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4 Things You Can Learn About Marketing from Pokemon Go Want to make your app or business idea go as viral as Pokemon Go? Here's how

By Rustam Singh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Unless you're living under a rock, you would have not only heard about Pokemon Go, but also seen how it's effecting society's normal functioning around you. The app has taken over our smartphones and now you can see a virtual army of individuals roaming physically in obscure places, like zombies glued to their phones and clicking photographs of just air while trying to catch their favorite Pokemon using the app's augmented reality features.

The silly app's gone so viral, that it has attracted the status of being a public nuisance with a lot of unwanted incidents happening because it. Disrupting firefighters, railways, dangerous traffic congestion, excessive littering, noise complaints, hundreds of traffic violations including crashes, name it and you have it.

Some religious groups claim it to be demonic and even one death. On the positive side though, local businesses are happy when a "stop" is near their business which means huge crowds will be attracted to them and it even encourages urban exploration and reviving local history. Nintendo might have increased it's evaluation by a mind-numbing 7.5 billion within less than a month of its launch.

The app has without a doubt, achieved what all developers dream of achieving i.e. setting a benchmark for how viral an app can possibly get!

How could you emulate the same success for your business? What can we learn about marketing a concept to your clients? Here are some suggestions:

Not all things viral need extensive ads

Apps and companies would do just about anything to push advertisements down our throats, if they had the power to. From shoving popup ads inside apps, to spamming our inboxes and web space, there are millions, if not billions, of ads out there for apps of all kinds, but that rarely clicks. Pokemon Go didn't advertise anywhere close to what anything popular had lately done, from movies to startups to everything in between. All you need is a concept that'll instantly click with users, not extensive advertising budgets.

Nostalgia is the best trigger

Even more than using classic click-friendly freemium models is one raw human emotion that not even the strongest of us can resist – nostalgia. Pokemon clicked with young adults and youth that remembered hazily of the golden years of their youth and the craze it got them.

It offered a way to basically relive their childhood, with much wider audiences and a giant community to compare and feel happy about your unlocks and achievements. Exploit some nostalgia with your customers and you will have an instant viral concept in your hands.

Trigger the reward system

Why did Angry Birds, Flappy Bird and Temple Run eventually fizzle out of the public's minds after a few days of playing? Simple; because they didn't reward the player with something exciting other than points even after they'd spent virtually every waking hour playing the app. And this is where Pokemon Go scored the brownie points.

Players are rewarded with exclusive unlocks, can train harder, and catch new unlockables. The thrill and possibilities of finding something new keeps users completely engaged. Apply the same rule to keep your clients hooked to your business – reward them for their loyalty, regularly.

Social validation authenticates clients

No matter how good your product or service may be, it's never going to reach massive audiences if there's no proof of validation and approval on social media. Pokemon Go users instantly see hundreds, if not thousands, of other users playing the game and having fun, which authenticates the new player's trust system with the app. Make sure you insist your clients to write reviews, label, rate your business on social media – other customer's word of mouth is still the most trusted authentication system there is.

Have you been struck by the Pokemon bug like millions of others or are you like me and distancing yourself as far as possible? Let us know in the comments on our official Facebook page Entrepreneur India

Rustam Singh


Tech reporter.

Contact me if you have a truly unique technology related startup looking for a review and coverage, especially a crowd-funded project looking to launch and coverage.

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