Learning from Pokémon Go: lessons for your business model

Learning from Pokémon Go

There are many lessons to be learned from Pokémon Go. None included in this article will be tactical executions that will allow you to create lures, leverage your proximity to the Pokémon Gym or even explain how you could incentivise the Pokémon crowd to shop your store.

If you really want that advice, I am hoping that some employee in your company is googling that topic to figure it out, because it shouldn’t be what most readers of this blog should be bothered with.

But if that is NOT the case, then there are valid lessons to take from this experience.

Lesson #1: Your survival depends on your agility. Not a technology, not a fad. Not a promotion. But your agility to adapt and respond and to capture the shifts that matter, and do so continuously. It does not matter if you missed Pokémon or whether you are late to Snapchat. No single ‘curve’ is THE curve. But if you miss them all consistently, it proves that your business model is not responsive to the market.

(For a good example of someone who is always ready to ride a wave, go and have a look at what Mark Flethcer is doing at his Newsagency Blog, trying to elevate the game (with some success) in a moribund channel. But it is not about jumping on this particular bandwagon early (it helps that he is a bit of tech geek) but read back and see how his local area marketing responds to the events of the day – immediately. If you can adapt to a trend that lasts a day, then you are bound to succeed.)

Lesson #2: There is no point in looking to a consultant to predict the trends for you. You can’t outsource the viability of your business model to someone else. Nobody predicted the success of Pokémon Go in this incarnation – probably not even the makers. You will find a lot of ‘gurus’ telling you after the fact that these are the reasons why it worked and became successful and how you should do something similar. The key phrase here is after the fact. There is no limit to the number of preconceived ideas and biases masquerading as insights that you can glean from a success. After the fact.

Lesson #3: The lesson I want to share can be illustrated with this picture, taken by me on a Sunday morning (17 July) in Perth. What you see there are a small group of about 30 -40 people chasing Pokémon in the park. They are all gripped by the small screen in front of them, but they are missing out on the stunning view.

Is that your position too?

There was a discussion on a LinkedIn group explaining how Pokémon should have been the solution that shopping malls should have come up with. That is clearly ridiculous, because (a) no one has the scale that could create a global viral sensation and (b) it is just one fad that will last for a few months only.

The question is: while you are obsessing about this one, silver bullet marketing tactic, do you miss the bigger picture?

Happy hunting, anyway.

Dennis

Dr Dennis Price is co-founder of Ganador: Australia’s only B2B Customer Education Agenc