Pokémon Go has gained an astounding 15 million users within a week of launching. The game currently holds a higher popularity rank than Facebook. Pokémon and Nintendo has a thing or two to teach us about millennial marketing.

Or perhaps we should say, their seeming lack of marketing.

Regardless of how you feel about the game, it’s is impressive how Pokémon Go has motivated millennials to not only buy into the game, but to get out of their comfort zone as well. According to some Twitter feeds from the game’s fans, it has even motivated those with social anxiety and agoraphobia to leave their homes and engage with others. While this is most likely a temporary occurrence, we can’t deny that the game has strongly motivated the millennial generation.

This article is all about the Pokémon Go millennial marketing strategy and how to implement it to capture this generation for your own business.

But what if millennials aren’t in my target market?

They should be. The future of your business is in the 20-30 year olds. And with an annual spending power of $200 billion, they have quite a bit to contribute to the marketplace.

So, bottom line. How did they capture the millennials, who have been labeled as the most distracted, disloyal, and disinterested generation today?

Pokémon Go Millennial Marketing1. They DIDN’T Advertise

How did you hear about Pokémon Go? Most likely, you heard like we did: through social media and word-of-mouth. Niantic, Pokemon, and Nintendo, the three companies involved in the project, didn’t launch a huge advertising campaign. In fact, they didn’t put out even one TV commercial. How did they get the word out? Twitter. The three companies sent out a simple tweet to announce that the game was available for  download from the app store.

But wait…my Tweets don’t generate that kind of Buzz! There has to be something I’m missing!

True. Not all of us can send out one little Tweet and gain 15 million customers. But without advertising, how did they do it?

  • They started with a strong brand. Pokemon has an incredibly strong brand. Pokémon has spent the past 20 years building trust with it’s current customers. They’ve generated high quality content in the way of video games, a traditional trading card game, and a TV anime cartoon series that the millennial generation grew up with. Millennials already KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST the Pokémon brand.
  • They spread the word without traditional advertising. According to Forbes, only 1{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of millennials respond to advertising of any kind. TV, magazines, radio, or even internet ads. According to the Journal of Psychology, Millennials are the most skeptical generation. Because millennials generally distrust advertising, the lack of advertising actually worked to Pokémon’s advantage.
  • They relied on word of mouth. Who do millennials trust more than Pokémon and Nintendo? Their friends. Their co-workers. Yes, even a stranger on the street they see using the product. Second to personal experience, word-of-mouth is the best source of credible information because it is up-to-date and seemingly unbiased. Millennials value and rely on this type of information.

2. The app is FREE

Personal experience is the BEST way to get a millennial to buy into your brand. They may trust their friends and experts, but they trust their personal experience most of all. The Pokémon Go app is a free game, which gave players the ability to start playing right away, without any barrier at all.

C’mon! I can’t give away my products for free! I won’t make any money!

Here’s this interesting part. Although Pokémon Go is a free game, the game brings in an daily net revenue of $1 million! In addition to this, Nintendo stocks increased by 25{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be}, as of Monday.

But wait…you said the app was free?

While the app itself is free, the game offers in-app purchases. This gives the players themselves the choice to buy things that enhance the game experience or speed up game objective achievement. So while the game is based on free content, it creates and reveals a need for upgrades and offers opportunities to purchase them.

Quite simply, they mastered the up-sell.

3. The Pokémon Go Trainer Experience

Millennials value experiences over tangible objects. Millennials grew up through the 2008 crash. They watched their family and friends lose their jobs, homes, and life savings. They don’t want to work their whole lives for things they may lose. They know they will be able to keep the intangible memories and friendships they gain from an experience. They would rather go to a concert than buy a band t-shirt.

Pokémon Go offered a new way to experience mobile gaming.

Pokémon Go ExperienceThey did this through the augmented reality interface. This generated a brand new way to game with a really cool interface. Usually, video games aim to transport gamers into a created world. What’s so unique about Pokémon Go is that they brought the Pokémon game into our world. What 10-year-old Pokémon fan didn’t want to become a trainer?

They essentially made the dreams of a whole generation come true. You can’t beat that kind of experience.

They’ve also made it an interactive experience by allowing individual players to team up with friends, and yes, even strangers on the street. Pokémon Go is facilitating new friendships and nurturing existing friendships.



Bottom Line. How do you model the Pokémon Go success?

Be realistic.

Pokémon and Nintendo are global companies with billions of loyal fans. While following their model is an effective way to captivate millennials and generate more business, you probably wont get the response they did right away.

Be patient.

Pokémon spent 20 years building a trusted brand and growing with a generation. A company cannot just try to implement the marketing of Pokémon Go and expect these results. They need the foundation of rapport first.

Offer great free content.

Millennials will trust companies that invest in empowering others. This is putting out quality blogs, articles, or videos that do not include any traditional sales pitching.

Offer an experience.

According to the Harris Study, 78{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} would choose to spend money on an experience or event over buying something desirable. Millennials DO need tangible objects! So when selling these things, position value propositions to focus on the EXPERIENCE of the benefits of owning those products. Also make sure the buying process is a pleasant, safe, and enjoyable.

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