By Francis Skipper, Partner, 451 Marketing
If you’re not one of the over 21 million active users playing Pokémon Go, chances are you’re shaking your head at the sight of grown adults – smartphones at arm’s length – attempting to “catch” virtual Pokémon. If you’re a business owner, you may want to stop laughing and start paying attention. You may not be ready to hit the streets and hunt your own Pokémon, but doesn’t mean you can’t reap the business benefit from the recent hype.
It’s unlikely that this phenomenon will be passing any time soon, so it’s a good idea to claim your stake ahead of the crowd. As with other platforms that explode, the inevitable monetization phase will come. This will likely take shape in the form of “official sponsorship” and disruptive ad units. Here’s how your business can start taking advantage of the Pokémon Go craze before the market gets saturated:
Get to Know Your Pokemon – Download the game (it’s free!) and scope out the area where your business is located. Do you have Pokémon nearby? Is your business a PokéStop or a gym? Where are the closest ones? All of this information will be crucial for you to have so you can begin to attract players to your business.
Promote and Incentivize – Once you know your Pokémon situation, you can start promoting it. Put up signage and create social media content that lets potential customers know about the Pokémon that can be found at your business. While that alone might be enough to get them in the door, you’ll have even better luck if you add additional incentive. Offer players a discount, free product or exclusive items/content for showing you a screenshot of the Pokémon they catch near your business. Have them submit their screenshots to social media so they’ll visit your properties and potentially continue to shop online.
Purchase Lures – What if you could lure a whole group of potential customers to you at once? Well, if you purchase a Pokémon Go lure, you can do just that. Unfortunately, lures can only be purchased for locations that are already PokéStops or gyms, but see what’s going on around you and pick a stop that’s convenient. Lures are pretty cheap thus far and will place multiple Pokémon at your location in half hour increments. Make sure you’re staffing the spot where the lure is, along with any information and product you want to show off.
Be open-minded – Again, it’s tempting to laugh Pokémon Go off as a passing craze and to think it’s just another a millennial folly. However, the same could have been said for Instagram and Snapchat – and both of those platforms have exploded. So, if you want to connect with the players (read: potential customers) in a way that will be valuable to your business, you need to keep an open mind. Your business can benefit from players who “gotta catch ‘em all”.