What's that, groaning and rapping insistently on your windowpane? It's the sound of opportunity knocking. Opportunity in the form of -- well, if you haven't guessed, zombies.
If you've been marooned on an uninhabited island without cellphone coverage the past year or two, here is the news in a nutshell: Zombies are huge. The financial site 24/7 Wall Street estimates the flesh-hungry undead are currently a $5 billion annual sales juggernaut -- and Halloween costumes are just the beginning.
The zombie apocalypse -- metaphor, some would say, for our economic state -- is the subject of smash-hit AMC television show The Walking Dead, MTV's cult zombie-vampire-werewolf satire Death Valley and the hilarious classic-lit parody Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, just to name a few.
Best news of all: Zombies are not real, and won't eat your flesh. Instead, they're a market opportunity any entrepreneur can feast on.
How can you get your slice of the zombie profits? Here are four ideas -- and they're not just for Halloween, either.
- Hold a zombie night. Bring shoppers in with a zombie costume contest. Serve some ghoulish snacks and watch Night of the Living Dead while you offer some newly reanimated special deals. Or create a weekly event and watch the remaining Walking Dead episodes in-store. Cash in by selling zombie comics -- the Marvel Zombies series even chronicles an alternative world where the superheroes have become zombies.
- Add zombie merchandise. Given the current wide array available, there are zombie-themed goods appropriate for nearly any business. C'mon, anybody could have a little bowl of zombie candies on the checkout counter.
- Rent a booth at a zombie convention. Yes, zombies are so hot now they are beginning to gather in large groups sometimes to confer about, well, whatever is important to creatures who can no longer reason or talk intelligibly. Fortunately, these zombies are really still alive and have wallets. Check for any local ZombieCon action in your town and offer deals to the visiting undead fans, or take a booth at the event.
- Sponsor a zombie walk. It may seem unlikely, but zombies have been turned into a force for good. Zombie walks are charity events where people pay for the privilege of dressing up and staggering about en masse in their favorite zombie attire and makeup, with the proceeds going to charity. Support the effort -- be a program sponsor, get your company name on a zombie T-shirt, or sell food to the hungry hordes.
Will you cash in on the zombie trend? Leave a comment and tell us your angle. And remember to lock those doors tonight!