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4 Ways to Use Pokémon Go to Become a Marketing Master

By Traci Hendrix & James Kiss in Mobile on August 3rd, 2016

4 Ways to Use Pokémon Go to Boost Your Marketing Efforts

It is rare that a cultural phenomenon becomes so popular that it competes for major news headlines even in the midst of a presidential election cycle. The augmented reality mobile video game Pokémon Go, which Apple said set download records as the fastest mobile game to reach the 10 million download mark after its July 6th worldwide launch, has certainly created a media wave — tsunami, rather — in recent weeks.

In the game, players utilize geo-tracking capabilities of mobile devices to catch virtual Pokémon characters. Savvy marketers have recognized the opportunity to feed off the public awareness of such a hot-button topics. Generations of Pokémon range from classic card players, Gameboy users and TV show watchers to new-age, technologically engulfed gamers. The audience has a range of ages and nearly covers the planet.

With such an immense immediate following at an early stage (we're talking more daily usage than Facebook and Snapchat), we’ve narrowed it down to four ways to integrate Pokémon Go into your marketing strategies and ready your brand for future opportunities it may present.

Sponsor an Event

One of the most intriguing aspects of Pokémon Go is that, unlike traditional video games, it draws people out of their homes. Even critics of video games recognize that for people with social anxiety, there are benefits to interacting with other players socially as you play.

Hosting or sponsoring an event in your community is one way to get your brand in front of enthused players. A recent "Pokemon Go meet-up" organized in downtown Des Moines on Facebook pulled in 1,300 players and attracted interest from 2,800 users. On top of the audience exposure, a successful event in your community could attract local media attention.

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Game Sponsorships

A direct marketing strategy for reaching players is through game-related promotions. Niantic, the game's developer, recently talked about incorporating branded sponsorships into the game. Retailers, restaurants and other brick-and-mortar businesses will become sponsored locations where players can capture virtual characters.

Many businesses have already tried to speak directly to players with signage inviting them in to capture characters, or to take a break on their way. And while the game is still in infancy and working out kinks, there are endless opportunities for brands to leverage the mobile, all-encompassing app.

Reference the Game in Promotions

Incorporating the game in promotions is one of the simplest and most common strategies for remaining relevant and aligning your brand with the popular topic. Major corporations have already done so, with various levels of success. Spirit airlines showed someone capturing its fictional character “Cheapacabra” in a campaign highlighting the company's low-priced seats. Coca-Cola advised consumers to "Catch Them All" in ads, pointing out their prominent soft drink products, although these were met with mixed reviews.

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Two wireless carriers have joined the conversation with T-Mobile offering free data for the rest of the year whilst playing the data-heavy game. Sprint has also served its users with free game add-ons, on-site game assists and charging stations.

Including Pokémon Go in content marketing and social media marketing is an extremely affordable direct marketing option. People are online searching for content related to Pokémon Go, whether it be Pokémon maps, cheats or if anyone’s found the Legendary Pokémon yet, so having your brand present in the midst of the digital conversation is an easy way to expand exposure and influence to competitive audiences.

Pokémon Lure Modules

Pokémon Lure Modules are among the most effective ways for businesses, small and large, to gain measurable return on their investment in Pokémon promotion. Where there are Pokéstops, there is the potential for Lures. Where there are Lures, there are Pokémon, and where there are Pokémon there are customers looking for Pokéballs, provisions, outlets and high Combat Power Pokémon.

Purchasing a Lure, which typically costs below $2 per hour, allows a business near a Pokéstop to become an attractive destination for players to capture Pokémon for 30 minutes. As a business or brand, don't be discouraged if you see less of your customers' eyes and more of their phones. Local historic monuments have become crowd centers and local retailers and restaurants have reported dramatic spikes in traffic and sales from utilizing Lures.

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Conclusion

When it comes to trending phenomena, your content strategy and creativity are vital to staying afloat. As momentum builds, competition for promotional recognition and media attention grows. Identify unique and relevant ways to connect your brand to the interests of hundreds of thousands of people playing the game. Get involved, play the game, and devise a strategy for tapping into this expanding cultural movement.

Gaining insights from a Pokémon Master or an expert in direct marketing are great ways to build an effective strategy for leveraging Pokémon Go and other hot topics.

Contact us to discuss what we can do for you.