Operations

How To Take Advantage Of The Pokémon Go Craze

Lexi Tucker
Posted on July 22, 2016

Encourage trainers to ride, not walk, in their journey to become the best.
Encourage trainers to ride, not walk, in their journey to become the best.
[Editor's Note: Don't know the difference between a Poké Ball and a PokéStop? We've included a Poké Dictionary at the bottom of the article to help]

By now, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of the Pokémon Go mobile app. Released July 6, it’s based off the immensely popular Japanese TV and video game series that is now 20 years old.

The premise is simple: open the app, walk around your city, and find and catch Pokémon. The app tracks your location real-time using your phone’s GPS, and encourages people to get out and about.

Since its release, small businesses and entrepreneurs have been banking off of some of the features of the app by providing discounts, refreshments, and other kinds of goodies to try to draw in more paying customers. Now, even ground transportation companies are getting wise and jumping on the hype train.

Nashville marketing agency Inbound Marketing Agents recently planned and executed a Pokémon Go marketing campaign for Signature Transportation Services in record time on July 14. Whitney Duprey, the project manager and marketing specialist in charge of the endeavor, spoke with LCT about how the idea got its start and how other operators can reap the benefits of Pokémania.

Whitney Duprey, project manager and marketing specialist for Inbound Marketing Agents
Whitney Duprey, project manager and marketing specialist for Inbound Marketing Agents

Lightbulb Moment

“The idea originally came from Hal, our SEO manager,” Duprey says. “We were all just sitting around at our desks one day and he said, ‘I think it would be a really good idea if a ground transportation company offered Pokémon Go tours around town.’

“We thought it would be cool to take people to the big sites and landmarks in Nashville, many of which are also PokéStops. Bill Faeth, our CEO, overheard the conversation and said ‘Yes! Let’s do it, but we have to do it quickly.’”

Because they weren’t sure if the app’s popularity was just a passing fancy, the team rushed to make sure the tours would be ready to start the weekend of July 16. Five hours later, they had brainstormed a plan, built web pages, executed a social media ad campaign, wrote a press release, and secured press coverage.

Convenient Trainer Transportation

The tours are $35 a person and last 90 minutes. Limo buses carrying up to 32 passengers take clients on a ride through the city, where they can hunt Pokémon in the comfort of air-conditioning instead of sweating it out walking from one PokéStop to the next.

The bus picks up at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and for a good reason. “Not only is it a big tourist destination, it’s also one of the most popular gyms in town. That way, people can show up early and battle, and when they return they can do it again with the new Pokémon they’ve caught.”

The route was planned by Signature and Inbound. “We have a couple of people who play in the office, and we did a little research. We suggested a few hotspots,” Duprey says. The buses depart at 10 a.m., Noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Capturing Future Customers

The tours were heavily marketed and gained a lot of exposure through radio show mentions, articles on various local websites, and emails sent to Signature’s contacts.

“In terms of marketing efforts, the numbers we saw were really good,” Duprey says. “The traffic for Signature Limousine doubled the day after we launched. They normally get around 570 visitors a day, and the next day they saw almost 1,000.” In addition, Facebook ads targeted at locals and tourists racked up a whopping 544 website clicks and reached 24,094 people.

Will the hype last? No one knows for sure, but Duprey is optimistic. “I think the early adoption numbers are really exciting. I can’t believe it has already outdone Twitter and Tinder. I think provided they continue to release new updates and aspects to the game, whether that’s different Pokémon or more PokéStops, I think it will be around for a while.”

That being said, she offers this advice for operators who want to take advantage of the craze: “Do it as quickly as possible. You don’t want to be the last guy at the party. I think any way you can organically promote it is great. We did some paid Facebook ads, but we also did organic posts right to Signature’s site. We also posted to Reddit and a Nashville Pokémon Facebook page, and found meet-ups in the area that were Pokémon related. There’s lots of really great free ways you can promote this. You just have to get creative and think outside of the box.”

Poké Dictionary
  • Pokémon: Creatures of all shapes and sizes who live in the wild or alongside humans. Made popular by the Japanese TV series and video games, there are 150 original Pokémon.
  • Trainers: The term used to describe people who play the game.
  • Poké Balls: Items used to catch Pokémon .
  • PokéStops: Located at interesting places, such as public art installations, historical markers, and monuments. You can collect more Poké Balls and other items at PokéStops, which show up on your map as blue squares. When you’re close enough to a PokéStop to search it, the box on top of the blue square will open.
  • Gyms: Like PokéStops, Gyms can be found at real locations in the world. Here, trainers can battle the Pokémon of others and strengthen their creatures.
  • Teams: When trainers reach level five, they must choose a team — Mystic, Instinct, or Valor. Every gym they defeat gets turned their team’s color (red, blue, or yellow)

Related Topics: apps, Bill Faeth, inbound marketing, industry trends, innovative marketing, limo buses, mobile applications, research and trends, social media marketing, Tennessee operators, WebXclusive, youth marketing

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
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