What Can Pokémon Go Do For You?!

Since the app launched four weeks ago, Pokémon Go has become the latest and greatest game on the market for anyone with a smartphone. With over an estimated 9.5 million daily users, Pokémon Go is quickly surpassing users on Snapchat and Twitter.

For those who aren’t familiar with the game, Pokémon brings a virtual world to reality for gamers. Players use a smartphone’s GPS and camera to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon. The creatures appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player.

The initial Pokémon craze began in the late ‘90s, so it’s no surprise that the game is hitting it big with millennials and luring them into businesses trying to “catch them all.” Businesses are thinking outside traditional marketing tactics to take advantage of this latest craze.


Check out these five unique approaches small businesses are taking to online marketing:

1. Little Apple Nutrition – This small business is participating in Pokémon Go by inviting users into their store to capture a Pokémon. After the person has caught the Pokémon in their store, the person is asked to post it to their Facebook and tag the business to be entered into a drawing. With this type of online marketing, you are doing two great things – one, getting people into your store and hopefully browsing around while they hunt for the Pokémon; two, you are receiving customer-created content from their posts. These pictures can then be posted on your small business’s social media pages, which is a simple way of engaging with your followers (more than likely millennials) and showing them you care – something we emphasized back in our targeting millennials article.

Another important aspect of this promotion is that Little Apple Nutrition mentions in their post that Pokémon “like to be healthy too!” Adding in that personal touch of the certain business is a great way to remind followers of your small business’s values or main concepts.

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2. Geek & Sundry – Geek & Sundry is an epicenter for gaming and the pop culture lifestyle. Naturally, the business is drawing in all the Pokémon players by offering “lures ALL DAY today!” Again, the player is asked to screenshot and post the picture to their social media with a certain hashtag to receive a discount of any purchase. This example of online marketing is great for getting a bunch of people in your business at once. Notice they emphasize that this promotion is on a certain day. The key to a successful one-day promotion is everything leading up to it. Keep your followers in suspense by posting about a big announcement, then draw them in with the announcement of the big day’s events, keep them hooked by reminding them of the upcoming event, and eventually document and post of/during the event.

Like the previous example, these posts from the Pokémon players are another great way of generating content that can be pushed out on your small business’s social media, without a whole lot of legwork for you. (Score!)

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3. Chicago Botanic Garden – As I’ve said before, take these ideas and do what works for your small business. This marketing topic is no different. So you may not be able to give discounts or put every Pokémon-loving millennial into a drawing for a prize, but you can still participate. This small business has created a new drink called the Pokémon Frappuccino. It’s the same tactic used by other large companies directed at kids. You know the kind I mean… showing a popular character among children and using the character in the company’s advertising. Kids will be adamant on checking out the product BECAUSE of who is promoting it or on it. This technique is no different. Get people excited about Pokémon (or any other trend you want to apply this tactic too), and get them in your business by asking the question, “What team are you?”

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4. Toronto Botanical Garden – This small business is a prime example of using what you’ve got! Toronto Botanical Garden is offering their property as the perfect place to snatch up some Pokémon. They have a botanical garden, so why not invite people in to catch creatures and get an “on-your-own” tour of the gardens? With this model, you are bringing youngsters into your business and hopefully getting them talking and asking questions. There are so many unique and extraordinary things you don’t see every day in a botanical garden, which means there are bound to be questions that lead to engaging, two-way conversations. This business is promoting itself as the place to catch a lot of creatures – a.k.a. the place to be!

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5. The Skinny Dip – Similar to a previous model, this small business is offering discounts to Pokémon players. However, in this example, the store has different discount levels depending on which Pokémon team you are on. This idea brings people with similar values together, in hopes that you’ll bring in more customers (or fellow team members) to “defeat” your opponents. Like they say, nothing brings people together more than a mutual nemesis!

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Participating in social media trends and incorporating them into your small business can greatly benefit your online followers and customer base. It’s no wonder so many people are taking part in the Pokémon action!

What are some ways your small business is applying this emerging trend to your online marketing plan?

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