The marketer’s quick and dirty guide to Pokémon Go

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Today, the Durham Bulls are opening up their iconic baseball field to avid Pokémon hunters hoping to catch the elusive pocket monsters that are taking over the world (and our lives). The Bulls will charge people just to walk in the door in hopes of finding small digital creatures lurking around the field, and anticipate a massive turnout not unlike actual game days. And no, there isn’t a game today – they are just capitalizing on Pokémon GO marketing. If you’re asking yourself why you should care, we’re about to tell you.

Pokémon Go marketing:

Pokémon GO is a Nintendo and Niantic Labs gaming collaboration that combines elements of augmented reality with the wildly popular Pokémon franchise. Using your smartphone’s camera, you can search for Pokémon in the real world as the game guides you to local hot spots, historic landmarks, and hidden gems in your city where the creatures are hiding. It’s not uncommon to see grown players and children alike scanning the world with their smartphones hoping to catch a glimmer of an unsuspecting monster. The app-based game has transformed people’s lunch breaks, dog walks, and errands forever. … And Pokémon GO marketing is about to transform your business. 

What if my business is already a pokéstop?:

Niantic Labs has compiled a list of geo-based hangouts where Pokémon like to congregate or play based on user input. In the past, businesses could even submit themselves as a Pokéstop or Pokémon gym if they had a cool story or interesting space to share with the world. Due to the overwhelming popularity of Pokémon GO and the subsequent influx of submission requests as marketers and business owners realized the untapped potential of luring Pokémon (and potential customers … we mean hunters) to their location, Niantic Labs has temporarily suspended this capability.

If you’re one of the lucky businesses that is already tagged as a Pokéstop, you may have noticed an uptick in foot traffic as players visit your store. Instead of turning away Pokémon players (we will admit, Pokémon hunters’ blank stares and distracted demeanor can make them somewhat hazardous – or at least annoying – to the rest of the world), invite them into your business with Pokémon GO marketing tactics. Or even better, get in on the game. You can use an in-game “lure” to attract Pokémon creatures to your business for 30-minute windows. Go ahead and announce you’ll be having a Pokémon happy hour (lure included) or flash sale Pokémon frenzy and watch the gamers, and customers, roll in. The game’s popularity will only increase, so don’t be afraid to find creative ways to engage this new audience.

Pokémon GO has given business owners a way to generate foot traffic at their brick and mortar establishments like no other geo-based or augmented reality program has done in the past. Niantic Labs has even alluded to future sponsorship and marketing opportunities inside the game so companies can leverage the Pokémon GO marketing potential. For now, bust out the chalkboard signs and Yelp reviews to let this alternate universe know you’re worth a visit.

But what if there are no pokéstops in sight?:

Don’t worry if you haven’t been identified as a Pokéstop yet. There are still plenty of opportunities to take advantage of this hyper-trend. Log on to your local MeetUp.com chapter or register an event with your local Chamber of Commerce for Pokémon GO enthusiasts to socialize. Although your space may not be a Pokémon hot spot, that doesn’t mean players won’t congregate together if you give them the opportunity to do so (after all, they may find a few Pokémon nearby anyway). And voila, suddenly you have a whole group of potential customers at your fingertips. Offering a discount to Pokémon players never hurt either. If your business doesn’t need a boost of traffic, simply sharing articles about the Pokémon trend, or local insights into where to find them, can engage users with your social media community in new and meaningful ways. Engagement is the key to conversion, purchases, and sharing, so don’t underestimate the potential of a good Pokémon article.

Taking advantage of these types of social or pop culture trends gives marketers an opportunity to engage with customers who might not have noticed them otherwise. Trust us, they may not seem to be paying attention to the real world, but Pokémon GO players are highly engaged with other enthusiasts. Embracing the Pokémon GO marketing craze is a broad, viral platform to connect with prospective customers who are hungry to connect to get more of this new, exciting world. Aligning your business with the Pokémon trend gives you an instant boost of popularity – or at least curiosity – for players and passerbys alike.

For ideas on how your business might benefit from a few pocket monsters, give your local Orlando marketing agency a call. We aren’t saying we’re obsessed or anything, but we know a thing or two about what attracts Pokémon fans to your place of business.


Update!

More than 6 months from when Pokemon Go was created (see above), let’s explore how quickly its popularity came to an end, despite how wildly obsessed people were, and why the phenomenon turned out to be just a fad.

What is Pokemon Go?

Pokémon GO is a Nintendo and Niantic Labs gaming collaboration that combines elements of augmented reality with the wildly popular Pokémon franchise. Using your smartphone’s camera, you can search for Pokémon in the real world as the game guides you to local hot spots, historic landmarks, and hidden gems in your city where the creatures are hiding. It’s not uncommon to see grown players and children alike scanning the world with their smartphones hoping to catch a glimmer of an unsuspecting monster.  At its height, Pokémon GO had 45 million daily active users.The app-based game had literally transformed people’s lunch breaks, dog walks, and errands. … And Pokémon GO even started to transform businesses.

Our advice when this game was at its peak was to become a “Pokestop” and then advertise that you were one using a chalkboard or Yelp, so on and so on.

Why did it “die”?

Because of Pokemon Go’s precipitous decline, the game has been labeled a fad. But, what went wrong? Some argue that the game had a lot of missing features, while others say the game got boring & didn’t introduce new features in a timely manner to keep their interest. Besides failing to introduce new features, Pokemon Go also removed popular ones.

What is going through Nintendo’s head?

While improvements and additions to the game have been made in the form of the buddy system, a revamped tracker and holiday events, there’s much more work to do in order for Pokemon Go to gain back its popularity. But, some people believe that Niantic is up to the challenge. You know what they say…only time will tell.

What happens if it makes a comeback?

We’re not thinking that’s likely, but hey, you never know! What we do know is that Pokemon Go tried to make a “limited-time celebration” game for Valentine’s day that was only available from 11:00 A.M. PST on February 8, 2017, to 11:00 A.M. PST on February 15, 2017, to encourage players to grab their valentine, get out, and explore the world around them, but it didn’t go over too well. In fact, many people didn’t even know it was happening.

For ideas on how your business might benefit from a few pocket monsters if a come back occurs, give your local Orlando marketing agency a call. We aren’t saying we’re obsessed or anything, but we know a thing or two about what attracts Pokémon fans to your place of business.

 

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