How to Catch New Customers with Pokemon Go

21 million people are playing Pokemon Go on a daily basis, making it the biggest mobile game of all time, beating even the infamous Candy Crush. What’s even more remarkable, is the fact that the average US IOS user spends more time playing the game per day than they spend on Facebook. All of this and the game is less than a month old.

The majority of players are Millennials (18 – 34), but beyond that, they’re pretty diverse; men, women, professionals and students -- a man from New Zealand even quit his job as a bartender to play the game full-time.

How does this tie-in to marketing your business? To figure that out, we first have to understand how the game works and how it differs from your typical mobile game.

Pokemon are small, mythological creatures that come in all shapes, sizes and colors. The goal of Pokemon (the TV series, movies and games have been around for many years) is to “catch ‘em all”. In the past, this meant sitting in one spot working your way through each level all by yourself. But Pokemon Go has a virtual reality twist – in order to hunt and catch Pokemon, you have to go out into the real world and find them. You might find one sitting in the parking lot of your office, or on the table at Starbucks. Unfortunately, they’ve also been known to pop up at police stations, in cemeteries and on private property.

Players are so obsessed with catching new Pokemon, they’ll do almost anything to find one and businesses are now using that obsession to catch new customers who are on the hunt.

Attracting Earthly Bound Hunters

If you have a craft fair booth or other earthly bound location, you might be lucky enough to have a Poke Stop nearby. You’ll find these stops on a map in the game. If you have one in the area, you can set down a “lure” to attract hunters. If you have a mobile business, such as a food truck or dog washing van, you can drive to where the action is, moving several times a day to capitalize on the traffic at a new spot.

In order to convert your new found Pokemon hunting friends, you’ll need a human treat. Candy with a business card attached is always a favorite, as are discount coupons and low price items ready for a quick flip. Do your best to stick to the Poke-theme in what ever you do and have fun. Your new friends will be much more open to your marketing if you keep it in the spirit of the game.

Attracting Virtual Hunters

If you can’t set up shop near a Poke Stop, you can still use the game’s popularity to your advantage. If you have the ability to create new products quickly, consider adding some Pokemon Go inspired items to your store. There are plenty of items you can make that don’t infringe on Nintendo’s trademark. One sign manufacturer is turning out No Pokemon Hunting signs for property owners. You could create award badges for Pokemon hunting parties or journals for those who like to track their progress the old fashioned way.

Another way to capitalize on the craze is to reward players with a discount coupon for anyone who catches a specific type of Pokemon, such as a water Pokemon. Ask them to email you a screengrab from the game as verification.

The very best way to use Pokemon Go to market your business is to join in. Play the game, then share your finds on social media and / or on your blog. At the very least, Pokemon Go posting will help you gain more followers aka potential customers.

As with any marketing plan, invest your money and time wisely and don't lag. There's no telling how long the frenzy will last. 

One last bit of advice of novice Pokemon marketers: you don’t have to catch ‘em all to win at this game, but you won’t catch any if you don’t play.  

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