Marketing 101 and Pokémon Go

The past two weeks have been buzzing with the news about the new mobile app from Nintendo “Pokémon Go”, so I guess one more article about it won’t hurt.

I want to stay true to my roots and see how such a brand managed to reinvent itself and get a market boost in less than 8 days from the time the app was launched. They are even reporting 12 million daily players …

The 5 C’s of marketing can easily explain the prospect the product has and the strategy underlying to launch it.


The game naturally appeals to “Generation Z” as they have been born into the digital and mobile era and are more than tech savvy to quickly pickup on what the game does. The element of connectivity and sharing, as the game evolves to support teams, adds up to the challenge and naturally the appeal.

Generation Y” aka “Millenniums” are another target. Again the use of technology comes as they have seen the industry evolve and picked up as it kept bringing new innovations and gadgets to the mix.

Generation X” although might not seem as a possible target, they have grown to adapt more as the job market demanded the knowledge and the skills required to carry the work. However, unlike the other two, Generation X are still the skeptic. In the book by Simon Sinek “Start with Why” he talks about “Laggards” the 16% of the population who would be last to adapt to a new innovation. I think for this game. Generation X would be among the 16% to fully adapt it and go on board with it. This does not mean that the majority would not try the app. They would, but will not be as active.


Nintendo is by far the largest Japanese gaming company in the world. The mother of Wii, Super Mario, and the Nintendo console. The game itself is not by Nintendo they own the franchise rights, but the developer is Niantic Inc. – an American software development company- and The Pokémon Company. Although the look-out of Nintendo was not great as their products did not evolve as more users became mobile. The franchise with a mobile game developer and using a character with a lot of history is for sure the signs of a company looking for solutions to bridge the gap between its out-dated products and the new mobile focused generation of applications and games.


I am not a gamer, but aside from the addictive war games and the “Candy Crush Saga” like puzzle games. There are few games that actually take advantage of the location services (GPS) and the concept of augmented reality. Many are war games or Zombie ones where you can catch a Zombie anywhere through the view from the app. I think the idea of catching cartoon characters that a lot of people knew growing up and the added benefit of the technology is the trigger.  In the gaming industry, there is a market if you can find the edge, and I guess the developers found it.

BTW, this article lists other gaming apps that are similar and ,apparently, Niantic Inc. developed one of them.


We already have two collaborators, as I mentioned above, since Nintendo did not actually develop the game. Others include the mobile app industry. Google and Apple strive on the number of native applications developed for their devices and they provide the Google Play store and the Apple Store, respectively, to host, market, and enable the use of those apps developed. The cost of posting on these open marketing hubs is next to nothing and millions of apps benefit from this as the mobile industry makes money from internal apps purchases.


Under context we usually look at a PEST analysis:

  • Political
  • Economic
  • Social impacts
  • Technological developments

The PEST forecast for this game is great. As a simple sharing and scoring game, there is no fear of legal issues or trade law regulations that the company can not handle. Although the game is raising some security concerns with the permissions requested from users on their mobile phones and the GPS service and access to the camera on locations that might be secured within an area.

The question here is: Does the usage liability fall back to the game developer or the user who is in violation of the premises he/she is playing the game within?

The Economical overview is also promising with relative low production cost as the open platforms and the APIs used to develop many of these apps have evolved and practiced by many developers reducing the code rates and allowing IT companies to increase their revenues with little to no overhead. In addition, the marketing growth prospect for the game is a paid service targeting brands and large amusement parks where they can purchase a package to ensure the game places more Pokémon’s on those locations to drive physical visitors. Local break-and-mortar stores could have some of their former glory if they have been loosing customers to online purchases.

From a social impact, this remains a game targeting a young generation, as explained above, as such the overall characteristics remain positive. Furthermore, the game has a “Team Building” element that actually encourages more social interactions between the players and the location based service is pushing users to go out in the physical world which again promotes social interaction as they might meet up at locations where the “Pokémon’s” are having a field day .

Finally, the technology is there, and for a very long time. The concept of the game is not even new, which further reduces the costs of maintenance and upgrades. One element that also stands out is the possibilities of playing the game on other devices. Developers of IBM Watson created a hack to let “Watson” find Pokémon’s and alerts players to their whereabouts. With IOT – Internet of Things – and the endless devices that are getting connected everyday, maybe in the future you can send your own mini-drones to catch the little creatures at their location from the comfort of your own home ….  For that, I think, the PEST analysis need to be redone to overcome the endless jurisdiction violations that will manifest.

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