Marketer, you’re not alone.

We know you’re drawing up marketing plans you need your team to use. You’re pretty sure they haven’t read it yet.

You have written documentation to get people using the link between email and a CRM so all the data gets coded correctly. And you’re sure no one is reading that based on the questions you’re getting.

Worst of all? The script for your boss is left on her desk and in her email and you know that’s not being read.

How do you get them to read?


Personal story: I had to create a messaging bible for the Red Cross. I needed folks to use it if disaster struck. In the back of the book and in the table of contents I had clearly labeled “Crisis…Zombie Attack.” How did I know the book was at least acknowledged as to the contents? Those who looked asked if I had hit my head for writing about zombies.

This is the Brown M&M theory. When the band Van Halen was at its height, it had huge productions being staged in far-flung venues that were not used to having to have that many plugs for that many
amps, or supports to hold a lead singer who would fly over the crowd.

In the middle of the technical contract was a rule there could be no brown M&Ms. If the band walked in and saw one brown M&M, they knew someone didn’t read the contract, and to keep everyone safe, they needed to review all the scaffolding and other works that had been set up by contractors at the venue.

If you have a lot of technical stuff you need people to actually read, throw in something notable that they would remark upon.

You too can include zombies in your instructions on how to use marketing technology tools, or your drafts of event calendars, or your lists of responsibilities the team needs to take on. Embed it in your work and you’ll know for sure, for everyone else’s sake, who has to be walked through the work to make sure everything gets done. After a while your team will play “spot the zombie” to prove they’re not the weakest link.

Not sure about it? Spot the zombie in this marketing glossary.

It worked, didn’t it?

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