Unless you’ve been living under a rock, Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm upon it’s release. I’ve personally been waiting for it for months ever since the trailer came out.
Tons of top influencers on social media and every media outlet has covered it. And for good reason. It’s going crazy. People are stampeding the streets in major city to play this game. It brings tears to my eyes.
See these videos as examples:
What is Pokemon Go?
It’s basically a mobile app game that requires you to travel around in real life (using your phone’s location) to “catch” Pokemon. It plays on the nostalgia of the Millenial generation, which I love since I am one of them.
- It has more engagement than Facebook.
- It’s gotten more active users than Twitter in one week of launch.
- The average use time is over 45 minutes, higher than Instagram, Snapchat, and Whatsapp.
… for now. It may be a trend. I’ll talk more about that later.
How you can use this to make money for your local business
Buy a Lure. A lure costs $1 an hour. In a major city, it can attract hundreds of real players to your chosen location to catch Pokemon. In a town, you can attract dozens.
That’s pretty cheap.
Note: just because they are there doesn’t mean they want to buy your product (yet). You need to merge your offer with the traffic somehow.
Find a creative way of getting them to buy your product while they are there. If you don’t do this right, you could get cheap traffic, but it won’t convert.
- Multiple zoos, like the San Diego and Maryland Zoo, are setting up lures inside their zoo. You need to pay entry to get in.
- Restaurants who know the lifetime value of a customer and value of their service know that they can make more money on the back-end if they can just get the first purchase. Therefore, give free menu items to Pokemon Go gamers depending on their level in the game (level is determined by how far they have walked and how many Pokemon they caught). See the video below for an example:
This video below explains why this means so much to me. I was a huge Pokemon nerd and back then, I was one of the only people in the world to be crazy about it in school. It was a niche hobby. I’m glad it’s gone more mainstream.
Towards the last 2 minutes of the video, you’ll see what I don’t like about the game:
The Pros and Cons to Pokemon Go
The pros (good stuff):
- Pokemon Go really brings a lot of enthusiastic fans outdoors.
- The frenzy unleashed was an ingenious move by Nintendo. I saw it coming for a while and they were a bit slow with releasing it, but I applaud them for it.
- Nintendo has created an ingenious global sensation that’s also a symbiotic relationship for any local business to straddle off of. They’ve created a local advertising platform for any business based off a globally recognized game. And, right now, it’s cheap. Wow!
- It brings people together. Strangers are meeting and chatting because of a game. It gets people outside and gets them to exercise.
The cons (bad stuff):
- As I explained in my video, the technology is still primitive. The server overload makes the game barely functional. It’s been like this all week. Plus, you can’t challenge others on the street. You can’t really battle Pokemon before catching them. The main premise is that you just throw balls at Pokemon that appear based on your location in the world. Having said that, there’s a lot more potential in the next 20 years though. I’m excited to see what they will do when they merge virtual reality and whatever product wins in the space (Occulus Rift, Google Glass, etc.), 360 degree cameras, and mobile apps. I expect to be riding a Pink Gyarados that’s battling my neighbor’s MewTwo in 20 years. And it better be indistinguishable from real life.
- It’s most likely a trend that will get old in a few weeks. The amount of players will diminish. As explained in my video, this has been proven fairly true with past video games like WiiFit and GBA games that tried to get people outdoors with solar energy technology. People prefer sitting indoors with their XBox controllers… right? Yes and no. I think time will tell but I’ve been severely surprised over the years. As a gamer and Internet addict, I saw a lot of proof that showed that the world was the same. Everyone from sorority girls to gamers are addicted to computers. Having said that, I’ve also met a lot of people who LOVE the outdoors: beach tanners, sports fanatics, Crossfit athletes, etc. Perhaps Nintendo will be able to leverage this group efficiently.
Great moves Nintendo! You have done it again.
You have kept with change by not sticking to just consoles and delighting your customers. You can’t go wrong if you keep pleasing us and over-delivering. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are very interesting companies. And they hold deep places in my heart from years of gaming, especially Nintendo.
Nintendo illustrates the power of a brand. Gary Vaynerchuk said another business could have created the exact same game without the Pokemon brand. It could be called “Creatures” but wouldn’t have recognizable Pokemon, just creatures. And it would get 1/1000th of the attention. Pokemon is a recognizable brand that brings nostalgia, pre-eminence, and economic goodwill. There’s a whole story line behind the framework and people get it, trust it, and love it.