With the newest release of Nintendo’s beloved Pokémon series, Pokémon Go, our office parking lot has turned into the latest and greatest hangout for techies, tweens, and everyone in-between. This has become a common occurrence for many other businesses across the United States. For some, this game has created an annoyance, as players wander around places they probably shouldn’t or pull out their phones at inappropriate times in an effort to find the closest Pokéstop or PokéGym. But for retailers and restaurants, Pokémon Go presents a great opportunity.
Think about it, Millennials and young adults have fallen in love become moderately obsessed with the game over the last week. This is the same group of people that are notoriously hard to capture but make up one of the largest purchasing power groups next to Baby Boomers. Pokémon Go has quickly become one of the most addicting and consuming virtual games to date that forces gamers to get some fresh air and explore areas they may not have otherwise visited.
Retailers and restaurants alike can capitalize on this extra foot traffic – and increase in potential customers – with a little thing we like to call PokéMarketing. Before diving into your PokéMarketing efforts, though, allow us to explain what exactly is causing the extra traffic outside of your stores.
The short answer is Pokéstops and PokéGyms. The long answer is that Niantic was once a geotagging game that allowed users to report landmarks. Eventually Nintendo and Niantic combined to help create what is now Pokémon Go. John Hanke, the CEO and founder of Niantic, reported to Mashable, that he and several of his colleagues previously worked for Google Maps so they wanted the mapping within Pokémon Go to be as realistic and accurate as possible. Thus, they used the suggested landmarks from Niantic as the selected Pokémon hotspots.
Once you find the closest Pokéstop or PokéGym near you – which is pretty easy to do if you download the game – you can start capturing the players walking past your stores. Take our office for example. For close to 4 years, we have been located directly next to Rowan College at Burlington County. Before the launch of Pokémon Go, our two organizations coexisted without much interaction. However, with the launch of the game, our previously invisible college neighbors have become frequent visitors to our building, mainly because we are conveniently located between two Pokéstops and a PokéGym. What did we do? We PokéMarketed! We put out a sign welcoming our gaming visitors to our Pokéstop at Agilence Inc., the leader of data analytics!
Even a local coffee shop, which happens to be located next to another PokéGym, has jumped feet first into the PokéMarketing pool with a sign enticing gamers to stop in and stay hydrated before battling at the nearby gym. If you or one of your employees plays the game, another PokéMarketing idea is to drop a Lure during a promotion. Lure’s draw in Pokémon to that geotagged position, which in turn draws in more players. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
Another PokéMarketing technique is to sponsor one of your local Pokéstops. As of this writing, the game has yet to allow for virtual sponsorship of these stops. But according to Forbes, Pokémon Go’s developers are seriously considering including these highly demanded virtual sponsorships. By allowing local businesses to sponsor a landmark-turned-Pokéstop that is right at their front door, Nintendo would open up an entirely new aspect to the game by allowing businesses to participate. For now, though, there is nothing stopping you from marketing to players in the physical world.
By combining the available aspects of the game, like Lures, with traditional marketing efforts, like signs or promotions, you can attract all of the potential customers walking right past your front door. So put out those signs, invite players in, and run those promotions and you too can catch them all! (Just like we're trying to do...)