Is Pikachu the Next Best Thing for Your Business?

In the event that you have been living under a rock for the last few weeks, allow me to provide you with an update from the technology world. On July 6, 2016, a new app launched which threatened existing digital technology benchmarks, standards of social interaction and how businesses operate on a daily basis, all in one fell swoop. Yet, while this app is taking the United States by storm, the foundation of it is decades old. The app, called Pokémon GO, has not only captivated adults and children alike—amassing a greater daily average usage time than Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat and Messenger —but has caused businesses to reconsider their marketing strategy to appeal to a new generation of Pokémon trainers.

If you have not yet been exposed to Pokémon GO, you may be wondering what all of the hype is about. The difference between the new app, and the Pokémon game that you or your children were familiar with in the 1990’s, is monumental. Pokémon GO is an augmented realty mobile exploration application that allows users to hunt for Pokémon by traveling through the real world around them.  As users walk around cities, parks, historic sites and beyond, they have the opportunity to add to their Pokédex by catching any Pokémon that appear before them. Due to the desire to “catch ‘em all,” and the ever increasing hunger to reach higher levels as a trainer, users are now taking their hunt to the doorsteps of local businesses.

Multiple reports have surfaced that suggest that Pokémon GO has caused sales to rise significantly for local businesses. This is due, in part, to the fact that businesses are experiencing an increase in the amount of foot traffic than what is usual. The increase can also be attributed to the fact that players are not only walking around to catch Pokémon, but congregating at Pokéstops and gyms—both of which are typically located in public gathering spaces such as libraries, restaurants, historic monuments, or other popular public places. As a result, smart businesses are not only reacting to the craze, but embracing it by implementing strategies and marketing efforts that will help transform gamers into customers.

There are several methods that a business can employ in order to take advantage of what has become Pokémania. Depending on the level of involvement that you would like your business to have, marketing efforts can range from creating simple social media campaigns and implementing a Pokémon GO incentive program, to hosting Pokémon events and throwing down a “Lure.” Regardless, downloading the app is a great way to begin.

Once you have become familiar with how the game works, you can begin to consider what the best course of action for your business is. In the most traditional marketing sense, planning a Pokémon GO event may be a fun and lucrative way to drive sales. This can include organizing a bar crawl, sponsoring a Poké-hunt or simply offering discounts for merchandise, food or services during the designated event time.

Social media campaigns showcasing the different types of Pokémon in the area around a business can also prove fruitful, as users tend to migrate toward places that contain Pokémon they have not yet caught. This is especially true for rare Pokémon—mew, zapdos and ditto, to name a few. To see for yourself just how eager users are to catch Pokémon, click here. Consider having an employee scan the app every so often for rare Pokémon within a certain radius of your business, and post screenshots of their finds to your business’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. You can take this one step further by offering rewards and incentives for followers who share their catches, or rare finds on your business’s social media pages.

If you’d like to do more to drive Pokémon GO users to your business, you can find out if your business is one of many Pokéstops around the country. If so, you may place a Lure at or near your business. A Lure is an in-app purchase that can be made through Pokémon GO, which increases how quickly new Pokémon are generated in the area around which the Lure is placed. Due to the increase in the amount of Pokémon that will generate due to the Lure, your business can expect to see more users migrating to its location. Further, Lures are a relatively cheap campaign that typically yield solid results: One Lure costs 100 Pokécoins, or 0.99 cents, and lasts for 30 minutes. While this may not seem like a long time, the volume of users that a Lure attracts can more than pay for itself.

Business owners and Pokémon trainers have the same goal in mind: “gotta catch ‘em all.” Regardless of how you choose to involve your business with Pokémon GO, you will find that the app is a powerful marketing and advertising tool which has the potential to create new customers and drive sales. Considering the minimal amount of investment that it takes to employ any of these strategies, business owners should not be asking themselves ‘why’ they should get involved with Pokémon GO, but ‘why not?’

For more information on how your Business can benefit from emerging trends, contact the digital marketing gurus at Zest Social Media Solutions.