Gotta Catch 'Em All - Enhance Your Local Marketing Strategy with Pokémon GO
Have you noticed a lot more people walking around outside? Particularly with their smartphones held out in front of them? Don’t worry – they’re just Pokémon Masters in training! A few weeks ago, Niantic, an augmented reality software developer, launched a new app called Pokémon GO. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a new virtual reality app where players explore the real world to capture Pokémon, collect items, and battle and train Pokémon. For the long time Pokémon fans…this is awesome! So, what on earth does this have to do with Online and Local Marketing? Let me explain…
When the app first launched, my first thought other than, “I need to download this now,” was, “Local businesses can do so much with this!” My marketing brain is always on, even when my 10-year-old self is freaking out. As I mentioned, players explore the world around them looking for Pokémon to train and battle. In order to catch Pokémon, you need Poké Balls and other items to assist you. Players get these at Pokéstops, which are real-life locations in their city such as parks, stores, and coffee shops, to name a few. If you are listed as a Pokéstop, players need to come to your physical location to collect items like Poké Eggs, Poké Balls, incense, and more. One of the biggest benefits of Pokéstops is the ability to add a lure to the location to increase the presence of Pokémon. This is where the benefits lie for local businesses.
One of my favorite coffee shops, The SweetSpot, in my college town jumped right on this opportunity when they realized their Bakehouse location was a Pokéstop.
Not only did they advertise that they are a Pokéstop on both their marquee and social channels, but they took it one step further by providing a related product, like a Poké Ball sugar cookie, to actually bring players into their store to purchase something. I will bet that many who came in for a cookie also purchased a drink as well. They even keep it going with “Lure Specials” during the day, where an employee drops a lure on their location, attracting Pokémon and players for at least 30 minutes. By posting about this beforehand, people can plan to be there for lunch or to grab a coffee. What can you offer Pokémon GO players for coming to your store to play? A discount on their purchase? A free appetizer with their meal?
Another local business here in Wisconsin, Planet Perk, is giving $1 off for dropping a lure at their location. If your location is a Pokéstop, this is a perfect opportunity to keep players at your location for at least the 30 minute lure period and get them to enjoy your store and products you offer!
Now, for a limited time... pic.twitter.com/kRJCqGtjEd— Planet Perk Cafe (@PlanetPerkCafe) July 13, 2016
What if your location is not a Pokéstop? What if you don’t even have a brick and mortar location, but you still want to take advantage of the revived Pokémon craze? Here are a couple of things you should do:
- Offer specials for capturing a Pokémon in your store.
- Encourage players to take photos of Pokémon in your store with the app and share them on social media. Consider even creating a hashtag!
- Include Pokémon related content in your social posts. Sometimes just acknowledging and participating in the conversation online shows that you’re in the know on what’s going on in popular culture. Try to keep it relevant to your brand or industry – you don’t want to do it just for the sake of doing it.
GNC, while it does have brick and mortar stores, has a really great example of participating in the conversation while keeping it relevant to their industry.
A photo posted by GNC Official (@gnclivewell) on
Both local businesses and big brands alike can take advantage of the craze surrounding this new, innovative app. I have a feeling this won’t go away, however I’m sure it
will die down. So, what will you do next? What are other creative ways to bring customers to your store? Keep an eye out for new trends, and if you can think of a way to incorporate it into your marketing strategy, then do it! The makers of Pokémon GO are already in the works to get sponsored Poké Stop and Gyms. It’s an exciting world out there in technology and Online Marketing and staying in the loop is important. If you’re looking for more on Local Marketing, check out Hannah Aime’s blog post on upcoming changes for Local Search!