What Does Pokemon Go Tell Us About the Future of Marketing?

Is this what we can expect from marketing in the future?

I’ll admit it: After scrolling past what must have been the 1000th Pokemon Go post on my Facebook feed, I finally broke down.

Yesterday evening, I installed the Pokemon Go mobile app on my phone.

This morning, I walked the kids to Summer camp (instead of driving) to see if I could catch them all.

After dropping the kids off, I took the long way home, which would take me right past a PokeStop.

pokemon go marketing

While enjoying my extended Tuesday morning walk and occasionally glancing down at my phone to check for wild Pokemon, two things occurred to me:

  1. I probably need to reassess my workday priorities.
  2. I’m beginning to understand why this app is such a phenomenon.

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard a thing or two about Pokemon Go over the last week. But, there is an undercurrent that a lot of people seem to be missing — probably because they’re too busy looking for Pokemon.

Here is what Pokemon Go is telling us about the future of marketing:

The line between the real world and the digital world is getting more blurry.


I was sitting on the couch firing up the app for the first time. My phone’s camera flipped on and there on the coffee table across from me was a Squritle, bobbing its head and sitting on top of a half-finished puzzle.

Let me tell you something: Even seeing that through a tiny phone screen was pretty impressive.

When things like Microsoft HoloLens already exist, it’s easy to imagine a future where this technology is integrated into a standard pair of reading glasses. Imagine being able to see an accurate three dimensional representation of a refridgerator you’re ording online, right where it would go in your kitchen. Or perhaps you’re shopping at a clothing store and decide to “scroll” through different outfit ideas projected onto a single mannequin. A grocery store could display their specials and discounted items right on the side of their building.

If you’re looking at the numbers, Pokemon Go doesn’t look like a fad. It looks like the future.

Here are some statistics from Digital Vision that will make you think twice about dismissing Pokemon Go as just another fad:

  • The day after the app’s release, it was installed on more Android phones than Tinder.
  • They’re likely to surpass Twitter in daily active users. (If it hasn’t happened already)
  • Pokemon Go is beating Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, and Messenger for daily use time.

The app achieved all of this in the first few days after launch. What’s perhaps even more telling is Nintendo Co’s stock has surged from $133 to $209 in the last 5 days. Wow!

pokemon go trends

Pokemon Go’s demographics might surprise you and smart marketers have already noticed.

I will say that most of the information we’re getting is anecdotal, since the app’s owner is not sharing user demographics. But, Twitter doesn’t lie:

Does that look like a bunch of tweens, to you?

TheOatmeal is sharing his hilarious perspective.

If your business is near a Pokemon Gym or PokeStop, expect some increased foot traffic. Smart businesses will capitalize cross-promoting the app with their business through mobile screenshots, social media sharing, scoreboards, and other promotions.

This article on Inc. went so far as to calculate the cost-per-hour of dropping lures at your business to attract more wild Pokemon:

14,500 Pokecoins / 680 = 21 Lure 8-Packs
(21 minutes * 8)/2 = 84 hours
$100 / 84 hours = $1.19 per hour

Sounds like a cost effective way to build some foot traffic, especially if you’re a casual restaurant or coffee shop. And if you’re a food truck, why not find the most popular Pokemon Gym or PokeStop in your area and set up shop? Have some Pokemon themed specials on your menu for a quick win!

Augmented reality (AR) applications won’t just benefit the Fortune 500 crowd.

Although Pokemon Go hasn’t yet monetized the ability to create new Gyms or Stops, we are likely to see something similar in future AR applications. However, even if your business isn’t near one of these locations or doesn’t have the marketing budget to pay for one (you can’t do this now, but it could happen in the future), you can still be a part of the conversation on social media. Here are two examples we found:

This restaurant may not have a big marketing department, but they’re geniuses.

More really smart marketers in South Carolina.

It’s a brave new future.

Whether Pokemon Go continues its success for six months or three years, it has given us a glimpse of what the future may hold for marketing departments both big and small. The possibilities that are introduced by AR applications and AR gear (such as HoloLens or Google Glass) are limitless — both for B2B and B2C oriented businesses.  All businesses should be embracing the solutions of today without losing sight of what’s on the horizon.

If you’ll please excuse me, I think it’s time to take another walk.

Thoughts or Questions?

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