(Update Sunday, July 17, 2016, scroll to bottom.)
Having lived through several decades of marketing fads, I can say with confidence, Pokemon Go (explained by Vox.com here in 400 words but still inexplicable) is not a small business story. But since it can involve people walking along streets that may have small businesses on them, well, that’s close enough for some pundits and reporters (See links below).
Pokemon Go is a fad
It’s a summertime fad, at that. It’s a summertime virtual fad that is a welcome relief from the tragedy and anxiety we feel in the real world these days.
It’s also a free video game that uses a vintage franchise to introduce some creative uses of augmented reality interwoven with Google Maps technology. (Now, that’s the small business story!)
Pokemon Go is a glimpse into the future
One day soon, augmented reality and virtual reality will be even more interwoven into Google Maps than it is today via Pokemon Go. And then it is going to become an integral part of how retailers and restaurateurs and other businesses along Main Stree will provide customers the chance to experience their stores online, even before their first visit.
Have fun with Pokemon Go
Play with it. But don’t chase after a new marketing fad that others claim can help your business — especially if you are one of the millions of small businesses that haven’t even created a website yet.
But in the reality of running a business today, there are dozens of more important digital marketing skills–and traditional marketing skills–you need to master before chasing the Pokemon Go fad.
But, I’ve been wrong before. So here are some stories that want you to believe Pokemon Go has something to do with your business:
- BusinessInsider.com | Pokémon Go is actually helping small businesses
- AdWeek.com | Pokémon Go Is Inspiring Small Retailers. So Has Augmented Reality Gone Mainstream?
- TheStreet.com | ‘Pokémon Go’ Helping Small Business Owner Boost Sales
- Money Magazine | Pokémon Go Is Good Business for Small Businesses
- Business News Daily | 4 Ways to Put “Pokémon Go” to Work for Your Small Business
- SmallBizTrends.com | Pokemon Go Transformed from April Fool’s Joke to Big Success
(Update Sunday, July 17, 2016) | In an apparent move to speed up the half-life of Pokemon Go, Yelp has added a filter to its app that LifeHacker explains like this:
“All you have to do is open up the Yelp app on your iOS or Android device or pull up the Yelp website, search for a type of local business (bars, restaurants, etc.), then swipe through the filter options at the top and select “PokéStop Nearby.” Now you’ll only see businesses that are a PokéStop or have one in its vicinity. For the feature to work well, however, Yelp users have to check-in to these locations and say there’s one nearby by answering a quick question.”
In other words, marketers are going to jump in with “make-work” activities for small businesses rather than doing things that actually help them develop a long-lasting and strategic web presence. We stand by our earlier predictions: Pokemon Go is a good example of what the future holds in bridging virtual and real worlds. But a better bang for a small business owners buck is updating their website (or creating one).