But how should you adopt these new marketing tactics – if at all? While it can be used as a marketing tool to attract customers to your business, there are certain cons you could easily overlook as you try to leverage the seemingly limitless potential. Here’s a breakdown of some things to keep in mind when considering this and other ‘too good to be true’ offerings moving forward:
The first advantage of Pokémon GO is the way it draws new people to your location. For instance, if your business is a PokeStop a lot of Pokémon Trainers will be hanging around your location to catch the large number of virtual Pokémon on site. These trainers are potential customers, so embrace them versus alienating them, and make them an offer they can’t refuse while at your store.
For example, you could offer discounts to anyone who catches a Pokémon within a certain radius of your business location. Or if you really want these gamers to love you, set up phone charging stations available to anyone who makes a purchase. You might end up “catching” some new regular customers.
You can also draw users to your location by setting up Lure Modules during business hours. Lure Modules attract users to a location for about thirty minutes – enough time to experience profits you don’t typically see. Since Lure Modules are used to attract Pokémon, users can take a rest from walking around and enjoy Pokémon coming to them for a while.
When you purchase Lure Modules, make sure to let people know on social media and via signage outside your shop. FYI, you can use Lure Modules in the same way if you locate a Pokémon Gym, though at the moment, you cannot set up a Pokémon Gym. Hint: They are usually at or close to a park.
And that’s just a start. As Niantic CEO John Hanke told Financial Times, “[T]here is a second component to our business model at Niantic, which is the concept of sponsored locations, [where companies] pay us to be locations within the virtual game board – the premise being that it is an inducement that drives foot traffic.” So that’s an option too.
Of course, nothing is perfect, so before you start “luring” Pokémon and attracting Trainers to your business, consider a number of disadvantages that could come with the game’s popularity.
First, consider whether capitalizing on Pokémon GO will truly help or hurt your business. Better yet, use social media intelligence to find out if your audience is into the craze. You may be pleasantly surprised, or you may discover they have no interest, and need to surface for insights on other trends to exploit.
And then there’s the security side to think about. With updates in tracking and accessibility happening each week, whenever you read this piece, the information will already be outdated. So probably one of the most important lessons marketers should take away from exploring this new craze is how to stay updated on security concerns for ANY technology your business may be considering. Pokemon GO isn’t just a simple location app, it can compromise personal and corporate security and can be a turnoff for precisely the people you’re seeking to attract. So keeping the pulse of the space, particularly what security pros are sharing around new technologies is crucial.
How can you do this? “So how does one go about building up a network of valuable contacts, and reliable sources? In short, how can you tap into the “hive mind” of IT security experts? The answer is social media.” There was a recent analysis done by Leadtail and Skyport Systems, the IT Security Experts and Social Insights Report, sharing the social media behavior of 600+ North American IT security professionals, and the best ways to both follow and connect with them on Twitter. “In addition to focusing on #cybersecurity, the top hashtags used by IT executives reveal an emphasis on #IoT, #privacy, #cloud and #bigdata” – and these experts share the best insight around each of those concerns daily.
So keep security concerns top of mind as you’re considering whether to pursue this or any other marketing tactic that involves gathering identifying data. Better safe than sorry.
Crowd Control and Other Distractions
If you decide to embrace the madness, have a plan for crowd control and conversion if your storefront turns into a Pokémon hot spot. Since your main focus is to build business, it could be very frustrating if all or the majority of players don’t turn into customers. Worse, loiterers could cause a disruption to the people who are customers already, and even drive them away.
And don’t forget about your employees. If they already play, having a focus on the game at work could become a distraction resulting in low productivity. To curb this, promote team building by organizing collective hunts during breaks, and laying out guidelines that everyone is expected to follow during the work day.
One final caveat: Due to their wandering nature and unpredictable “schedule,” those little Poké-monsters may come out even after you’re closed for the night, leaving Trainers hanging around your shop when no one’s there. And while they may mean no harm, as the owner or manager you need to be aware of this and take necessary precautions to avoid vandalism or theft by ne’er-do-wells using Pokémon as an excuse to be on the premises.
What will your business decide?
For as long as the fad continues, the advantages of having a little fun with it seem to overshadow the disadvantages for most businesses. If it makes sense, go ahead and catch all the ones catching ’em all.
This post originated from business2community.