Have you noticed a large number of people walking around with their heads down looking at their phones? If so, you’ve probably noticed a player of the viral sensation Pokémon Go. From the user’s perspective, this fun game is getting us outside, active, and interacting with others (albeit via mobile). At a closer look, though, this app has potentially increased Nintendo’s valuation by an estimated $7.5 billion.
What can you as a small business do to learn from this craze? Read below for five marketing tips that any small business can use to help increase their marketing efforts.
1. Deliver the Right Marketing at the Right Time
The first step to driving a successful marketing campaign is identifying your target market. From there, determine which media you can use to reach that market. Is your entire market on Facebook only? Or do they also use SnapChat? While this is a major part of the marketing plan, it only accomplishes half of the goal. Knowing what to say and where to say it is the first part. Next is when.
The when in a marketing plan is critical to success. In the case of Pokémon, the timing was perfect. The app encourages individuals to get outside, visit new places, and be active. Would that have shown much success five months from now in December? Of course not! But, it is the middle of summer, school is out, and people are looking for a reason to get outside and enjoy the weather. A perfect time to release an app that encourages you to do what you already want to do!
For a small business, the when of your marketing is just as important as the where and what.
2. Social Interaction Drives Our Decision Making Process
With our innate need to feel belonging in a highly social world, it is no wonder that trends catch on so quickly (2.3 billion active social media users will help that cause). But that need to feel a bond with a particular brand is not something new. From Apple to the local small business down the street, consumers want to feel part of a brand on an emotional level. According to Susan Gunelius, “The trick for marketers is determining how to make consumers feel loved and feel like they belong to a larger group.”
Pokémon Go accomplished this task by making the entire experience social. Even if you are not playing the game, surely you’ve noticed someone posting a Facebook status or Tweet about their experience. News stations are covering stories about the trend. When you hear those stories and see people walking down the street having fun and smiling, it is almost impossible to avoid the urge to get involved.
Small businesses can learn from this by encouraging their top customers to comment on their posts and share their stories with friends. In today’s world, most people will avoid buying a product without first reading a review or consulting a friend. Use that social status to your advantage.
3. High Marketing Budgets Are Not Required for High ROI
How many times did you hear about Pokémon Go before it went live? Did you see ads in all of the social channels or on television? Probably not. Actually, there was no big marketing campaign to launch the new app. Compare that to the launch of a new car, cosmetic product, or Hollywood movie and you’ll see quite a difference it marketing effort. But why choose to avoid a major marketing launch?
While those in charge of advertising the new app couldn’t have truly predicted the viral sensation it would become in less than 48 hours, they were quite sure of their market and timing. Points 1, 2, and 5 of this blog article were in place and ready to go. With something that perfect, why spend millions in advertising?
The biggest takeaway here is that investing thousands (or millions) of marketing dollars into a business does not always yield success. It all goes back to the what, where, and when. Who is your market, what should you tell them, where should that be told, and finally when? Connecting with your customers on the right level.
4. Nostalgia Gives us a Sense of Identity
We all love nostalgia. After all, who doesn’t enjoy remembering the great times of their childhood? Which, speaking of nostalgia, Crystal Pepsi is making a comeback for a short time. If that gave you a warm and fuzzy feeling, then you have just experienced nostalgia marketing. If you, however, have no idea what Crystal Pepsi is and instead searched Google for an answer, read an article, and then thought, “Well I have to try this out,” you have just fallen into point 2 of this blog article (need for social interaction).
For small businesses, tapping into a specific part of your target markets nostalgic childhood can yield wonderful results – as long as it is relevant to your brand. While throwing an 80s party sounds fun (and trust me, it is), if it does not relate back to your brand your customer will never make the connection back to you.
5. Create a Club that Everyone Can Join
One of the biggest points about Pokémon Go is finding Pokémon; however, not all are available everywhere. With specific Pokémon only showing up in certain areas, the Pokémon Company has created a feeling of exclusivity. Even if that feeling is not at the top of mind, players don’t want to feel left out from all the fun just because they avoided an area. Who wants to be that one person who didn’t go down to the park to catch that one character?
Small businesses can take a major lesson from this tactic. If you can make your customers feel as though they are part of a special club, your business, brand, and product can now feel like a special status. This can help you delight your customers while nourishing a great relationship.