Pokemon is a 20 year old franchise with a dedicated following. Geocaching is a real world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled device. Combine them and what you have is a uniquely addictive mobile exploration game with massive earning potential. Pokemon Go has seen unprecedented success since its recent launch. It is currently the biggest mobile game in US history with 21 million daily active users, dethroning the ultra popular Candy Crush Saga, which at its peak had 20 million daily active users. Businesses of any size can generate significant revenue leveraging this modernized version of the fan favorite franchise. So, how can you cash in on this ultra-popular game? And, how can you apply the same principles that establish player loyalty in games to increase loyalty within your business?
As a Marketing Consultant, I understand the importance of utilizing Psychology, Behavioral Economics, and Neuroscience to create the most effective strategies. At the intersection of behavioral science and technology is Gamification, the application of game mechanics to non-game contexts. Through the eyes of a behavioral psychologist, game mechanics and dynamics are able to positively influence human behavior to a brands advantage by using three factors that underlie any human behavior: motivation, ability, and triggers. While gamification is a term commonly used when speaking about technology, mobile and social media, it all comes down to basic psychological conditioning. Motivation is one of the three factors that underlie any human behavior. Those motivations can be broken down into six core motivations: action, social, experiences, mastery, immersion, creativity and achievement experience. One of the most influential is achievement experience, which is the core game mechanism for the Pokemon Franchise, both 20 years ago and today.
So, how can you cash in on this ultra-popular game? After researching and reading through numerous informative articles including articles in Time, Inc, and Forbes, here are a few of the tips I found the most useful for taking immediate advantage of this opportunity:
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Are you a PokeStop or Gym? While a full map of PokeStops and Gyms doesn't yet exist or hasn't been released, you can check out: www.ingress.com/intel and download the Ingressa App, Sign In and then you will see the 1:1 searchable map. The different 'portals' on that map are either a PokeStop or Gym. An additional way to find out if you are near a gym, just open up your Pokemon In-Game Map and look for the tallest structures with a Pokemon image on the top.
LURES:(IF YOU ARE OR ARE CLOSE TO A POKESTOP ONLY) Of all the in-app purchases, Lures is the most effective for a small business. The small businesses that have utilized this in-app purchase have seen significant ROI, and it costs just over a $1 per hour.
In addition to the advice from the informative articles above, you can get creative, some of these tips can be used for business owners near or far from PokeStops and/or Gyms: A LITTLE CREATIVITY GOES A LONG WAY
TEAMWORK: Team Valor, Team Instinct, Team Mystic
Community Based: For all businesses within a community, that choose to be involved, can be assigned a team. Use random distribution/assignment to make 3 even teams to create an even spread across the teams. Offer special discounts for any consumers on your supported team. Its fun way to attract potential prospects and increase engagement for both your business and the community. This can be utilized individually for your business, or a partnership with another local business.
ADD A GAME ELEMENT TO THE GAME: Create a contest or raffle for a Pokemon Go related surprise. Anytime a customer makes a purchase at your business they get to add their name to the raffle. Hence, the more times they purchase something, the better chance of winning. This can also be achieved using the amount spent as the basis for adding their name. For example, the customer gets to add their name for every $10 they spend. The prize can be covering the cost of one of their desired in-game apps, as well as a gift certificate or discount for your business. Using this approach would work well in combination with the team support approach, as it will provide an incentive for the two other teams to visit your business.
POKEMON ARE FOR PAYING CUSTOMERS ONLY: The more foot traffic, the higher the chance for increased conversions. Unfortunately, being inundated with foot traffic with no increase in conversions isn't helpful. Put a sign up saying Pokeman are for paying customers only.
IF YOU HAVE FREE WIFI, THEN ADVERTISE IT: Since its launch, Pokeman Go has been draining mobile data usage and battery at a rapid rate. Additionally, you can advertise that you are a charging station and allow paying customers to charge their phone in your business if they make a purchase (would work best for restaurant)
Beyond Pokemon Go, Gamification is a very effective marketing technique. A high level of interaction builds deeper, stronger and more lucrative long term relationships between brands and consumers. Creating a connection only provides the potential to interact, so now more than ever, brands must focus on consistent and persistent engagement efforts over time. Consumers are bombarded with advertisements, promotions and offers on a daily basis, making it crucial for brands to design and deploy an effective acquisition and retention strategy. If brands want to remain relevant they need an aggressive and creative strategy to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Applying gamification to a customer loyalty program is a great way to connect, convert and cultivate consumers. Incorporating gamification into loyalty programs reinforces retention and loyalty by rewarding desired behaviors.
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