Pokémon Go: How Do You Join the Hype?


Just a few days ago, Pokémon Go finally went live in the Philippines. The world has been going nuts over this app, to the point that it now has more daily active users than Twitter. Like all things popular, this craze presents a huge marketing opportunity for local businesses.

If you don’t know what the game is about, here’s a quick explanation. While exploring their city, players can encounter and catch different kinds of Pokémon. The app uses your phone’s GPS to make your personal avatar move around a map of the area.

There are also special points of interest on the map called “PokéStops” and “Gyms”. PokéStops give free supplies like Pokéballs (what you use to catch Pokémon), while gyms are locations that the three player factions can battle over. Holding on to a Gym gives players significant in-game rewards (and bragging rights).

Using this Trend to Your Advantage

The game hasn’t been out long, but many brands and digital marketing agencies are already hopping on the Pokémon Go bandwagon with great results. Local businesses, in particular, have the opportunity to increase traffic and sales. So how can you actually benefit from this massive craze?

1. Check if your business is a PokéStop or Gym.

Like we mentioned before, these landmarks serve valuable functions, so players will always gather around them. If your business is fortunate enough to be one or close to one, this is basically a free source of foot traffic.

What if you didn’t luck out, though? You can still Submit a Request to become a PokéStop and hope for the best. “Sponsored” PokéStops are planned, but the developers have not yet released any details.

2. Make use of “Lures”.

If you really want to bring in the crowds, then nothing is more powerful than a Lure. Placing a Lure will greatly increase the spawn rate of Pokémon in the area for 30 minutes. Players will see the Lure icon on their map, and immediately flock to it.

This item is a great and affordable way to drum up traffic during your slowest business hours. Make sure to advertise it! Tell people when you’re going to place a Lure, and make sure to offer a nice promo for Pokémon trainers at the same time to incentivize spending.

Here’s an example of a business using Lures to attract players:

Source: Glorietta Ayala Malls

3. Use social media.

Good social media and digital advertising are essential. Several brands have already capitalized on Pokémon Go, gaining a large amount of online exposure by joining the global conversation. For example, here’s a funny post from Whataburger that went viral.

Notice how they managed to creatively tie their brand to the game, so they don’t look like they’re just bandwagoning. The page also wittily responds to comments, generating even more good will. Interactive marketing is definitely the way to get your message heard.

Some stores are also using Pokémon Go to promote their brand on social media. They offer discounts or coupons to players who upload and tag pictures of Pokémon caught at their premises.

4. Join the fight.

There are three teams in the game: Mystic, Valor, and Instinct. Players can join one of these, and work together with other people from their faction to take over Gyms. This competitive aspect is the real meat of the game and one you should definitely use to your advantage.

One popular method is to put up a sign announcing which team is currently in control of your nearby Gym, and offering discounts to members of that team. Making players feel rewarded for their in-game efforts is always effective.

Why This Isn’t Just Another Fad

Many business owners might be reluctant to put these tips into practice. They’re thinking Pokémon Go is a fad that will go away once the hype settles down, so why bother including it in their digital marketing strategy? But even if you can’t use this trend to boost sales for years, it’s still a valuable opportunity you can’t afford to miss out on.

Pokémon Go can help you attract many new customers in a fun, memorable way. People who learn of your business through these promotions are much more likely to become loyal customers because of good will. Best of all, this all takes very little time, effort, and money.

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