Gotta Catch ’em All: Pokémon GO for Marketers

What’s the (Electa)buzz?

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard the buzz about the latest trend in mobile gaming. Kids of all ages are suddenly out and about at all hours of the day, phone in hand, as they try to find rare Pokemon and battle for supremacy at Pokémon Gyms.

But what can this mean for your business? If you have a brick and mortar location, and you’re lucky enough to have a PokéStop nearby, it can mean increased foot traffic, and yes – sales! Apps like Foursquare and Swarm have tried to drive foot traffic for years. It took a cute little yellow creature named Pikachu to finally get the job done.

To really benefit from the foot traffic, though, you have to actively participate. Just having a PokéStop isn’t enough to get players to look up from their phones, as many have attested:

While thousands of gamers are hitting the malls and small business districts, most are not buying or even browsing, according to several news reports. Instead, gamers are seeking out Pokémon Gyms and PokéStops for training Pokemon and getting free game items.

Retail Customer Experience

Arbok, I choose you!

What do you do, then? Lure Modules to the rescue! These are in-game items that you can add to any PokéStop to attract Pokémon for 30 minutes at a time. And you can buy Lure Modules through in app purchases. So for less than $2 per hour, you can tell customers that your store / restaurant / bar / library is the place to be while out and about hunting Pokémon!

Pokémon GO marketing done right.
Pokémon GO marketing done right.

Cobra Arcade Bar in downtown Phoenix is taking advantage of the craze on all fronts. For under $20 a night in Lure Module purchases, they’re attracting more and more patrons on a nightly basis. In addition, they’re giving away game tokens for those who show that they’re actively participating in the game – thus justifying the purchase of Lures. Special cocktails tailored towards players encourage more purchases.

Pokemon GO at the Phoenix Zoo

The Phoenix Zoo is another example of Pokemon GO marketing done right. Not only are they dropping lures throughout the zoo, but they are also opening their gates early to let Pokemon hunters do their thing before the rest of the crowds come out! They are catering to a potentially new set of visitors while also keeping them from becoming a nuisance to the regular visitors. That’s a win in my book.

Pokemon GO Marketing with McDonalds in Japan

This is only the beginning, though. There are rumors that sponsored PokéStops are coming, with McDonald’s on board as the first major partner. Undoubtedly, you’ll be able to make your location a PokéStop if it isn’t already one through your digital ad spend budget. (Source: Android Headlines)

Pokemon GO marketing: Just a fad?

Beyond that, the game keeps adding new features. Much like Snapchat, they’re finding ways to keep the game fresh over time, and not become a relic of 2016 tech. They don’t want to become the next Candy Crush once the novelty of augmented reality wears off! In due time, there are likely to be NFC (near field communications, the same technology that lets you pay wirelessly using your phone or Apple Watch at Starbucks) interactions between players to facilitate trades and battles. This could even extend to retailers interacting through that same NFC technology or even QR codes to give special offers to players through a kiosk. (Source: Yahoo! Tech)

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for an account, purchase some lures and go Catch Em All! Customers, that is.

Marketing Automation Gone Wrong

Person A at the bar: “Hi, I’m great. You should date me.”
Person B: “Please go away.”

I’m not going to name names, but I’ve noticed some companies doing a terrible job with their marketing automation lately. For the sake of this write up, when I say marketing automation… I’m specifically talking about automated email campaigns that get sent out when you become a target for marketing or when you become a new customer of a service.

Welcome, new customer!

A few weeks ago, I convinced the decision makers at my new job to let me sign us up for cloud based landing page software. It’s pretty much everything we worked to create at SocialWhirled: self serve, mobile optimized websites with A/B testing, integration into Salesforce, stock image libraries, and all the bells and whistles you could dream up. I was ecstatic about finding this service to create a great experience for people who click through our AdWords ads, and at a price point of less than $100 per month it didn’t take a lot of begging and pleading to get that corporate credit card entered into their system.

Since I spent pretty much a year and a half in the very same world as this service, it took me no time to get up and running on my own. Within a day or so, I had multiple landing pages set up with various integrations and was already hooking them into our live campaigns. It surprised me that I got an email a couple of days later: “Thanks for signing up for the free trial. We noticed you haven’t launched any campaigns yet. What can we do to help?” Um. Yes, I did. I’ve got three of them live in production. Did I not activate them? *checks really quickly* Yes, I sure did. There’s nothing wrong on my end. Oh, I see what happened. YOUR email automation is broken! At this point, I actually took the time to send them a quick note along the lines of “Hey thanks for checking in – I think your email automation is broken, as I’m actually pretty far along in creating campaigns. Thanks, though – I’ll let you know if I need anything or have any problems!” They got back to me pretty quickly, to their credit – saying thanks for the heads up. Cool. No biggie.

Two weeks later, I started getting more emails from them. “Hey, trial user. Why don’t you upgrade to our platinum package?” What? Oh, I’m only a premium user. Kind of odd that they’re asking me to upgrade already, but I guess I get it. I hope this doesn’t continue. Wait, did they call me a trial user? I already gave them my credit card info. What just happened? Ah, whatever. Later that week, I get another email about the platinum package? Ugh. *DELETED* The following week – “Your free trial is about to end – why you no platinum?” (I’m paraphrasing with these, if you can’t tell by now) Seriously guys? Again with the free trial thing? That’s confusing. But seriously. Why don’t you check in with me to see if I’m happy with your product? Why don’t you send me some helpful tips to make sure my landing pages are successful? Wine me and dine me a little bit before asking for my hand in marriage. I mean, seriously.

So I sent another email. They again responded pretty quickly, thanking me for the feedback and promising me that they are continuously trying to improve their email messaging. Well, yeah, guys. For your sake – I hope so. Lucky for you that your software kicks so much ass, or else I’d have moved on by now.

The leads aren’t weak. YOU’RE weak.

This morning, I got an email with a subject line of “Just Called”. Really? Nothing on my cell phone’s call history. Even though my work line automatically forwards to my cell, I glance over at the display on my desk – nothing there, either. So, you’re a liar. We’re off to a great start.

I open the email, and it’s two quick sentences telling me about how great their product is for digital marketing. They don’t explain what their product does or what problem it solves. They’ve clearly put no thought into the problems I may have on a day to day basis. This is literally, the person at the bar strolling up to me and saying “Hi, I’m great. Let’s do dinner.” Except they’re standing behind me and I can’t even tell whether they’re attractive. How do you expect that to work?

Here’s the lesson: FOCUS ON THE CUSTOMER.

What are the pain points of your target customer? Can you prove to them that you understand where they’re coming from? If you can do that, then maybe you can get to the point where you explain to them how you can help. Don’t make it about you from the very start. Just like interpersonal relationships, that’s not how this works. Empathy and showing that you care – or at least understand – can take you a long way.

Or at least buy me a drink first.

A #BetterSaturday

Yes, I was down in Tucson for what’s now been dubbed the (Austin) Hill Mary, where the Arizona Wildcats defeated the Cal Golden Bears on the last play of the game. It was an unbelievable fourth quarter, where Arizona scored over 30 points to come back from a pretty miserable effort in the first half of the game.

You’d think that would be plenty to make me call last Saturday a “better Saturday” than most… But wait, there’s more!

We got to campus hours before the game to set up our tailgate out on The Mall in front of McKale Center, and I tweeted out this picture of the new grilled chicken wing experiment I was trying out:


I figured my friends who missed out on the tailgate would salivate with jealousy, and maybe I could convince them to come out to a later game when the weather cools down. Someone else took notice, though…

Apparently, AT&T is spending time on Twitter this fall looking for college football fans in need of tickets or those who could use an upgrade to their tailgating experience… and regardless of how baller one’s tailgate is, who couldn’t use an upgrade?

I’m assuming they found me through my usage of the #BearDown hashtag, and within moments of following their account and sending a Direct Message, I was on the phone with their on site marketing rep, who told me he’d be on his way over with some swag for my tailgate. A little bit later, I was greeted with a ton of stuff in tow:

  • Two UofA tailgate chairs
  • A UofA can koozy
  • A UofA polo shirt
  • A UofA hat
  • A set of UofA cornhole boards
  • …and the grand prize, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4!

The whole marketing campaign is a touch of brilliance, in finding folks like me (who presumably have a bit of social media Klout) to give AT&T a nice shout out and help them spread the word that they are doing some cool stuff.

I do think they could do it all a bit better, though… I imagine they have to do a bit of due diligence to make sure the people they are reaching out to won’t find it creepy that AT&T is reaching out to them in an unsolicited manner. To that end, why not promote the campaign through their website, or a special marketing specific website, to encourage people to “Enter to win” prizes and opt in on their own? Why not collect a bit of information in the process that helps them reach out to consumers with special offers? Just a bit of constructive criticism from a guy who loves when technology and marketing come together…

In the end, yes… It was a #BetterSaturday – but I think they could make it the #BestSaturday for people like me and themselves!