The world has Pokémon fever right now.
We’ve all seen the data already—heck, marketers are practically shouting it from the rooftops. Biggest mobile game in history. Millions in revenue each day. Market disruption. It’s all there, and it’s all true.
But we’re not interested in going over the statistics. We’re more curious about how this game is changing the marketing landscape and some of the strategies that businesses are using to get in on the action. Here are a few of our favorites so far:
1. Diving Into PokéStops
PokéStops, for the uninitiated, are location-based check-ins that Pokémon Go players visit to receive items and experience. Most PokéStops receive significant foot traffic thanks to the massive number of players on the app—how great would it be if there were more of these near your business? Consider petitioning to have PokéStops added around your storefront. Approval might take a while, but once the items are there, the players won’t be far behind.
2. “Luring” Customers
Anyone familiar with Pokémon Go’s UI has seen a “Lure” before—a special item that makes far more Pokémon than normal appear near a PokéStop. Here’s the catch: trainers flock to these lures as much as the Pokémon themselves. If there are any PokéStops near your business, throwing down a lure may be just the thing you need to get their eyes in front of your digital signage and storefront displays. The math on how this works has been done already (spoiler alert: the ROI is huge).
3. Team Discounts
There are three teams to choose from in Pokémon Go: Instinct, Mystic, and Valor. The differences are mostly cosmetic, but players take their choice seriously. Businesses can get in on the action by offering special deals targeted to specific teams—check out CitySen Lounge, a small business in Grand Rapids, Michigan that has used this strategy to great effect.
4. Sponsored Locations
According to the game, marketers may soon be able to “purchase” PokéStops in specific locations. Every time a visitor clicks on the PokéStop, the marketers gain data and pay the game back for the privilege. PPC strategies are a common sight in the marketing world, and may have a place in Pokémon as well. However, sponsored locations are still being developed—Poké-marketers will have to wait on this one.
5. App Integration
With millions of users scurrying around in search of Pokémon, businesses are edging in anywhere they can by adjusting their business apps to integrate with Pokémon Go. Yelp, for example, recently added a filter that lets users search by locations that have nearby PokéStops.
Yes, T-Mobile gets its own category due to the impressive way it’s thrown its weight behind Pokémon Go. T-Mobile announced just this week that it wouldn’t charge customers for any data used by Pokémon Go—for an entire year. A year of free data for a notoriously data-heavy app. They also promised a bounty of other benefits to players, something we expect to see plenty more of in the coming weeks.
7. Gym Dominance
Pokémon has two sides: collecting critters and battling other people who collect critters. The fighting takes place at local “gyms” that are strewn across the map. Often, these gyms are as big of draws as PokéStops are, consistently bringing in new players who want to test themselves against gym opponents. Enterprising businesses who win at these gym battles can control their “territory” and ensure that new opponents are always coming around.
8. Power Up Social Media
Pokémon Go’s AR camera view has taken social media by storm. People loving posing with and posting the Pokémon they find. Businesses can do the same by supercharging their social media with this type of fun and relevant content. After all, the point of social media is sharing and engagement—and if that doesn’t describe Pokémon Go, we don’t know what does.
9. Data Collection
Though some players get by on their data plans, many others rely on local Wi-Fi when trying to catch’em all. Businesses in populated areas like strip malls or shopping centers can offer Wi-Fi to players in exchange for basic contact information like email. Combine this with a few lures and special promotions and you’ll have more Pokémanianc data than you’d ever expect.
10. Paid Pokémon Pros
We had to include this one because of its ingenuity and absurdity. People are actually selling their services as “Pokémon Go Experts,” charging busy players a premium to spend all day walking around outside with their phones, catching Pokémon, hitting PokéStops, and hatching eggs. Is it worth $20/hour? You be the judge. We’ll stick to hatching our eggs the old-fashioned way.