What Pokémon GO Can Teach Business Owners About Marketing?
by Josh Amidon
You’ve probably seen groups of kids and nerdy adults (calm down, I say that as a fellow nerd) running around outside with their heads buried in their phones trying to capture those pesky little Pokémon and mumbling something about having to “catch them all.” Last Wednesday (7/6/2016), the augmented reality game Pokémon GO launched and by the weekend it swept the nation. Right out of the gate, the game had more users than Tinder and by this Friday (7/15/16), it’s expected to have more users than the Twitter app!
Seeing as how this game shot to such popularity in such a short amount of time (and with almost zero promotion), this marketing nerd had to ask himself: What can Pokémon GO teach small business owners about marketing?
Loyalty = Free Promotion: As I’ve said above, this game was released with zero hype or fanfare and very little promotion. The game’s developer, Niantic, relied almost entirely on social media driven word-of-mouth. Niantic made sure that the core Pokémon base knew about the game and sat back as they spread the word for them.
Timing Really Is Everything: Why do you think this game was released when it was? Rumor is Niantic sat on this completed game for months. Why? Because they knew people were less likely to go outside and play the game in winter due to weather.
A Little Reward Is A Good Thing: One common marketing principal is “reward your customers for their continuing investment into your brand.” In the game, players are encouraged to keep playing by getting bonuses and incentives. Your company should be doing the same with your most loyal customers. Throw in something for free or give them a discount for being a long time customer – this ensures they’ll keep coming back for more.
All Hail Mobile As The New King: As if you didn’t have enough reasons to bring your company into the 21 century? This game further reinforces the concept of mobile marketing. People’s mobile devices are becoming their passport to every aspect of their life. If your company isn’t on their mobile device, then you might as well not exist.
Branding Makes The Difference: Did you know that Pokémon GO isn’t a 100% original game concept? It’s based off another app that didn’t really do all that well. Attaching the Pokémon brand to this unsuccessful product made all the difference! Branding should be at the forefront of everything that you do, this is a textbook example of why.
If you will excuse me, there’s a Bulbasaur in our parking lot and I have to go catch him. What? Don’t judge me, it’s for researching purposes!