8 Marketing Lessons Learned from the Success of Pokémon Go

August 17, 2016

3:30 pm

The launch of augmented reality game Pokémon Go sparked the attention of both newcomers and longtime fans of the series, and saw a huge surge in popularity, seemingly overnight. While this is a rare phenomenon, it teaches brands a much-needed lesson in how they can incorporate unique tactics into their marketing strategies to breathe a breath of fresh air into their business.

That’s why we asked eight entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:

Question: What can business owners learn from the success of Pokémon Go that they can use to generate virality for their own product/service launches?

Their best answers can be found below:

  • Real-Time Engagement Is Always On: One of the most fascinating things we are seeing about the Pokémon Go phenomena is people running to certain destinations or using the app in general at all hours of the day as they attempt to catch them all. If nothing else, this is solid proof that engagement is always on. As brands, it’s our job to find a way to make sure we are interacting with our customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. – Phil LaboonEyeflow Internet Marketing
  • Innovation Can Mean Rearranging the Pieces: GPS, mobile augmented reality, and social gaming: these are concepts that have each been around for years in the mobile space at this point. It just took vision, coupled with fantastic execution, to put everything in the right place to create such a popular app. Innovation doesn’t always mean reinventing the wheel. Sometimes it can just be a result of building something fresh from existing parts. – David EhrenbergEarly Growth Financial Services
  • Familiar Aesthetics in New Technology: People have been waiting for a mainstream implementation of augmented reality for a long time. The media has touted its “cool” factor and usefulness, but most consumers haven’t had direct exposure to it. Through the Pokémon branding, people are able to explore augmented reality and how it works through a lens that they understand and can immediately grasp. – Mattan GriffelOne Month
  • New Market Conditions Should Serve as Your Guide: You can’t repeat the same success again and again. Instead, you have to move your presentation and your product forward. Yes, Pokemon Go is considered a nostalgic release, but it wouldn’t have made a riff of a headline if Nintendo had just released more Pokemon cards. They moved the whole game forward to match new market conditions, which was a brilliant tactic. – Brandon Stapper858 Graphics
  • User-Generated Content Is Key: Tapping into the nostalgia of a generation can be extremely effective at promoting the virality of a new service or product. It also helps that that generation has expertise with social platforms for creating that virality. Find a nostalgic angle that you can use to appeal to millennials, but delivered in a technologically relevant way. Embrace social platforms and user-generated content communities. – Duran InciOptimum7
  • People Are Attracted to Experiences, Not Apps: The Pokémon Go craze did something that isn’t done well very often: change the app experience itself. Instead of sitting inside and playing alone or with someone else, users are now outside and playing the game. When you can fundamentally create a new experience for a user, you tap into an entirely new circuit of dopamine. – Carter ThomasBluecloud Solutions
  • A Good Game Can’t Be Underestimated: If you’re looking to build a product or service offering that has the potential to spread like wildfire, never underestimate the draw of a good game. Game mechanics drive gameplay, which can easily become not only engaging, but addictive. There are many factors involved. Focus on making it fun, rewarding, competitive and social. Turns out we can learn a lot from Nintendo. – Robby BerthumeBull & Beard
  • Virality Boosts Engagement: Pokémon Go has shown virality can come from engagement and curiosity. The deep engagement of users sparks the interest in other potential users. Social media has also been flooded by photos and videos of users playing the game: this is a viral loop business owners can emulate to generate attention and curiosity towards their brand. – Bryanne LawlessBLND Public Relations

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Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.