By Linda Passante, CEO, The Halo Group
Pokémon GO is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon. The app was mentioned on Twitter over 6 million times in less than a week, has been downloaded by celebrities including John Mayer, Mario Lopez, and Wiz Khalifa, and has hugely impacted Nintendo – adding $9.3 billion to its market capitalization and increasing shares of the company by over 55%.
Although the technology behind Pokémon GO is not earth-scattering, for many users it is their first time experiencing augmented reality. The experience is highly engaging, dripping with nostalgia, and utterly delightful. So much so, that people are even speculating on the positive effects the game has on mental health.
But what does this all mean for marketers? And how can a business capitalize on this craze?
The answer is to play along, literally.
The Pokémon GO app is built on the freemium model – it’s free to download but offers in-app purchases that accelerate the journey to be the very best like no one ever was. These microtransactions are aimed at striving Pokémasters and adoring fans, but they can also be leveraged by marketers to catch ‘em all (customers that is).
The first in-app purchase worth mentioning is Lures.
Lures can be a huge asset to driving traffic to your brick-and-mortar business or a particular place of significance like a pop-up-shop. Lures increases the amount of Pokémon in areas near PokéStops (places where Pokémon can be discovered). They last for thirty minutes and they can be deployed instantaneously.
Inc.com recently did the math and came to the conclusion that with a $100 investment keeping Lures active only costs $1.19/hour. Both an effective and affordable marketing tool, and a great way to take advantage of the craze and drive aspiring Pokemasters straight to your business.
Another in-app purchase worth mentioning is Incense.
Incense functions similar to Lures, however, they only effect the person who deployed them. Which leads to the question, “Why would my business ever do that if consumers don’t get any benefit?” The answer is: content, content, content.
By deploying Incense in the geographical location of your business, more Pokémon will inhabit the nearby area which grants itself nicely for creating chances to promote your business. For example, taking a screenshot of a Pokémon on your boss’ desk can make for an engaging social media post and an increase in engagement and potential followers. Or perhaps a rare Pokémon might find its way into your shop.
Using Lures and Incense to market your business is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the marketing applications of Pokémon GO. Looking elsewhere, a particularly creative idea came from an animal shelter in Indiana urging their Facebook fans to “Come out to Muncie Animal Shelter between 10am-5:30pm any day and walk an adoptable dog as you hunt for Pokemon and hatch eggs!”
Embrace the marketing potential of Pokémon GO, think outside the box, and don’t discount it simply because you think it is a fad. This is not only the hottest mobile game ever, but it is the first mass entry into the augmented reality space and the best marketing opportunity thus far in 2016.
Now go download the game, (if you haven’t already) implement these strategies, and then brag to your colleagues about the ROI of your most recent marketing campaign.