The Pokémon Go Juggernaut, what it means and what digital marketers can learn from it

The Pokémon Go sensation has swept digital media for the past month. Social feeds are filled with the adventures of people going out and hunting imaginary creatures and bonding over it. It is one of the biggest sensations to hit the web in some time now. The stats show that it has the highest number of active users for any type of interface overthrowing heavy weights in a matter of hours. It has been a feeding frenzy and the best part is the company-Niantic Inc has spend next to nothing on their marketing!

The craze, what it really is, and the numbers

Pokémon Go is an AR game or Augmented Reality game. It isn’t the same as VR or Virtual Reality. VR requires you to connect to a headset and it replaces your existing environment with a different one. AR uses gadgets such as your phone to add specific aspects to the environment you are in. Pokémon Go especially uses Google Maps and local areas to include characters which you can chase and acquire in real time. Poke Stops and Gyms are built in so that you can develop your characters.

The viral nature of certain products, services and their marketing can never be drilled down to a science. Some of the most mundane stuff can get a million hits while the most interesting and brilliant marketing campaigns can get blown away to oblivion. This is what makes digital marketing so very difficult to chase down and control. It also gives us a fantastic opportunity to learn experiment and do things that would have been frowned up a couple of decades ago. Pokémon has been an extremely popular game since years and has had legions of fans globally. Entire generations have grown up playing it, collecting cards and passing them on to their successors. This is indeed what a cult looks like, but in a very good way. We cannot deny that there has been no marketing involved in the product but it isn’t outlandish or overly fantastic.




This is such a fantastic statistic and the numbers are simply astronomical. Bear in mind that Facebook and the like have been at it for the major part of this decade, and Pokémon Go did it in under a month!

What businesses are doing to catch up

Local businesses have benefitted immensely from this phenomenon. Poke Stops can be sponsored where players can rest and recollect. Many people have built small food and beverage counters around these spots, which are mostly parks and open areas.

People are even offering Pokémon Go training at a price. These are basically what growth hacking is all about. As digital marketers, we have to understand a couple of things here. Marketing can get you so far, but if you have a bad product, not even the Gods can help you. Building a good product or service is far more essential than spending top dollar on marketing. Success won’t last as people will eventually understand that it won’t work out. Apple is a good case in point here. Remember, Apple does not produce any marketing material by themselves. Only product catalogues and descriptions and certain ads during product launch. The rest is done by the army of fan boys as the lingo goes.

If you have a local business, try to incorporate aspects of the game into your strategy and market to these specific users. You can give those users discounts and other such opportunities.  Complicated products also do not mean they will succeed. Pokémon Go is as simple as it gets, it’s designed for children but the majority users are adults with full time jobs!

The reason and what you can do about it      

For digital marketers, there is a lot you can learn from Pokémon and its users. Firstly, it is a good game. This is the crux of the entire phenomenon. There is never a dull moment which is common in many games after you hit a certain level. It keeps you engaged and allows you to grow fast. The user interface is excellent with no lag and issues. These are essential elements when it comes to games especially when it needs to be played on phones.

Building a good product is what matters; marketing can only do so much. Staying stagnant and failing to move along with the times is also a big issue. Pokémon creators have given users what they need, at exactly the right time, using the best of what is available. Good customer service, inexpensive upgrades and easy availability is the holy trinity today. People get bored really fast, really easily so it is necessary to stay on top of the game and evolve.

Staying true to your passion is what resulted in Pokémon, a sensation that has been alive for over 3 decades now. Digital marketers need to take a leaf from their book and understand that a good product beats crazy good marketing any time of the day.

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