The Pokemon GO Takeover: What the Craze Means For Local Marketers

Jason Tabeling Written by: Jason Tabeling

Local businesses are catching on to the latest augmented reality trend by turning gamers into customers

As you’ve probably heard by now, Pokémon GO is an obsession that has taken over the Google Play and Apple iTunes store in a way that no other mobile game has done in the past. If you’re still trying to wrap your head around the idea of the game, Pokémon GO is a geo-location based mobile game that uses your phone’s camera to turn your local environment into an interactive game. The goal is to collect different Pokémon characters at various locations - or as the experts call them, Pokéstops - and build your skills at other locations – referred to as Pokémon Gyms. This game has already generated a $1.6MM daily revenue run rate – something that most business cannot claim in such a short time.

It doesn’t matter if you think the idea is brilliant or a nuisance, the game has developed a very active, engaged and dedicated audience – an audience that local businesses do not want to ignore.

The craze behind the game has created a golden opportunity for local marketers. Here are three things to consider to take advantage of this opportunity:

Find out if you are a Pokéstop or a Pokémon Gym

If you haven’t yet, the first thing your local business should do is download the game. From there, find out if you were one of the lucky locations these gamers will be visiting (a Pokéstop or a Pokémon Gym). These locations were predetermined by the game developers and are not currently able to be influenced. However, if you were one of these locations, you can expect a new set of customers to show up at your location.

Remember: There’s no such thing as bad Pokémon publicity

If you are a selected Pokéstop or not, there are very few external events (like apps) that create this volume of local foot traffic. Most of the latest apps are all about encouraging people to stay home and use their phones to make life easier. This is actually an app that gets people up and moving and out into the public.  Our advice? Welcome them in!  Think of creative offers or incentives that make people who might not normally be in your store feel welcomed. Develop ways to quickly tie in the Pokémon craze with your latest marketing campaign (think social media, giveaways, rewards, etc.). That way, you will become top of mind for a purchase the next time they are in market for your products and a recommended location for their social circle.

Create engaging content

The opportunity to post pictures or encourage gamers in your store to share their content with you is a massive earned media opportunity. As of earlier this week, there were over 8.5 million posts on Instagram alone using the Pokémon tag. People are searching, posting and talking about this topic. This content opportunity is a great reminder that engaging content can bring personality and authenticity to your business. Your business is not just a place of commerce – it’s an atmosphere and persona that should speak to your target audience. Even if it’s not Pokémon Go content, think about the broader reminder that this trend is for marketers. Great content comes from every day engagements with your customers and remembering what your customers are interested in.

As a local business owner, we know you have a lot on your plate, and having a group of gamers come into your store probably wasn’t on your list a week ago. However, this phenomenon is a great reminder of how marketing is constantly evolving. Just when you think you have it figured out, the digital world deals you a new opportunity.

The best part? It’s still early. Take advantage of the opportunity in front of you -- even if it means going outside your comfort zone -- and remember how timely marketing, outstanding customer service and engaging content can go a long way in interacting with your audience, both new and old. Happy hunting. #CatchEmAll

How has your small business used the Pokémon GO phenomena to your advantage? We want to know - let us know in a comment below!

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