How Can Businesses Use Pokemon Go?

By Max Johnson on July, 26 2016
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It’s week number three of the Pokémon Go craze and the mobile app has dominated the news from users walking off cliffs to crashing into police cars. In our last two blogs, we talked about what Pokémon Go is and how Augmented Reality (AR) may jump into the mainstream, but we did not explain how fixed locations work and how businesses can capitalize on Pokémon Go. 

Before we get into why it’s important for businesses, we felt it necessary to explain the difference between the two types of portals in the game: “Pokéstops” and “Gyms.” 

A Pokéstop is a place where players can gather supplies such as Pokéballs, Potions, and other miscellaneous items used in the game. Players also use Pokéstops to attract Pokémon in the area by placing a timed, thirty-minute “Lure Module” on the portal. As we briefly explained in our first blog, a Lure Module is an in-game device that is placed on a Pokéstop to attract nearby Pokémon. However, these Lure Modules can only be used on Pokéstops and not Gyms.

Gyms are places where players from each individual team (there are three teams) compete with each other to “capture” the location. Whenever a player wins a battle for a gym, that player will then get to pick their strongest Pokémon to stay at the Gym and defend it until it is defeated by someone from a rival team. It’s a repeating process and Gyms are constantly changing teams.


Instead of ignoring the trend, consider Pokémon Go an important marketing tool that can be used by businesses around the Corridor. Businesses near Pokéstops and gyms will ultimately have a bigger advantage over competitors because they have more opportunities to catch player’s attention. The first way a business can catch Pokémon fanatics is to put down a “Lure Module” at their location and host a hub for players to come, stop by, and catch Pokémon. Businesses can buy Lure Modules on the game for about $1/module. This inexpensive option can be paired with a special deal at your location and can have some serious ROI for your business, if foot traffic is important to your location.


The second tip that businesses can implement is to use the “Gym” near you and create a tournament. Sure, this may be a little more difficult than throwing out a lure, but by hosting a one-day tournament and coupling it with a discount, this can be an advantage over competitors who aren’t near a Pokémon Gym. When the tournament is officially over, you can verify the winners with proof of their gamer ID. “Gym leaders” would receive the reward/discount advertised. Players are usually accompanied by other teammates/friends who are on the same team and can increase the odds of creating a new client relationship.


Another method your business can use Pokémon Go is to create a “hunt” for Pokémon in the area. The hunt could be for a rare Pokémon, the most powerful Pokémon, or you could judge the contest by the person who has caught the most Pokémon in the near vicinity. This is a chance for those businesses not located near Pokéstops and gyms to get involved with the trend. Post about the hunt on social media with a creative hashtag that relates the contest and your business, or promote it in your email marketing efforts. After the promoted hunt, have participants post their findings on your Facebook page with screenshots and reward them with an incentive, such as a free appetizer, discount, or gift card! 

Social Media

Finally, offer a deal through social media to increase social media channels and engagement online. Ask players to post about Pokémon they have found at or near your business and have them “tag” you in the post. Players who post about Pokémon can be offered an incentive for tagging you, and in turn, increase your reach. If you’re targeting a specific area, a quick $5-10 Facebook promoted post or ad can increase your engagement with potential customers in your vicinity. 

B2C & B2B

These are just a few ideas to use the Pokémon Go craze to your advantage – and are focused mainly on B2C types of businesses – particularly those that can benefit from increased foot traffic. While Pokémon Go is the current trend, we believe that other AR applications will move quickly into the mainstream. By getting behind this movement now, your business will be better positioned to take advantage of future trends, and you will have opened up new avenues to an untapped customer base. 

For B2B businesses – adoption or discussion about Pokémon Go shows that you are interested in current trends and an innovative thinker. It can also be adopted as an internal culture challenge. Whatever your focus, pay close attention to trends like Pokémon Go, as they tend to be harbingers of widespread adoption of a new technology.

Happy hunting!


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