So last week, we took a look at the impact and possible future Pokemon Go is having the world of marketing.

Then the marketing world started speaking in tongues and foaming at the mouth trying to leverage the popularity of Pokemon Go.

The Lure of Pokemon Go

It is easy to see why. Last night several of the DigiMar team went on a midnight Pokemon Go hunt. We quickly spotted that some of the locals had found a perfect alignment of 3 Pokestops in a row which can be used to refill in game items. 3 in such close proximity meant items could be refilled there with much ease.

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That moment when you aren’t 8 anymore and can stay up as late as you want catching Pokemon

On top of this people had put down lures on all 3 making it a veritable safari park of catchable Pokemon. When we arrived there were no fewer than 30 people gathered around sitting on the benches, phones in hands, calling out the Pokemon they were catching. And we sat right down and joined in.


Yeah, I’m only level 6 because my boss forced me to restart and change to Team Valor

The police even swung by twice, probably raised an eyebrow at the most sedated impromptu crowd ever, all swiping their phones, said “Huh, ok…” and kept on moving.


The police may have just been farming the Pokestops themselves

That’s the power of this game, you can gather a crowd of strangers in the middle of the night on a Tuesday with very little effort. We joked that if the bars further down the street were a little closer they might have made a killing for a late night Tuesday.

This is a very salient point. Businesses are desperately trying to tap into this, as with anything that is trending as a cultural zeitgeist (no, that isn’t the name of a Pokemon) people can’t help but fall over each other trying to hitch themselves onto.

But here’s the thing as marketers, we (should) know better. You can lead horses to water but you can’t make them drink.

For example, Starbucks can chuck down lures all day at their locations, and yes people will come to catch some Pokemon, but they will only drink if they are thirsty.

Here’s the missing carriage in that train of thought.

Using Lures to attract foot traffic to your location isn’t geared to drive conversions, at best it’s giving brand impressions.

Impression advertising isn’t usually tied into a particular call to action, its more impulsive and incidental. If you are taking a walk and you feel thirsty, you might see a Starbucks logo, think “Yeah I feel like an iced frappe.”

There is a huge distinction between attracting traffic to a location be it real or virtual:

A.)  If a person is interested in a particular thing and might purchase it.


B.)  Enticing someone looking for something entirely unrelated and hoping they will make an impulse purchase.

This impulse buying might strategy work on a hot day with an iced frappe, but Mercedes-Benz, (yes seriously) are putting lures down to bring Pokemon Go trainers to come to their showrooms.

Pollywag car

“Sir, I recommend this model, it has ABS, cruise control and dual overhead Pollywags

What is the likelihood of someone chasing down a free virtual Pokemon into a dealership and thinking “I just caught this Pollywag I should really buy a new C class sedan while I’m at it.”

The conditions and context matter.

Let’s try imagine this example in a different context. If attracting customers through Pokemon Go was a Pay-Per-Click ad, would the landing page be relevant to its keyword search?

Not even close… in an AdWords context. it would be closer to a CPM (Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions) ad.

Your businesses proximity to something relevant to the immediate needs of the consumer is how to make it work. It also needs to be tied into their interests somehow, as they are even less likely to be paying attention to your products than usual because they have Pokemon to catch!

I know this is like super trending right now but did the marketing guys have a Zubat to catch and went “Yeah, yeah, Pokemon Go, marketing, lures, mmhmm. Got it.”

Making It Relevant

Conditions matter and following a common sense formula makes all the difference.

Not Relevant: Cold or Rainy day + plain lemonade stand + Lures = Foot traffic, but low to no sales

Relevant: Hot day + Pokemon themed Lemonade stand + Lures = Converted sales.


Team Instinct pays double

Not Relevant: Mercedes – Benz dealership + Lures = “Uhh thanks, but I’m just here for the Raichu, man.”

Relevant: Mercedes – Benz dealership + Lures + Parents shopping for cars = pacified children while daddy makes up his mind on the leather interior.

Super effective real world examples:

“My local brew house is a Pokémon Gym, and they are offering discounted drinks for members of the team that holds the gym. Pokémon GO is Awesome and I can get drunk for less money now! They are now giving free t-shirts to the gym leaders!”


If your interests include getting cheaper drinks and Pokemon Go this is a fine way of getting people to the location and getting a personal investment, those cheaper drinks will taste like victory if your team is dominating the local brew house’s Pokemon Go gym.

“If a business spends $100 for 14,500 pokecoins, they can buy lures for $0.59/lure. $100 gets you 170 lures and 85 hours worth of increased traffic. If you’re a bar in a college town/city, this is the greatest investment you can make right now.”


” I own a guitar shop located inside a Pokestop, and we’re running a product discount for anyone that uses a Lure Module here. Keeps people in to look around longer, might generate a little word of mouth.”

Again this is a good example of synergy between the promotion and the store, it doesn’t guarantee custom but it does generate impressions through word of mouth and incentive for customers to interact through discounts.


In conclusion, there are innovative ways for businesses to tie this into their marketing, but unless your business happens to be a major player such as McDonalds whose Pokemon Go tie-ins are yet to be launched it’s a case of rock paper scissors if your business and the conditions are right to leverage its popularity.

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