The Pokemon Go phenomenon may have peaked, but it sure lit a fuse for marketers to think about augmented reality, location-based marketing, and how their brands might fit in.
As with adopting any other technology for marketing, many marketers will treat it as a gimmicky bandwagon.
I stumbled across an AdAge article with an interesting insight on why Pokemon Go finally managed to capture the world’s imagination when so many AR and location-based technologies have tried since the first Foursquare checkin 7 years ago:
“Users are driving the adoption, not marketers. Gary Vaynerchuk famously said that “marketers ruin everything.” As marketers, we are biased toward solving our own business problems first, and our consumers’ problems second. Despite what we tell ourselves, no one wants to see our ads magically come to life in their newspaper, nor have they ever asked themselves why they can’t scan a cereal box for more detailed information.
“People want to be entertained and inspired. Pokémon Go is entertainment on overdrive, turning the regular world into one filled with animated characters, battles and surprises. Pokémon Go has content at its core, coming from a long lineage of video games, TV shows and playing cards. Its only business challenge is finding new ways to entertain its audience, and a gaming app was a logical extension.
“Eventually we, as marketers, may ruin Pokémon Go, too. You can bet that in board rooms across the world executives are meeting to plan brand takeovers of popular Pokestops and somewhere, someone is pitching a catfood sponsorship for Meowth.”
In the wake of Pokemon Go, there will likely be a surge of hastily created AR apps and location-based marketing campaigns. Marketers see the hordes of Pokemon Go players and wonder about how to redirect them to their brands and businesses. I think the better approach is to question how these technologies can be genuinely entertaining and useful to their consumers. It’s ultimately not about the technologies as much as it’s about making our brands or businesses more compelling.
We’re in an awkward adolescent stage of digital marketing. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how brands can adopt these technologies.
Here’s a related cartoon I drew four years ago on location-based marketing.