I admit it. I’m a hater.
I hate the very idea of Pokémon Go.
Not the going out and participating and getting exercise in the real world part. The this game is the second coming of Jesus so let’s over-hype it part.
It’s possible that I’m hardwired to be a hater any time a trend comes along that requires bandwagon-hopping.
I’m not even sure I fully know why.
I am a Pokémon Hater. These are my confessions.
Maybe I’m bitter that despite its forceful re-entry into the world, Pokémon fever is unlikely to let up any time soon. It has, after all, survived 20 years already. And the new mobile app game play isn’t even available worldwide yet.
Look at that lil yello mofo. What are you doing right now?
It could be years of being disappointed by the next best thing (*cough* GOOGLE WAVE *cough*) or maybe I’m just getting too old for this mess.
Seriously though. Normally I’d say my resistance to some new trend HAS to be for one of a handful of not-that-bad reasons. Usually because I prefer to be way ahead of the trend (like I was with Facebook) or join in after everyone stops talking about it (literally started messing with Snapchat yesterday).
Usually I’m not this much of a nay sayer. But I’m a grown ass man dog.
(Okay woman- have you never seen Kings of Comedy? I can’t be calling another grown man “Delicious”. Anyways…)
My Pokémon hate though. It’s different.
See- *looking around to see if the coast is clear* -I’m old enough to have been around when the first Pokémon craze hit. I didn’t want to catch them all then. I couldn’t give two nut sacks about catching even one of them now.
However, being in close proximity to two sets of twins under the age of ten, I wanted to make sure I still had a good reason for them not to borrow my new cell phone or any of the old ones that still work on a wifi connection.
Auntie can’t become known as a party-pooper.
(I don’t need a reason for this GIf besides a- I mentioned cell phones and 2- life is short.)
So of course, after about two weeks of cursing silently to myself and muttering under my breath, I had to learn about all this Pokécrap. It’s one thing for me to be a hater. It’s another for me to willingly spoil it for these kids, or anyone else for that matter.
Surprisingly, I found not only would I not necessarily HATE if my nieces and nephews were interested in this instead of Roblox videos on YouTube?
There’s actually money in it for entrepreneurial folks such as ourselves.
Should you care about Pokémon Go?
To the core of my soul I want to tell you that no, this is a bunch of bull and an utter waste of time.
But that would be a lie and lying is like having an extra job and I prefer to do as little work as can possibly result in excellence.
So instead I feel as if it is my duty to inform you that if you’ve been hating on Pokémon like I have, it might be time to give it another look, under some specific conditions.
Not playing the game, at least not yet. Heavens no.
Though we will be coming back to that.
If you’re a Pokémon hater like myself, there’s really only two reasons why you should pause to reconsider participating in this latest nationwide affliction.
First, if you’re an entrepreneur in search of a hot new business.
Second, if you already own a local business that could use more foot traffic.
Why should entrepreneurs care about Pokémon?
Apparently Pokémon fever is spawning industries related to just the new app. Since you have to travel a certain distance in order to get your Pokémon to “hatch”, some entrepreneurs are offering to travel with your device in order to get this to happen more expediently.
There are ads for this for Pokémon hatchers, as well as other Pokémon-related services, and apparently people are ready to pay. I guess since you can use programs like “Find my iPhone” to track exactly where your device is, if you verify the identity of the person with your cell, theft isn’t as much of an issue.
Of course there are some legal issues, including whether or not hatching someone else’s Pokémon violates the terms and services of the game. But this isn’t the only opportunity.
The Thumbtack startup recently started including Pokémon expertise as one of its categories.
Yes, you could train people to play the game, or to get better results from their… Pokémon-ing, I guess. For cash money.
In Austin, there’s a new tour of the city that specializes in organized Pokémon expeditions– American Genius is calling it PokeTourism. It’s kind of brilliant really.
You put together
- seeing the hot spots of Austin
- The shared interest of Pokémon
- Discovering your Pokémon in the safety of a group rather than alone with a stranger
- Being driven around on a route, as opposed to driving yourself about aimlessly.
I’m a little mad I didn’t think of it.
Of course, there’s also the consideration of how the game itself can change how apps generate revenue, by basing other games on a similar model. It isn’t the first augmented reality app or game – it’s so far just the most popular. It’s not even the first app or game to require real-world interaction to play.
At the moment, the game’s manufacturer hasn’t put a price on the opportunity to be integral to the game, outside of the lures that increase the chances of capturing a Pokémon, though that is supposed to be in the works as we speak.
Not only is the chance to be a featured spot to play the game something a business would pay for – there are some digital-only businesses that might want to pay for the ability to participate in ways brick and mortar businesses could not.
Then there are the other types of apps we could see in the future. Television shows could create augmented reality tours, or even scavenger hunts, of locations where episodes were shot. Dating apps could spring up around games like Pokémon.
Look for a lot of common interest plus real world interaction plus augmented reality hits to follow. Pokémon Go is just the beginning.
How local businesses are benefitting from Pokémon Go.
So in case, like me, you had no idea how something like Pokémon could possibly be of benefit to a local business, let me give you a quick rundown of how the game play sends people to brick and mortar businesses.
Pretend you’re one of your potential customers for a second and that there’s no way a person your age would have disdain for this kind of thing.
To play the game (told you we’d come back to that), you’d want to catch Pokémon, train them, and battle them against other Pokémon. Without getting too far into how to play Pokémon Go, the more you do any of these three things, the better you can do in the game.
But to catch them, you must
- leave your house
- Use your phone to determine where they are
- Go to an area where they may be lurking
- Catch them
- Team up with other people to train (repeatedly at the same Gym to gain prestige)
- and as a team, battle at a Gym to defend or take it over.
Also there’s something about balls. And I’ve always wanted to say “balls” in a legit marketing article and actually be on topic.
If you own a business with a physical location, you may find that Pokémon or the Gyms where they compete are located near you, or even within your commercial space. If they aren’t, you can buy items in the game (incense or lures), to get Pokémon to come to your location.
In either case, this means
- people in your location,
- Actively using their smartphones,
- Who may want to stick around for a while,
- Or even come back repeatedly.
This is like a dream come true to some business owners – if you own a coffee shop, bar, or another location where people hang out, bring their friends and buy things during their visits, well, Bob’s your uncle.
Of course, there is the fact that this can easily turn into a nightmare if you’re a restaurant or gas station that relies on a constant stream of new customers to continue to increase profits. You can reportedly soon opt out of the game as a location if it becomes a problem.
(Although you could also designate a Pokémon area or let them use your space only on slow days. Or create some other kind of mutually beneficial situation, as the terms and conditions of the game permit. Either way too many patrons is a better problem to have than not enough.)
In addition to having special offers for people who come by your establishment to play, you can also offer your own ideas and expertise to players.
Worried that your dry cleaning business or roofing company isn’t sexy enough to be part of the Pokemon phenomenon? Join a network like LureDeals, which combines savings buyers want with limited Pokemon Go offers. Don’t forget to update your Yelp listing while you’re at it.
There are some other things you can do to take advantage of thePokémon trend as a digital business even if your location isn’t open to the public or by appointment only. I’ve yet to see them widely tested, but a few things come to mind:
- Combining beacons with known Pokémon Go gathering spots
- Location aware advertising campaigns (on Facebook or in apps) that are configured only to pop up when near a heavily populated Pokémon Go sighting or Gym
- Text ad campaigns or text based advertising designed to target Pokémon mobile users at various levels and stages (Good if you have an app or game that would appeal to Pokémon Go players)
Leveraging Pokémon Go isn’t right for every business.
The results may be better for a business where people return to frequently, or hang out, especially those where an increased length of time may mean more money spent.
- Return to frequently (like a gas station or fluff and fold) or
- Hang out (casinos, bars, tourist attractions.
But the idea may not be as promising for places you want people to spend limited amounts of time or come only a few times a year – tax preparation services, hardware stores, and other retail locations come to mind.
I personally have to admit though – seeing some of the smart ways new entrepreneurs and local business owners are using Pokemon Go to generate business makes me a hate it just a little bit less.
Doubt I ever fall in love with it, given my initial hatred of all things Pokemon dating back to the 90s.
But it’s AIGHT.