Is Pokémon GO the next big marketing tool?

The word around town, is Pokémon...

If you’ve been on social media over the last week, you’ve unavoidably heard about the new phenomenon Pokémon GO the free mobile game that has skyrocketed to the top of Apple and Android app stores in record time.

Is Pokémon GO the next big marketing tool?
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Millions of people are using the app on a daily basis in a bid to “catch ‘em all”, to interact with the world around them and that includes other users and physical locations. The app itself has proven to have a positive impact on users’ mental and physical health.

In one of the most fascinating digital trends of recent years, the app developed by Nintendo looks set to challenge young internet companies which focus on increasing foot traffic for small businesses and may end up playing a major role in brand marketing.

What’s it all about?

The game involves players walking around real-life neighbourhoods to hunt down virtual cartoon characters on their smartphone screens and has more than 65 million users in the United States alone, a mere seven days after launch. That is more American users than Twitter!

The past week will go down in history as the point when augmented reality became a real marketing tool.

While there have been a number of augmented reality experiments and projects over the last few years, nothing has become a mainstream marketing engine quite like Pokémon GO. But what exactly are the features making the app popular in the first place, and how can that provide you with great marketing potential?

How can it impact your business for the better?

Of course you want your business to be a part of this huge hype, but some businesses naturally have a better opportunity at this than others. For example, businesses in busy areas or areas with a lot of foot traffic normally will naturally attract more players. Additionally, if your business is by a hot spot (such as a Poké-stop or Gym), you’ll have a massive advantage.

Don’t panic if you’re not located near a hotspot, you can purchase a ‘Lure’ in the app itself. Businesses can buy these virtual Lure Modules for thirty minutes to attract Pokémon, but remember that with Pokémon comes human players, or as they’re known in the game – trainers! And these trainers spend human cash.

Café and restaurant owners will particularly benefit from lures, as trainers will want to stay around the area for a while and trade tips with other players, meaning they may buy items such as snacks and drinks while they wait.

Why not also trade tips with trainers to generate more attention for your business? Use your various social media channels to let people know what’s happening in your location. For instance, if one of your customers catches a rare Pokémon at your location, post about it and the chances are you’ll get some incoming foot traffic looking to see if they can find it too.

Many shops are attracting customers by advertising themselves as “Poké-Stops” a place where gamers can grab new Pokémon balls and increase their level of power within the app. Experts said it is only a matter of time before major brands jump on the bandwagon.

If you cannot offer Poké-Stop status to your customers, why not offer yourself simply as a battery charging station. Due to Pokemon GO being so battery intensive, trainers will need to charge their phones often while playing. Take advantage of this by offering a phone charging station for gamers who need to top up their battery juice, while they’re using your business there’s a high chance they’ll purchase goods from you too.

Pokémon, your business and social media

Pokémon GO’s instant popularity appears to be the result of nostalgia for the classic 20-year-old cartoon franchise and players’ desire to win kudos within the game by capturing as many characters as possible. Use this to your advantage on social media by providing your followers with ‘throwbacks’ yourselves, you’ll notice how much users love interacting with nostalgia as it makes you appear as a human rather than a faceless brand.

Some brands such as Dominos have begun riding the Pokémon GO wave by sharing tongue-in-cheek Facebook updates to encourage visitors to play Pokémon Go, as well as to take and share selfies using the hashtag #pokeselfie. Take a look and see how this can be applied to your own business!

Use social media to your advantage, and use it as a platform to offer certain deals to Pokémon GO users. Why not provide deals to certain trainers lucky enough to have a rare Pokémon? Or discounts to certain teams (there is Team Mystic – Blue, Team Valor – Red, and Team Instinct – Yellow).

And finally…

At just over a week old, Pokémon GO has already radically impacted our society and the way we use our smart phones forever. The Pokémon GO craze made Nintendo’s shares soar since the game’s debut on Thursday, adding billions to the company’s market value and shows no signs of slowing down.

Put these marketing techniques to good use in your own company, and you’ll inevitably see an increase in both customer acquisition and retention. Keep your eyes peeled for new developments in augmented reality, and let us know if you find any rare Pokémon!

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