Marketing with Pokemon Go!

Since the launch of Pokemon Go on July 6, the app has been downloaded approximately 7.5 million times in the U.S. For those that are unfamiliar with the game, it uses GPS to track your location against the locations of Pokemon that the game places on the real-world map.  7.5 million consumers are out there playing this game, and we believe you can target them effectively and use this app to turn a profit for your business. Marketing to Pokemon Go players is easier than you think–  they are a very excited and passionate group of consumers! I know because I am one.

First things first: here’s a brief explanation of the game for those who haven’t played it yet (I recommend downloading it!) Pokemon trainers (users of the game) use the map and GPS location to track and hunt Pokemon. When you get close to one, your phone vibrates, and it appears on the map. When you select the nearby Pokemon, your camera opens to show exactly what and where the creature is. You toss a Pokeball at the creature and if it hits it, you catch it. There are also Pokestops, represented by a rotating blue cube on your map, where you can stop to get more Pokeballs and other supplies. Most of the time these stops are located at significant places in the community–statues, paintings, murals, fountains, churches, libraries, post offices and many other similar places serve as stops and gyms (where trainers can fight and claim ownership of the gym if they win).

Pokemon Go mapA wild Goldeen appears!marketing to Pokemon Go players

So how do you use this information to help your business? How do you reach these 7.5 million people who are clearly engaged on mobile devices and are already in your neighborhood?

  1. Locate the Pokestops and gyms near your place of business.

    To do this, you should download the app. It’s free. Look to see if there are Pokestops or gyms nearby. If there are (a blue cube with a circle around a stop means it’s close enough to use) then you’ve struck a marketing gold mine.

  2. Purchase lures.

    In the app, go to the store and purchase lure modules in bulk. Lures can only be set at Pokestops, and they attract Pokemon to that location for 30 minutes. Everyone playing the game in your area will see the lure (Look at the blue Pokestops surrounded with swirls of pink confetti in the image above.) If you don’t want to spend enough money to keep lures going all day, then focus on peak Pokemon hunting times. Typically 3- 9 p.m. seems to be the busiest time. If you’re a restaurant, focus on happy hour, lunch and dinner hours. If you’re a retail store, focus on hours after work. Everyone, focus on weekends. If I can steal and adapt a famous quote here, “If you drop it (the lure) they will come.”

  3. If you don’t have a Pokestop, check to see if there are regular Pokemon either in or near your place of business.

    They frequently pop up in similar places, so if you have one or two or three nearby, they may be there for good. Advertise them with signs at your store. Seriously. “We have Pokemon here! Trainers welcome” will go a long way. Encourage them to post screenshots of Pokemon they found at your store on social media and tag you! Their friends will drop by to catch the coveted creatures. (Maybe even offer a discounted item if they show you the social media post in which you’re tagged.)

  4. Welcome the trainers and provide accommodations.

    Consider offering specials like half-priced appetizers or 10 percent off a purchase if you show your Pokedex (collection of Pokemon) or tiered rewards based on your level. Acknowledging the trainers and rewarding them will not only help business, but if you have Pokemon or a Pokestop nearby, they will be frequently repeating customers.

  5. Request to become a new Pokestop or gym.

    Yes, you can request for your store or business to be a Pokestop or a gym now! Just go to the official page and fill out a form! Done! Now get ready for the influx of trainers!

You may be asking — Are you sure? Will this work?


My husband and I went out Pokemon hunting after work in the downtown area of our little city. There are over twenty Pokestops within walking distance and there were hundreds of people out playing. There is an ice cream shop beside the park right next to two Pokestops. Every time I go by it, there is a lure set at the Pokestops and dozens of people sitting around, talking, laughing, playing Pokemon Go and eating ice cream. It’s summer. It’s warm outside (No… it’s unbearably hot!). People who have been walking around catching Pokemon want to sit down at a lure and let the Pokemon come to them, and  they might as well enjoy an ice cream cone while they’re there. I’m 90 percent sure the ice cream shop is paying to keep the lure up and running, and I’m 100 percent sure it’s paying off.

Since we were already out, we stopped by a few shops that were near Pokestops that we had never been in before. Honestly we probably wouldn’t have gone there if there hadn’t been a Pokestop there.

After a while we got hungry, and I didn’t want to go home and cook. So we ate at a restaurant — you guessed it — at a Pokestop. There was no lure set up here so I set one up myself. Our waitress came by with our drinks and asked if we were the ones who dropped the lure (she was playing between tables). Within ten minutes of setting the lure, a group of three guys walked in and sat down with their phones, all set on Pokemon Go. They ordered food and drinks and caught Pokemon brought in by my lure. That’s when it hit me. This restaurant/bar was missing out on a huge opportunity. With a few lures dropped at strategic times, they could take an afternoon lull and turn it into Pokemon Go happy hour. They could bring in hundreds of dollars of business for the cost of just a few lures.

Additionally, some companies are jumping on the opportunity and seeing huge results. In Greenville, SC, Upstate Craft Beer Co. is hosting a pub crawl in the downtown area where adults (a huge portion of Pokemon Go trainers) can go and catch Pokemon, have a few beers, and socialize with other Pokemon trainers. This event already has 152 confirmed participants and 753 marked as interested. The event is still a week away right now. They describe the event in the following brief on Facebook:

“Attention Greenville Pokémon GO trainers!!! We’ll be meeting up for a group pub crawl in downtown Greenville, SC as we try to ‘Catch ’em All’. What better way than with some drinks and fellow trainers! We will meet at Upstate Craft Beer 6:30pm and leave towards downtown at 7pm. We plan on covering about 2 miles and 3 to 4 bars downtown and around Falls Park. Keep in mind that bars may be 21+ to enter.We are currently working on a specific route and partnering with other local businesses. We’ll keep you posted on this side but don’t worry, we got it covered. We encourage you to come dressed in your best Poké-attire. Also, don’t forget your phone charger as you can power up at some of the stops around town.Updates will be posted on this page. Can’t wait to get out and train with everyone. Cheers!”

Don’t get annoyed by the giddy adults running around with their phones humming the Pokemon theme. See them as an opportunity and invite them in, literally, to enjoy their game and the awesome stuff your business has to offer!

Step 1: Create and advertise a welcoming environment.

Step 2: Offer special coupons/discounts.

Step 3: Gotta catch em all!

Step 4: Profit.


Charlotte Stapp PriceMarketing Coordinator

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