S hould you jump on the hot new thing (Pokémon)?

Author image
Nick Cotton Jul 29, 2016

PokémonGo has been out for less than a month. In that short window, it has acquired more daily users than Tinder, Twitter, Whatsapp, and Instagram. The unrivaled growth of the nascent platform has triggered a concern among business owners over the age of 35. Is this the next big thing? Do I have to figure out how to use it? What in the world is a Pikachu?

These are the wrong questions for a business owner to ponder. Unless you make mobile games, wrangling the details of Pokémon hunting isn’t a prerequisite for staying in business. Instead, you should follow a tried and true formula for determining what kind of opportunities any new phenomenon may open up. Answer the following three questions:

1) Does Pokémon Go and your business share the same demographic?
You don’t need to know what Pokémon GO is but you do need to know who plays it. It doesn’t matter how popular a thing is if the people who like it are not the people you’re trying to court. Are these Pokémon players the kind of people that would buy your product or service?

Lots of people play Pokémon Go. The 18-34 demographic is downloading the app like crazy, but you have to dig deeper into those numbers to see if they are the same 18-34 year olds that are likely to want what you’re selling.

2) Does Pokémon GO fit your sales pitch?
If you are a B2B business without a physical location, then it’s unlikely Pokémon GO is a path to increased sales. Players are wandering the real world looking for randomly generated animated characters. This is a bad time to try and sell them on life insurance. A player’s head is not thinking long term practical matters. If you don’t benefit from increased foot traffic or impulse purchases, there’s very little opportunity for you with Pokémon GO.

3) Does Pokémon GO fit your brand? If your product isn’t in line with entertainment, collections, animals, manga, cartoons, fastfood or pop-culture, then you’ll struggle to hold the attention of millennials on the hunt for free roaming Pokémon . Comic book stores are perfect. Funeral homes, not so much. However, there is room for creativity. Take a retirement home for example. At first glance you might not think Pokémon GO has anything to offer, and that’s true if you assume that your customers are the 80+ year old residents. But, a good retirement home also serves their resident’s families. Coaxing children and grandchildren to visit is a top priority. The tactic I remember being influenced by as a child was the soft serve ice cream machine in the lobby of my great grandmother’s retirement home. Today, a Pokéstop loaded up with Pokémon attracting incense could be the 2016 version of bribing grandchildren with sugar.     

To properly answering the questions above you must have already defined your customer personas and correctly identified the user demographics for Pokémon GO. This isn’t a simple question but it’s worth putting in the work now. Even if Pokémon is done by the end of the next quarter, the impact that it’s had is irrevocable. Every mobile game company is drawing up plans for their own AR mobile game designed to send players wandering around the real world… doing stuff.

Expect an array of similar games to flood the market in the next 6 months. Popular games like Clash of the Clans or Angry Birds are almost guaranteed to take a swing at the new format. And pre-existing IPs like Ghostbusters or Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego can’t afford to miss the opportunity this genre has opened up. The work you do to discern whether or not Pokémon GO is an opportunity for your business is information you’ll be looking back on very soon.

Expand your presence on the web

Reach new customers in your market.