Gaming For Biz: A Pokémon Go Primer

pokemonSo you’re not a gamer, eh? Frivolity not your cup of tea? Well you may be missing out on one of this year’s most lucrative technological crazes. I’m talking, of course, about the mobile gaming craze sweeping the world right now — Pokémon Go. Given the amount of coverage in the media it’s been getting, you’ve probably already heard about it, but just in case you’ve had your head in the sand, here’s a short update.

Pokémon Go is a mobile game developed by a company called Niantic in partnership with Nintendo. Niantic was incubated inside of Google, but spun out as it’s own company when Google restructured as Alphabet. Using Google maps technology to overlay game elements on the real world map, and via your phone’s camera, to make them appear as if they existed in real life, Pokémon Go is able to inject it’s game into every corner of your world, an approach to gaming called augmented reality (AR).

AR is nothing new to gaming, and in fact Pokémon Go’s implementation of it is relatively simple compared to other forays into augmented reality (say Microsoft’s Hololens). But that simplicity has made it appealing to a gigantic user base, and it is that popularity which is currently driving insane amounts of traffic to local businesses.

You see, Pokémon Go encourages players to go out into the real world in search of virtual Pokémon, and the places they can do that are often near real world businesses that can take advantage of the extra foot traffic. Forbes recently reported that people have raised business by crazy amounts. One food truck owner who set-up near a popular location saw a 7,000% increase in business, roughly 200 people per hour.

This trend isn’t likely to last forever, people’s attentions are fickle, but while the craze exists, the returns seem to be too good not to take advantage of. So how can you get Pokémon fever on your side? Stay tuned for a few tips!

Download the App

Simple. You can get it here. Once you have it you’ll need to sign up for a free account, and let it hold your hand through small tutorial.

Find a PokéStop Near Your Business

For a while, it was possible to request that a PokéStop (a location on the virtual map where players can congregate to interact with the game) be placed at a location of your choice, but that form is currently disabled. Provided that your business is in a relatively high-traffic area, you should be able to find a few pretty close to where you are (though your results may vary). PokéStops are marked by a hovering blue cube on the map. When you get close to one, tap it on your screen and a large information circle will appear, telling you more about the PokéStop.

Promote, Promote, Promote

Once you’ve established that there is a PokéStop near your business, you need to promote that via all of your available channels, social media, newsletter, etc. Offer free deals to players who show you they came to your location to play, or enter players into a contest to win something. Encourage players to check-in at your business while they are there, or tag you in the photos the game can generate and share of Pokémon that can be caught.

Lure Them All

On top of the promotions I mentioned, there is something you can do within the game to increase the popularity of your nearby stop, and that is to fill it with Lure Modules. Lure Modules are purchasable within the app, and when placed inside a PokéStop (done by walking up to one, interacting with it, and then selecting a Lure Module), greatly increase the number of Pokémon available near the stop. This in turn, makes your stop much more valuable to players than a stop without a Lure. There’s a little work and money involved, you have to replace the Lure Modules every half-hour, and the current cost of the Lure Modules breaks down to about $1.19 an hour, but given the potential returns, that seems like a small price to pay.

And that’s it! Your all set for PokéSuccess. So, have fun, and remember it’s just a game! Want to stay up to date on all the latest marketing trends? Sign up for our newsletter!

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