Will Pokemon Go Help Your Marketing?


If you look around anywhere these days, you’ve probably seen kids of all ages running around looking into their smartphones catching Pokemon via the new Pokemon Go app from Niantic. Simply put, the app uses your phone camera to collect your data for sale to third parties who will market their products and services to you let you find and catch Pokemon for your collection. So you roam around to a spot where Pokemon are and catch and I presume trade, or hatch Poke eggs (I’m not playing). You also go to places and fight other people and pokemon in the gyms. While a few people have been injured or mugged, for the most part the biggest issue is people addicted to their phones not paying attention as they get exercise and socialize with other humans in person.

This post came up in the Jersey Writer Facebook page:

Authors can leverage the crazy popularity of ‪#‎PokemonGo‬ by dropping $10 or so on “lures” during book signings or other events. Cheap, easy, effective. ‪#‎kidlit‬, ‪#‎marketing‬

 The premise is simple: Just tell people there are Pokemon near you at your book signing and people will line up to buy your book while they catch Magikarp! Or will they?
Since the game is new, I can’t say for sure. There are mixed reviews about whether or not increased foot traffic to stores boosts sales. For some places, I’m sure store owners can guilt persuade new visitors into buying some cupcakes or a new shirt. Other places don’t do as well with people who could care less about your store and are only there for Pokemon or for the gym. I observed this in Virginia last week, seeing a bunch of people in battlefield parks paying little to no attention to the park itself, focusing on their smartphones for an Abra.
 So my personal opinion is that using a $10 lure probably works, since it’s low-cost. At $10 If you sell anywhere from 2-5 books (depends on your cost) you’ll cover even slightly profit from your cost. Even if you lose, $10 for some increased attention isn’t necessarily bad. However, don’t assume that most of the people who come to find your Pokemon give a darn about your book or even that they can be guilted into buying a copy. Also, this only works if you’re going to play off Pokemon Go into a clever ad. Just saying “I have Pokemon!” isn’t going to work. I speak from observed experience- people using Pokemon lures to get people to show up at things with the hope they will care about what they do. News flash: Maybe 10% will listen, the rest want their Pokemon.

If you’re doing a book signing or other event, and you’re using Pokemon Go to attract people, let me know how it goes.