Over the past month, you’ve most likely heard about the new thing driving “kids” crazy — actually, more adults than kids, since 40 percent of players are Millennials! It’s called Pokémon Go, and it has exploded onto the scene overnight. If you don’t know what Pokémon is, don’t worry, I’ll give you the quick rundown before we jump into just how interesting this latest trend is for businesses today.
First, What the Heck Is Pokémon?
Pokémon is the love child of The Pokémon Company, a Japanese consortium between tech companies: Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures. The game is roughly boiled down to this: humans are considered trainers who search, find and capture various Pokémon creatures to train them for battling other Pokémon.
Now What Is Pokémon Go?
Pokémon Go is a real-time, interactive version of the Pokémon game that uses the physical world as the playing field. Using mobile and GPS technology, players search, find, train and battle in real-life locations, connecting the game to the real world for millions of users (so far). And when I say so far, consider this, the app was launched July 6, 2016, and by July 26, download estimates were already at 75 million. That is the fastest growing app in the history of Apple iTunes and Google Play.
Watch the trailer below to get a better idea of the game.
Why Should You Care?
If the sheer growth trajectory of the game isn’t interesting enough, the implications for business hopefully is. When the app was initially launched, users could request a thing called a PokeStop, or Gym, to be placed at their GPS coordinates. These PokeStops and Gyms are virtual items within the game that draw in players to interact with them. In the case of Pokémon Go, these items are attracting thousands and thousands of people to the physical locations of the GPS coordinates. These can be stores, restaurants, coffee shops, libraries, museums, cemeteries, etc. The businesses that were aware of the ability to request a PokeStop or Gym, and were fortunate enough to request and be accepted (before new requests were turned off), almost instantly saw new traffic at their locations. Of course in this scenario, retail businesses were the true winners, with some doubling or even tripling revenue by “working the system,” but the folks at The Pokémon Company were also able to turn this into a huge revenue stream by allowing businesses with PokeStops or Gyms to purchase additional exposure in the form of “lures,” drawing Pokémon to their location (for a more in-depth view, read the Inc. Magazine article linked above). Ultimately, the savvy businesses that were “in the know,” were able to financially capitalize on a new stream of customers for, literally, a few dollars a day.
So How Does This Impact Your Business Going Forward?
Remember that a key to growth for any business is exposure to your target customers. Whether they are consumers walking by a retail shop or C-level executives looking for a new professional services firm, exposure to that audience is a critical component in the generation of new business. For retail shops, Pokémon Go offered a very unique way to draw consumers into a business. Businesses taking advantage of this knew that not all visitors would be customers — and they also understood there was a high risk in trying something new. But opportunity outweighed the risk, and the exposure paid off in new revenue.
Technology is changing the rules for how businesses interact with people. Pokémon Go is just the first of many new real-world style applications and games — some of which will target your audience and demographic — but you need to know about them to capitalize on the opportunity. Businesses today need to be much more aware of what is trending in and out of their industries. The “wait and see” mentality is resulting in missed revenue.
Of course, new “fads” can sometimes be more hype than opportunity, but you can mitigate the risk by properly managing your budget. Don’t be afraid to try new things, to seek out new opportunities, and to get inventive with how you are getting in front of your audience. Beacon technology, augmented reality, real-world immersive apps, and the IoT, are here to stay, so keep a close eye on what is happening in your industry — and start creating strategies to capitalize on it.