Pokémon GO Marketing! How to make the most out of the trend of the year

Pokemon Go Marketing

August 23, 2016

The internet hasn’t seen a craze like this in years. Since the release of Pokémon GO in July this year, more and more people can be seen walking the streets, heads buried in their smartphones on their quest to catch ‘em all. From Pikachu to Polywhirl, from Machop to Mew, the hunt is on and there’s no stopping it. But Pokémon Go is not just a game. For the developers at Niantic and the Pokémon Company, the hunting frenzy is set to evolve into a goldmine – and not only for them! Many local businesses particularly in highly-populated urban areas are also rubbing their hands at prospect of profiting from the many point-of-sale (POS) the craze offers. All it takes is some clever Pokémon GO marketing …

Shops can influence where Pokémon appear

As the owner or operator of a business in a major city, you are in a position to influence exactly where a Pokémon might pop up. All you need is a Pokéstop. If you as a shop manager can ensure that rare Pokémon materialize in your shop, you can be sure that the eager Pokémon trainers will not be far behind!

Of course, your shop has to be relevant. I’m sure you could get lots of Pokémon to appear in a shop selling zimmer frames but you’re probably aiming at the wrong target audience! But this doesn’t mean that Pokémon GO marketing is limited to trendy gaming shops either. It’s all about giving Pokémon GO players a reason to enter your business.

The idea of hosting Pokémon directly in-store isn’t a bad one and it’s currently one of the few ways to officially profit from Pokémon GO. But as always, fantasy knows no bounds and clever marketing experts have already been hard at work to identify additional ways to profit from the trend of the year.


Pokemon Go XOVI SchiggySome businesses are already going on the offensive and openly advertising using Pokémon GO. Players who have reached level 10 are offered a 10% discount on certain products, players on level 20 get 20% and so on and so forth. Of course this can get a bit silly once you start offering 90% or 100% discounts so it’s up to you so decide how far you want to go! (The highest I’ve seen so far is 40% for level 40.)

Another example: In future, it could be possible to determine the appearance of specific Pokémon in your shop, which you could then link to some sort of discount. Let’s take Pikachu for example – the well-known and recognisable face of the Pokémon franchise and a main character in the TV series.

In terms of Pokémon GO marketing at your local POS, you could link a specific discount offer to the appearance of Pikachu in your shop. “Catch Pikachu in our shop and get 5% off” could be one way of phrasing it, and it works with several Pokémon too: “Catch 3 Pokémon in our shop get 10% of your next purchase” – etc, etc.

Pokémon GO Marketing = clever POS marketing

There’s no need to wait around for official Pokémon discount offers to be announced. If you know your business and your customer base well, you’ll know exactly how to entice customers to your POS. Even so, it will still be interesting to see what the “official” marketing options will consist of. It could be that large businesses will be able to cooperate directly with the developers of Pokémon GO and therefore benefit from direct exposure. In this way, huge numbers of potential new customers would be exposed to their brand simply by being associated with the Pokémon franchise.

Here, more “traditional” business owners could be set to miss out – or perhaps not. Pokémon GO is based on Ingress, a similar game which has been using augmented reality for a number of years. A number of real-life coordinates were therefore already available so the number of so-called “Pokéstops” is already quite high. Pokéstops are refuelling stations where players can stock up and virtual supplies and equipment for their Pokémon team.

Some shop owners who haven’t actively got involved with Pokémon GO marketing have already got lucky just by the fact that a virtual Pokéstop is located directly by their shop! Their business therefore automatically benefits from greater exposure and higher footfall which – hopefully – translates into sales and profit.

Kit out your Pokéstop and attract gamers

Like many gaming apps, Pokémon GO makes its money from in-app purchases. It’s a simple principle: the game itself is free but players have the opportunity to purchase virtual equipment for real money. It’s already possible for shop owners to drop “lures” around their Pokéstops – these potions attract Pokémon so that they appear more often in an immediate areas. At the moment, these lures only last for 30 minutes but they cost less than €1.

The result is that new Pokémon appear more frequently in the area – and where Pokémon are, gamers follow! This increases the number of potential customers in the area surrounding a business. Wherever a higher than average number of Pokémon appear in an area or wherever a popular Pokéstop is found, the Pokémon trainers are bound to gather to re-equip and to catch Pokémon.

It has been suggested that the words “sponsored” and “mcdonalds” have been spotted within the Pokémon GO app’s code – suggesting that the developers are already starting to get big business onside. This would open up a whole new realm of possibilities for discounts and offers and the hype surrounding Pokémon GO would only grow. How these new opportunities work will become clearer in the months to come – and it will also be interesting to see whether Pokémon GO is able to maintain its current level of popularity.


Pokémon GO and the marketing possibilities that come with it have the potential to change local point-of-sale (POS) marketing. Business owners have more and more opportunities to attract potential customers into their shops – at the moment it’s Pokémon GO but in future there are bound to be other games which work in the same way. The trick is to recognize and respond to trends before they disappear again. The legacy of Pokémon GO will be the recognition that offline shops can benefit from online marketing by linking it with local POS marketing. Pokémon GO exploits this niche perfectly which is why is currently so lucrative. Even when the current Pokémon trend has come and gone, these marketing principles will remain …

Author Björn Tantau

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