. Whether they’re slaying zombies, running from a serial killer, or being haunted by evil spirits, I always find myself rolling my eyes at the screen when they inevitably make very poor choices.

You may be asking yourself what on earth this has to do with marketing. Well, the fact is that even the best marketers can make scary mistakes on the job. Here are some cringeworthy horror movie tropes that may be more relatable than you’d expect — and tips on how you can use marketing automation to avoid similar (but decidedly less deadly) errors in your work.

Cliche #1: Characters can’t see the ghosts right in front of their eyes.

There’s always that one stubborn character who doesn’t understand that his house is haunted. “Hmm, my kitchen chair just floated by my head. There must be a rational explanation for that,” he might say, unaware that a spirit is hovering inches from his face.

The Lesson: If you have no way to track your site visitors’ activities, they’re a lot like invisible ghosts you can’t interact with — and you have no real way of measuring the ROI of your digital efforts. This is where marketing automation comes in. You can use anonymous visitor tracking to see where visitors come from and exactly how they interact with your website. Then, when they convert into prospects, all their past activity is associated with their prospect profiles so you know what they’ve engaged with. It’s almost spooky how easy it is!

Cliche #2: “Guys, let’s split up!”

Is there a more overused and frustrating scary movie moment than when the de facto group leader suggests everyone split up to look for the villain? Haven’t they heard of the buddy system?!

The Lesson: While this may be a terrible idea in a scary film, it’s actually the one thing on this list that marketers should do. I don’t mean you should separate yourself from the rest of your team, but rather that you should embrace the fact that your database should be split up into different segments. There are lots of different ways to segment your email database and personalize each individual’s marketing content, from creating separate lists for clients and prospects, to more advanced segmentation ideas.

Cliche #3: Someone disappears from the group, and no one notices until it’s too late.

A group of mischievous teenage revelers is exploring a deserted house (because, you know, that’s a normal thing to do), and Jenny takes a left when the rest of the group takes a right. Too bad no one realizes she’s gone until they hear a scream come from the basement…

The Lesson: Think of Jenny as your prospective customer. You don’t need to hold her hand through the house (erm…the buying process), but you shouldn’t let her slip through the cracks, either. How can you make sure your leads don’t just disappear from your radar? Use lead nurturing to stay top-of-mind and automatically “drip” relevant content to your leads until they’re ready to be passed to sales.

Cliche #4: Everyone assumes the villain is dead when he’s just knocked out cold.

You know the drill: the characters start crying and hugging each other in relief and neglect to notice the man they thought was dead is now brandishing an axe behind them. Bummer.

The Lesson: Don’t assume someone can’t be revived, whether that someone is a horror movie villain or a cold lead in your database — but unlike the villain, you want your cold leads to be reawakened. You can use marketing automation to create drip campaigns that re-engage inactive prospects in your database by dripping them targeted content over time.

Cliche #5: Characters don’t learn from their mistakes.

Lots of horror movies have sequels — and threequels, “fourquels,” etc. You’d think after a bunch of kids disappeared from a summer camp, people would stay away from the area, but nope. That would defy the twisted logic of horror movies.

The Lesson: Repeating marketing mistakes is certainly less deadly than falling into the hands of a monster, but it can be very dangerous for a business. Automation features like multivariate testing allow you to avoid making the same mistake twice. You can test out different versions of your emails and landing pages to discover which are most effective.

If you ever find yourself surrounded by a coven of thirsty vampires, marketing automation (probably) won’t save you — but it can help you avoid scary marketing mistakes like these. What are some marketing mistakes you’ve made in the past? And on a more festive note, what are your Halloween plans? Let us know in the comments!

In the mood for some more Halloween fun? Take a look at all our spooky content in A Marketer’s Guide to Halloween.