I've enjoyed watching the conversations happening on Twitter and Facebook this past week between adults--mostly parents--debating the merits of Pokémon Go.
Some are super excited to get involved and catch Pokémon with their kids, thankful they've found some common ground. They like the idea of enjoying time outside doing something the kids actually want to do. Others think it's a complete waste of time.
Whatever side of the fence you fall on about Pokémon Go's merits as a children's game, you can't argue its impact on local businesses and marketing.
Here are three reasons you can't ignore Pokémon Go--in fact, you're missing a massive opportunity for your business if you do!
The local marketing potential is amazing.
Inc. columnist Walter Chen wrote an awesome column last week with tips for local businesses to take advantage of their proximity to PokéStops and Gyms. You can throw down a lure to attract gamers to your location, offer thematic specials with signage visible to those visiting Gyms, and more.
You might also want to check out PokéStops and Gyms in your neighborhood or city and see if there are good opportunities for advertising with brochures or signage.
Of course, all of this assumes you're actually in the game. You need to know how to throw a lure and see what Stops and Gyms are nearby.
Pokémon Go is a marketing gateway drug.
This crazy-addictive game has just blown the doors open on public acceptance of augmented reality. Users are now spending more time in the app chasing down Pokémon than in their Snapchat, Twitter, and even Facebook apps!
As I said above, we're actually seeing adults get excited about running around town playing a video game with their kids.
What this means for marketers is that the next time those adults are asked to interact with an augmented-reality interface on their mobile device, it's no longer a foreign concept to them.
They're growing comfortable with it.
They even enjoy it.
That's super important, because pushing new marketing technology on consumers before they're ready typically spells instant rejection of the concept.
Virtual- and augmented-reality devices are expected to become a $4 billion market by 2018. Pokémon Go just ramped up adoption in a massive way, helping pave the way for businesses that will use this technology in the future to connect with consumers.
It's important to understand what you're dealing with.
When something as impactful and popular as Pokémon Go comes along, marketers need to jump in with both feet and get to know it.
We've already learned that there are a few potentially serious security risks with Pokémon Go. If you use Google Drive in your business, you'll want to at least be aware that you're giving developer Niantic access to your entire Google account by registering to play. You might want to consider using a different Gmail account for experimenting with Pokémon Go.
The second issue identified in Joseph Steinberg's article linked above is that hackers are already spreading malware with shady downloads. Because Pokémon Go isn't available on the App Store in all countries, users are turning to less credible sources to download.
Steinberg wrote, "One variant of such a malevolent version of the app was discovered by the security firm Proofpoint and is quite serious: it infects Android devices and allows hackers to access the infected devices via a backdoor."
As a business owner and marketer, you need to lead the charge for your team by making sure you understand any risks with new augmented- reality apps. Can you imagine pitching and winning support to use them on a company device, then infecting an internal network?
It would be pretty difficult to get support for trying out new marketing technologies after that.
Pokémon Go is a game changer in the marketing arena. And it's just now coming out in Japan! We don't even understand the full impact yet; it's early days. But smart marketers will be at the forefront, leading their employees and clients confidently forward as augmented reality evolves.
Are you ready for it?