3 Things Marketers Can Learn from Pokémon GO

Posted by Zerik Kadrlik on Jul 12, 2016 1:56:20 PM


If you haven’t heard of it--which would be very shocking (no Pikachu pun intended)--Pokémon GO is an augmented reality app that has taken the world by storm. It encourages players to get off the couch and go catch creatures known as Pocket Monsters or Pokémon for short.

Its daily usage has far exceeded that of the popular dating app Tinder and is about to surpass Twitter's as well. In the two days since its release, this worldwide phenomenon has increased Nintendo’s stock by $9  billion.

Clearly, Niantic and the Pokémon Company--the minds behind Pokémon GO--are doing something right in terms of marketing. So what can we learn from them? Make note of the following tactics and strategies and try working them into your next marketing plan.

Capitalize on Nostalgia

Humans are naturally nostalgic. Companies can key into this and profit immensely from it. (However, nostalgia can also be your downfall if not implemented correctly. Just look at the uproar over the new Ghostbusters movie--yeesh.)

Much of Pokémon GO’s success stems from the nostalgia factor. Many teens and adults see Pokémon GO and think back to their childhood days of:

  • Trading Pokémon cards
  • Battling each other on their old Gameboy Colors
  • Getting up in the morning to watch the latest episode of Ash and Pikachu’s adventures
Niantic and the Pokémon Company have tapped into childhood dreams of catching Pokémon in real life. With Pokémon GO, they've created a product that brings that dream one step closer to reality.

Create an Exclusive Club…And Invite Everyone

One of the main mechanisms of Pokémon GO is that you can only find specific Pokémon in certain areas. This encourages people to go out and explore different places.

Intentionally or not, this also creates a feeling of exclusivity. Players want to find these Pokémon because they don't want to be left out.

This is a brilliant tactic: By making your product or service feel exclusive, you make your clients feel as though they're part of a special club. Fostering this type of relationship helps you delight your customers, which is one of the more difficult parts of the inbound marketing methodology.

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Get on the Hype Train

Along with the feeling of exclusivity, Pokémon GO's creators have succeeded in creating a tremendous amount of hype. There are actually several "hype factors" at play.

1) social media frenzy

First, the release is being staggered across the globe. Players in Australia and New Zealand got to enjoy the game first, followed by the US and Japan. Social media has erupted with posts about people’s experiences. This generates excitement in countries like Great Britain, where people haven't played the game yet.

The game's domination of both social media and traditional news coverage has created an awareness that's spreading like wildfire. People didn’t even know they wanted to play until they saw all these other people enjoying it.

2) first of its kind

Being one of the first games of its kind doesn’t hurt either. While Pokémon GO isn’t the first augmented reality game, it's the first one with such a recognizable franchise attached to it. This has created a buzz about how Pokémon GO is revolutionizing the video game industry.

3) Exercise in disguise

Finally, Pokémon GO overcomes the stigma of laziness attached to video games by disguising exercise as gaming. Even parents can get on board with this game, since it gets their kids outside and active.

Catch them all

It’s no accident that Pokémon GO has quickly become a sensation; it has some brilliant marketing behind it.

Brand recognition, hype, exclusivity and the nostalgia factor all enhance this game's ability to attract and delight its audience. Taking some cues from this phenomenon can help you "catch them all" in your next marketing endeavor.


Zerik Kadrlik

Written by Zerik Kadrlik

Zerik is the marketing assistant at Tribute media.

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