Top 5 Things Digital Marketers Can Learn from Pokémon Go

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Right off the bat, one thing we can all learn is how to ride the Pokémon Go trend. This is the MAIN REASON why I’m writing this article.

Pokemon, a term coined from a shortening of Pocket Monsters, is a Japanese franchise where trainers try to catch and collect cute anime behemoths. It was also a remnant of 90’s games and cartoons, where it’s popularity was at an all time high. But with the release of the ever so addicting augmented reality game Pokémon Go, it has been bred a new life, bursting the bubbles of nostalgia for older gamers.

In a matter of a few weeks, Nintendo’s stock has doubled into a GAZILLION dollars, while effortlessly turning kids and adults alike into semi-conscious walkers who instead of grunt and claw their way through society, walk and stroll with their heads locked into their smartphones searching for these virtual pocket monsters. Despite the laughable absurdity of this recent pandemic, digital marketers should learn a thing or two that should help their business or clients grow. Here are the top 5 things:

1. Ride The Trend

Doesn't this look so adorable? This is why everyone probably loves it!
Doesn’t this look so adorable? This is why everyone probably loves it!

The funny thing about the digital world is that sometimes quality and a high level of production will be clouded by foolish yet viral content. But it definitely is worth paying attention to current trends as it is what people are searching for on the internet. By understanding and knowing what the hot topic around the water cooler is, you can create content and strategies that have relevance to those current trends, while maintaining the quality of your marketing pieces. By riding the trend, you are effectively getting more views on the content you produce. However, it’s for this same reason why it’s also important to ensure that you are putting out quality subject matter.

2. KISS – Keep It Simple Silly (or Stupid, depending on who you are)

Many of the viral games that have come out within the past few years share a common theme – they are all INCREDIBLY easy to use. With Pokemon Go, it’s intuitive nature allows you to start catching virtual beasts within seconds of downloading the game. Statistics show that users are more likely to keep an app and use it if they are able to understand how to use it within seconds. Your digital marketing efforts should reflect the same simple, yet elegant, qualities as the majority of your audience has a very limited window of attention. You got to have something simple that anyone can understand and grasp within seconds of their encounter. Keep it simple to catch them all (pun intended).

3. Engagement + Rewards = WIN

I can catch Pokemons with a flick of my thumb!
I can catch Pokemons with a flick of my thumb!

There is an internet meme that accurately states the fact that Pokemon Go has accomplished in weeks what Michelle Obama tried so hard do in the last eight years – exercise. It’s quite an amazing feat to think that Pokemon Go has disguised exercise into a game where rewards are attained from walking away from your current location. People are taking the time out from their day to find PokéStops and Pokémon gyms in real-world environments. Once you spot a Pokemon, you toss a Poké Ball with a flick of your finger to catch it and keep in your virtual possession. The lesson here – keeping your audience engaged with activity and rewarding them for it is a major win. Similarly, a strong digital strategy should be able to engage it’s targeted audience, with ideal rewards to keep them coming. This is probably why giveaways still are fairly successful these days.

4. Brands STILL Matter

Although Pokémon was a brand that I thought had reached it’s peak in the 90’s, it surely still does have brand power among a specific crowd, the young gamers and Japanese anime fanatics. Augmented reality is NOT a new technology. In fact, there are plenty of other games and applications that use similar augmented reality concepts in a much refined manner. Yet, they have not broke through the mainstream in such a wild manner as Pokémon Go. This is why brands still do matter as familiarity, nostalgia, or any other identifiable human trait can permeate through any feeling of logic or common sense. Digital marketers who are promoting a brand should understand it’s power and effectively use all of it’s advantages when speaking to their audience. As seen here, a brand awareness can evoke emotions tied to family, love, or fun, and these many times these emotions drive actions and activity.

5. Understand Your Audience

Literally EVERYONE is playing Pokemon Go, even Bieber himself.
Literally EVERYONE is playing Pokemon Go, even Bieber himself.

Knowing your audience is one of the intrinsic principles in any digital marketing strategy. But it’s effectiveness and strength is displayed in full power with the success Pokémon Go. By targeting an audience of young and old gamers, anime fans, trend following millennials, simplistic smartphone users, and basically the entire digital population, Pokémon Go has captured them all, despite buggy software and crashing servers. With the success of real-world gamification, which we’ve seen in other apps such the awesome traffic patrolling GPS wunderapp Waze, Pokémon Go capitalizes on the same successful principles. Digital marketers take note – know your audience and cater to them. Doesn’t matter how polished your strategy is or how awful and atrocious your content maybe. If it doesn’t speak, captivate, and ultimately understand your audience, then you might as well kiss Pikachu goodbye.

Top 5 Things Digital Marketers Can Learn from Pokémon Go

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Things Digital Marketers Can Learn from Pokémon Go

  • July 19, 2016 at 2:35 pm
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    As always, interesting perspective. (Bonus – I never knew what Pokemon stood for. Learn something new every day)

    Reply
    • July 19, 2016 at 3:42 pm
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      Thanks Mack! Amazing how things go viral these days, no matter the idea or content. And glad that you were able to learn something as well =)

      Reply

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