If you haven’t heard of Pokemon Go by now, you are either living under a rock or you’ve been in a coma for the last month. The free, augmented-reality game is taking social media by storm, with people posting their activity on the game or articles about the game. Pokemon Go is a game that you download for your smart phone, and it sends you on a real-time hunt for pokemon in your area. It tells you when a pokemon is nearby, and you have to try to catch it before someone else does. It also tells you where pokemon are located at businesses and landmarks throughout your city, and you can go to those places to try to be the first to catch them.
What may seem like a simple game has taken off like wildfire. The game has become popular among all age groups, and it has spawned think pieces about everything from mental health to physical fitness. Here are a couple of things that marketers can learn from the success of Pokemon Go and some of the trends the game has inspired:
Online Traffic Can Drive Real-World Traffic
Many businesses invest in online marketing to help them get more brand awareness or to capture more sales online. But a lot of them treat their online and offline marketing strategies as separate entities with separate goals. This is a mistake. The Pokemon game has shown that online traffic — including app traffic and mobile traffic — can drive real-world traffic.
To start, the game is getting people out of their homes and into the world, including many businesses. Doing so is imperative to play the game. Players can wait for pokemon to show up in their own homes, but they will be waiting a really long time if they want to catch rare pokemon or enjoy other features of the game.
The real-world traffic is more than just foot traffic. Many business owners report that their sales have gone up significantly since the game took off. Some players come in and grab a bite to eat or something to drink while they are hunting down pokemon. They’re already in the business for the game, and they make a purchase out of convenience.
Other businesses have taken advantage of the promotion they are getting as a location in the game to offer special discounts for players. Some have even gone so far as to say that players can only come inside if they are paying customers. You don’t have to come up with a viral app game in order to get these kinds of results. But you should be thinking creatively about how your online efforts can translate into offline success, as well. What kind of incentives can you offer people looking at your website or your mobile app to visit your business in person?
Partnerships are Important
Some pokemon appear randomly at locations near players. Others appear at businesses that have entered into a partnership with the game developers. Some of these partnerships have resulted in businesses being featured for important gaming events, and some have led to in-app purchases. The businesses that have had the foresight to partner with the developers have profited handsomely. Many who did not partner are now working to figure out how they can.
It is important that you look for ways to create partnerships in your niche, as well. Your partnership doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor. Simply being featured in the right format and with the right partnership can result in big exposure and big profits.
User Engagement is Central
Pokemon Go wouldn’t be the success it is without the user engagement it has inspired. Everyone is playing and talking about the game because it has engaged them in ways that others have not. The game is a combination of nostalgia, adventure seeking, physical activity, social play and collecting.
Whatever you sell and whatever your marketing strategy, you will not be successful if you cannot find ways to engage your own audience. Again, you don’t have to create a viral game to get results. But you do need to think about how you can get your audience as excited about what you are offering. You might do that with a special app, an offline event, social networking, or even special content.
CodeFuel helps to improve user engagement on your site by placing the content that your audience wants right where they want to see it. We use advanced user metrics to understand what your audience needs and then match that information against the content you offer to ensure that we are creating the right partnership.
There’s no telling how long the latest Pokemon craze will last, but the marketing lessons that this new game has taught can last you a long time. Try applying some of these concepts to your own marketing strategy and see how quickly you can get results.