Pokémon Go: Marketing lessons from the record breaking game


#content #marketing #marketing lessons #Pokémon Go

It all started back in 2013 on the April Fool Day. Google released a spoof video on Google Maps allowing users to find and catch Pokémon in the real world. It was named Pokémon Challenge.

Later, Google claimed that it was only trying to fill a vacancy of digital explorer.

When all were having fun watching the spoof video, John Hanke, the CEO of Pokémon Go was thinking of something that would change the way people use smartphones.

On July 6, 2016, Hanke launched augmented reality mobile game “Pokémon Go” based on the popular Pokémon series.

The technology used in the game will combine the real world surrounding with tech.

Players walk around the real world and digitally rendered Pokémon pop up on their screens at certain locations. Since they don’t know where the Pokémon will be, players are encouraged to wander far and wide.

The global success of this mobile game was inescapable with over 21 million daily active users, 700,000 downloads per day, $3 million a day spent on in-app purchases and $200 million earned as of August 17, 2016.

Whether you’re a fan or not, this game is a huge success and it is an inspiration to the entire marketers out there. In fact, lot of marketers are capitalizing this idea and driving huge amounts of foot traffic and conversions by simply “luring” Pokémon trainers inside their Poke stop stores.

Let’s take a look and see what marketers can learn from Pokémon Go.

Good content always wins

“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”

Andrew Davis, Author of Brandscaping

Apart from your “freemium” product, there’s another valuable product you can offer for free to your audience: content.

People interact with content that adds value to their life. It can be inspirational, educational, humour, or something else.

With success of “Pokémon Go”, Nintendo proved that with unique content and theme a product can increase both engagement and retention rate. Pokémon was not only the center of product but also the center of the content. People loved to learn about new Pokémon and its abilities.

According to Nintendo, what made the Pokémon franchise popular was its unique concept of taking people out of their house to find Pokéstop and Pokémon gym in real world environment.

What Digital Marketers can learn from this?

As a marketer, you don’t want your consumers to get lost in the message. We want our customer to be fully knowledgeable about our product.

Nintendo taught us that releasing content which consumer find appealing can help you in numerous ways. And we should also keep in mind that the content we provide must be relevant to our product or you will be lost.

Get your timings right

“Strategy and timing are the Himalayas of marketing. Everything else is the catskills.”

– Al Ries and Jack Trout on Marketing Strategy and Timing

Pokémon Go success wasn’t just blind luck. Nintendo had planned months ahead for its promotion and selected the launch date strategically.

When Nintendo launched its new app, it was the holiday season. Schools were closed. People were on vacation. And, to summarize it all, it was summer. The core audience of this game were millennial and by releasing this game during summer holidays, Nintendo gave plenty of time to his core audience to go out and enjoy the app.

Imagine if the app was launched during Christmas or some other godforsaken time!

What Digital Marketers can learn from this?

Being a digital marketer, you must keep in mind that creating unique content is not just enough. You have to figure out decent time for releasing your content!

Just as it goes for comedy, so it goes for marketing too.  Right place, right time, right consumer in the right frame of mind. This is the key to any successful marketing strategy.

It’s important to keep in mind that getting your message out at the right time (and in the right place) can be the make or break of any marketing campaign.

Identify your core audience

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

– Peter F. Drucker on the Power of Really Knowing Your Target Market.

For Pokémon Go, millennials were the core audience. Original Pokémon card game was released in 1996. It was in and around that decade when Pokémon Season 1: Indigo League was aired across many nations.

Naturally, the new game’s release would attract the 20-30 year old demographic. Nintendo marketing team knew that. And it helped Nintendo play with their core audience’s sense of nostalgia.

What Digital marketers can learn from this?

One of the most important things in marketing is to identify the audience for the product you are selling and its difficult task too.

Same like Nintendo marketing team did for Pokémon Go.

You can also find the right customer for your product and increase sales. You first need to define what target audience you want for your brand, then you need to define who they are, how they choose and compare products, and what they want.

Make the product valuable

“Innovation leads one to see the new in the old and distinguishes the ingenious from the ingenuous.”

-Paul Rand

Pokémon Go has taken the world by a storm. The game brilliantly implements the concept of augmented reality, motivating people to take a walk.

It creates the atmosphere of another planet which user had never experience before.

In Pokémon Go, players take the role of a Pokémon Trainer whose goal is to collect a set of Pocket Monsters that can be discovered around the real world via the use of augmented reality.

Fascinating functions and unusual experience were the pillar behind the success of Pokémon Go. This is probably the best of all the lessons: Pokémon Go owes its success to Pokémon Go.

Had the product not been up to the mark, the growth chart of the game would not have looked the same.

What Digital marketers can learn from this?

You cannot market a product that’s not good. You cannot market a product that does not add value to customers’ lives.

Once your product is right market fit, your marketing efforts will become easier. Only then your social media efforts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest will work. Only then your Google AdWords and Facebook ads will work. Only then your re-marketing results will show good numbers.

And only then your product will sell.