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Marketing And The Shiny Pokemon Go Bobble

Marketing And The Shiny Pokemon Go Bobble

I hate to admit it, but I use Pokémon Go. Not in the ‘obsessed, marching zombie apocalypse’ kind of way that I view from my office window, (Pokéstop next door) but I do play.

I have stopped a conversation to catch a Jiggly Puff. I have narrowly missed a pedestrian head-on collision with another adult who, to my relief, was also playing Pokémon Go.

For me, Pokémon Go is a way to connect with my nine-year-old daughter, literally creating a whole new meaning for “go outside and play.” We share interest in a game across our generation gap and for that reason alone I think it’s pretty cool. This is technology at its best!

Naturally, Pokémon Go’s ability to engage and move an audience has marketers excited and this is where I give pause. It is from a marketing perspective that I feel Pokémon Go is just the latest shiny bobble.

We know the urge to ride a quick wave is not new to marketing, but the accumulation and relentless barrage of bobbles, in my opinion, seems to be overshadowing the fundamentals. Often I find myself asking:

Do we really know if the investment is worth it?

Strategy featured an article by Ken Wong in 2014 called “Looking Beyond Bright, Shiny Objects,” and I can’t help but smile at how applicable it still is today. More than ever marketers need to be conscious consumers, much like our customers, to ensure we are making well informed, tactical decisions.


Before integrating Pokémon Go into your strategy, consider the following:

1. Canada.

There are legalities to navigate when it comes to location marketing in Canada. Beacon technology, for the most part, is illegal and requires permission. Furthermore, I’ll be interested to see how many Pokémon Go players are out and about come Winter.

2. Cost Per Visit Models

These models are great but how are they being measured and what is the qualification of the traffic? I would like to see segmentation of the Pokémon Go audience. The potential to drive traffic is there, but does it convert?

3. The Data

What’s Google or Niantic doing with the information they collect? We see clusters of folks, phones out, Pokéball’s a blazin’ but what are we learning about the behavior and preferences of this audience? More information is required.

 “Not all trends that glitter are gold.”

Ken Wong, Associate Professor & Distinguished Professor of Marketing, Queens University. 


I see the real opportunity for impact where tech and basic marketing fundamentals intersect. Pokémon Go offers the technology but there is an immediate requirement for its application to marketing initiatives. I don’t think the focus should be on the bobble at all, rather the data this bobble will produce.

That’s where the value is for marketers. That’s the gold.

CiG partner and story spinner, Kevin Klein has spent 20 years and counting developing solutions for some of the most prolific marketers in Canada. His out of the box approach to problem solving is well versed in the practical and tactical. Kevin will always make time for an Anthony Bourdain, Farley Mowat or Bob Hunter anecdote. Just ask.