This one is for my friends in retail.  And just to be safe, for anyone who might be tempted to let fads drive your business development strategy.

I’ll warn you this content may register high on snark, cynicism and verbal spiciness.  It’s that kind of post.

I don’t mean to sound cooler than I really am, but we need to talk, man, about Pokemon Go.

The hot, gamified (why is my spell check wanting to write gasified so badly) life sucking, attention grabbing, use of thumbing pumping that has blown into our lives in just a few short weeks.

It’s nothing short of amazing.  Last time this month it was not around.  Now there are more PGers than popcorn.

One heckuva launch there Niantic, I will say.  Absolutely brilliant!

At the risk of enormous public scorn, I feel the need to offer a vigorous caution about the use of Pokemon Go in your marketing strategy.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  It’s just if we pull our head up out from between our thumbs long enough, we might realize a few reasons why shifting resources to PG might be ill-advised for your retail business.

I’ll mention five here.

It’s a Distracting Shiny New Object 

Novelty can totally distract and derail you.  It may become a wonderful marketing tool for you some day, but don’t employ it out of reactive fear of missing out.  And for crying out loud don’t drop what you are doing and jump over the counter to join the ruckus.  Rather make sure you are clear where it and any such tool will bring value to your marketing mix.  That clarity usually comes not as an early adopter, but a bit later in the technology life cycle.

You’ll Take Your Eye Off The Ball  

Where in your business plan is the use of a Pokemon Go to build your brand?  None of us were banking our year on a yet-to-be-revealed augmented reality app to lead us to economic salvation.  Going back – I mean waaaaay back to 2Q16 – you like me were probably utilizing some well proven marketing activities such as email, social media and customer service.  I wouldn’t give up on those.  While they aren’t as much fun, if you use them consistently and competently, they sure can make you a lot of money.

You Don’t Need It 

If you really feel like you need this kind of thing to draw customers to your business, then…how can I put this kindly…you got probums, Sparky.  It’s sustainable value through extraordinary products and service that people will RETURN to your business for.  That there is what’chee want.

The Living Dead Have Low Disposable Income  

Why would you focus on people who are in a distracted, zombie-like state as a target audience?  These people can’t even drive!  Do you think – if they even make it to your store alive – they will suddenly snap out of it and spend away?  Fat chance.

You’ll Go Blind  

Jumping all over this faddish gambit with unabashed fervor, acting like you know your marketing beans, letting it usurp your current marketing plan, makes you look desperate, and is treating your customers like tricks.  Your mother and I are concerned about this.

Do I sound a bit irritated?  No I’m not.   (arrogant little blankety blank)

It’s just that lately I had been feeling a bit…I dunno…lost in a time warp.  By the time some of the groups I follow had begun talking about PG…the language was if it had been around for awhile and no one with an IQ above 27 could have missed the marketing opportunity of it all.

A few moments of “left behind” terror swept through my mind as if the world had known something I had not, and I came out of my spaceship to find the galaxy a wasteland, and me with just a quarter tank of gas.

If I spoke up they’d think – pffft…dude’s lost…so June of 2016ish.  So I ran a quickie wiki on it, and didn’t know whether to laugh, shake my head, or suck my thumb.

The article was written with a smidgen more authority and sense of history than seemed to fit a new tech baby.  See what you think.  I marked it up in red to highlight a few things that might ‘augment your reality’ if you think about it.

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And then I had a flashback to a 2014 commercial that smacked of a similar threat then…as now, of shiny new silver bullets like this.

 

If you have hopped on the Pokemon Go marketing bandwagon, I applaud you and the rest of the 5th grade band.  Nice work guys.  But I fear for you.  They day may come when you’ll wake up one morning and look in the bathroom mirror at Youcrazitoo who is mocking your wasted time and resources.

I implore you…stop and think before you incorporate this into your August marketing plan.  Wait at least until September.  Maybe even until never.  You’re business is not going to cave in the meantime just because no PG zombies stopped in for a one minute stay to catch a moment of augmented reality’ that happened to be planted near your store.

Stay focused on the value you offer, the people that you serve, the work that will develop a long term business, and leave the shiny new objects alone.  Just for a wittle while.

You’ll be glad you did.