It’s not even been officially released in the UK yet and specific marketing has been practically non-existent, but already people are going crazy for it. Calling Pokemon Go an outstanding success may be the understatement of the year, but it’s pretty much impossible to find words to describe just how huge it’s become. Naturally this has led to third parties seeing what they can do to piggyback on its success and it’s already been put to use by savvy marketers, including small businesses. Already, marketing industry pundits are starting to talk about Pokemon Go having the potential to become the first really successful local marketing tool for the smartphone platform. Here are our thoughts on the matter.
- The aim of marketing is to build your own brand, rather than to become a sideshow to someone else’s.
One of the features of today’s digital world is that there is a platform for just about everything. Many of the biggest names in the world are essentially places which make it possible for other people to do business through them. This does have some advantages, for example businesses just getting started may find it easier to operate through eBay than to work purely through their own website or get visibility in physical shops. On the minus side, it can easily mean that your brand is swamped by the bigger name. As an example of this, think of the number of times you have bought something on eBay. Now see how often you can remember the name of the seller. The same story repeats itself on other platforms, such as the “fast-food apps”, which push their own brand ahead of the local fast-food restaurants, which use them.
- There is a huge difference between quick hits and long-term business
At the moment, a business being featured in the Pokemon Go game is mostly luck and partly strategy, businesses can buy “lures” to attract Pokemon and thereby to attract the people who are looking to catch them. As the game develops, there is a distinct possibility that Nintendo will look to monetize their app by selling Pokemon slots in the same way as other platforms sell adverts. Now, there may indeed be legitimate uses for this. If companies know that they have slow periods and just want to get some feet through the door at specific times, this might work. By itself however, a Pokemon Go slot is unlikely to bring loyal, repeat customers to any business or to generate those valuable word-of-mouth recommendations. It might do so if used in conjunction with traditional marketing such as leaflet drops and, indeed, giving customers leaflets to take away with them.
- Money really can’t buy you (customer) love
Ultimately any advertising or marketing strategy which depends on being able to outbid someone else for leads and/or visibility, boils down to nothing more than who’s prepared to pay the highest price and therefore ends up favouring those with the deepest pockets. It also carries the risk of spending marketing budget to benefit someone else’s brand at least as much, if not more than your own. Customers go to Google because they Google has built a huge brand, which has become the trusted standard in web searching. They don’t care that part of the money which has been used to pay for this has come from companies which have essentially paid their way to the top of Google’s search rankings. That’s why successful companies of all sizes work hard to build their own brand and their own relationship with customers so that they become a “go to” brand, even if only within a small, local area, rather than being dependent on being found through someone else.