Courtney Eckerle

Gotta Catch ‘Em All: How to get new customers from the Pokémon GO phenomenon

July 15th, 2016

Marketers can learn a lot from Pokémon GO, and it call comes down to one mantra: Gotta catch ‘em all.

Except in our case, we’re talking about our customers. While not everyone can create a social phenomenon out of their product, you can definitely capitalize on one to pique your customer’s interests and stay top of mind.

Pokémon GO, which is an augmented-reality smartphone game that has players exploring the real world to find virtual Pokémon, is currently rivaling Twitter when it comes to daily active users. This means you can’t afford to just ignore it. Especially if you plan on reaching out to millennials.

Let’s review how some businesses have capitalized on the Pokémon GO phenomenon of the past week.


It doesn’t have to be external

MECLABS Institute, the parent company of MarketingSherpa, is sponsoring its own Pokémon GO contest, with the employee who captures the most interesting picture of a Pokémon winning dinner for two.


Many companies have noticed their employees wandering around the company campus, phone in hand, chasing elusive Pokémon. And they’ve capitalized on the fun by working with something their employees were already doing.

Instead of employees trying to sneak around hiding their obsession, why not turn it into a company activity?

Find ways to connect it to your brand

The Strand Bookstore in New York posted this photo to its Instagram, encouraging customers to restock on Pokéball at “your favorite literary #PokeStop destination.”


Find out if you’re near — or actually are — a PokéStop or a Gym (a dedicated place where Pokémon can battle each other), and if you are, capitalize on it.

Now, they won’t all be as easy as this, since not everyone can be a PokéStop, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the fun.


Make an event to attract people

Some bars are offering a dollar off drinks for every Pokémon caught during happy hour, and even hosting Pokémon Bar Crawls.

Pokemon Bar Crawl

Critical Threat Comics and Games in Tempe, Arizona is using the app to lure in customers, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.

The store is located on top of a PokéStop, and decided to host a “Pokémon Hunt” that began at the store and went to nearby landmarks. It attracted almost 4,000 interested participants on Facebook. The store decided to also take advantage of “lure modules,” which is an in-app purchase that attracts more Pokémon than usual to a PokéStop — and ideally, more customers as well.

A small pizza joint cashed in on the “lure modules,” and saw business spike over 30%, with customers filing in, buying a slice and waiting for Pokémon to join them.

The New York Public Library also capitalized on this by writing a blog post detailing all of the Pokémon-related attractions at different libraries, almost like a treasure map to players.

Pokemon NYPL

One Uber driver in particular decided to create his own Pokémon Party — in the back of his car. For only $10 an hour, he advertised that he would drive customers around to hotspots to catch Pokémon. It seems silly — but he’s totally booked from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Now that’s a guy who knows how to capitalize on a cultural phenomenon — by solving a problem. Pokémon is so prevalent that it has turned into a bit of a public safety hazard, with reports of people walking into … just about everything to catch Pokémon — walls, traffic and even graveyards.


Encourage your customers to play safely

Customers can’t spend money with you if they’re chasing a Charizard into traffic.

Pokemon Go SAFETY

Remind them that while you encourage participation, you mainly encourage them to look both ways, and don’t Pokémon and drive.

But mainly, the best thing you can do is get in on the fun — encourage people to explore their local landmarks and businesses, and your customers will appreciate it.


You might also like:

Landing Page Optimization: Which ninja turtle is your page?

Pokemon Go Is Driving Insane Amounts of Sales at Small Local Businesses. Here’s How It Works [via Inc]

Social Media Marketing: Fashion Week ‘trend jacking’ achieves 21 million entries for clothing brand’s social media contest

Courtney Eckerle

About Courtney Eckerle

Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MECLABS With a focus on inbound and email marketing, Courtney’s goal is to produce clear, interesting and actionable external content for MarketingSherpa readers. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Mass Communications and Film Studies from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind. She has worked as a writer and sports photographer for The University of Notre Dame Observer, and was a collegiate correspondent for USA Today College prior to joining MECLABS. In her spare time, Courtney enjoys kayaking, travel, reading and photography.

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