Why Pokémon Go is a Next Level Small Business Marketing Gem


App developers and business owners alike for many years have known that there is promise in the rise of the number of mobile device users enabling location-based services. Some thought that it would be easy for stores to push coupons to users’ mobile devices nearby. Others have dreamed that the technology could be used to influence potential customers to walk right into their store without direct prompting.

Nonetheless, retailers, small businesses and developers have had little success in overcoming the privacy barriers that are involved in getting the mobile access they need to influence user behavior.

Enter Pokémon Go, an augmented reality-based game that incentivizes the user for moving around in physical space. At its core the game brings to your pocket the themes of the older Pokémon games where you capture, train and battle Pokémon — but it adds a real-world twist. You discover virtual Pokémon to capture and train only by moving around in your physical world. Real world places correspond to the location of Pokémon Gyms (training centers) and PokéStops (places to retrieve items) in the app. You might say its somewhat of a cross between Zelda and Geocaching. If you want to progress in the game, you must go to the physical locations.

People are often more suspicious when they perceive that you are trying to get them to do something than when you are inviting them to have a fun experience. The Pokémon Go universe is nearly over 21 million users strong. It has access to the location data about all of these users and employs reliable mechanisms to influence users to move to specific locations.

It’s undeniable that the app has been influencing users’ real life behavior. It’s been getting people to go out in parks, walk along streets and to take impromptu trips. This uncommon behavior has even been noticed by law enforcement and has prompted more than one or two conversations with citizens.

Some businesses that are near Pokéstops have seen a rise in sales or have offered deals to Pokémon Go players. One couple is experiencing unexpected people traffic in front of their home (once a historic landmark) as visitors use their front lawn as a Pokémon gym. Meanwhile, health advocates are lauding the app’s ability to get people taking more steps.

It would seem that the entertainment gained through Pokémon Go fun is a semi-permanent veil that provides the makers with the ability to get in-depth user data points and influence users’ moment-by-moment location. I will not be surprised if revenue, as a result of Pokémon Go, outpaces that of Facebook in the coming months. Many advertisers and marketers may be looking to create partnerships with Pokémon Go to connect with its massive audience. How many of them have you caught already?


WIRED, Edgewell Personal Care & Chevrolet Let Emojis Poke Some Fun into Business as Usual

Most of us probably interact with at least one emoji a day. We see them in our private text messages, personal emails and now they’re a meaningful part of the greater media machine that saturates modern life.

Emojis have been creeping their way into our mediated communication steadily over the past decade. Creator, Shigetaka Kurati invented them as an easy way for cell phone users to communicate sentiment. He was looking for a way to make expression of feelings more simple and direct. This was similar to the shortcodes people used on pagers. Remember 07734, turned upside down (looks like hello!) ?


Emojis now show up in consumer goods commercials and even on the cover of magazines. WIRED magazine’s cover, a 2016 Finalist in the ASME’s best cover contest – Brainest category –  featured one simple emoji and a few dots.


The magazine said of its cover:

“Creating a cover for WIRED’s first Sex Issue was a delicate task. We spent many months crafting balanced and thought-provoking editorial for the issue, which touched on all aspects of sexuality through a WIRED lens. But coming up with a singular image to represent this breadth of content was a challenge, and we went through nearly 50 cover options, ranging from sexy to scientific to quirky to safe. Ultimately, we arrived at the most WIRED cover possible: the emoji for sex, followed by the three dots of anticipation.”

An ad released last month by Edgewell Personal Care, the owners of Schick® & Skintimate®, brought emojis to life by depicting some of the most common emojis by actors in this music video-esque spot.

So, not only are we seeing more emojis in general but new expressions of them in conjuction with more traditional media/advertising formats. See the Chevy Cruze’s use of emojis in this common ad scenario – real people (not actors) try it.

Some find emojis integrated into advertising to be insulting. Yet, more Google searches including ’emoji’ are occurring now than they have in the last five years prior.





4 Elements of Impactful Reactivation Emails

I read through about 20 emails per day that make it to my inbox. Amongst them are usually promotional sales from Old Navy, Bed Bath & Beyond and Groupon. I also peek at newsletters from Darling Daily, gapingvoid and Copyblogger. Every once in a while, a seemingly personal email gets my attention enough for me to open it.

This morning, that happened, and I was pleasantly surprised (instead of annoyed) that it was from a company that I’ve interacted with.

Take a look at this beautifully created user reactivation email from any.do. (Any.do is an app that helps you organize your tasks and gives you a place to check them off when you are done!)

—-(Begin Email)—-

Hi Jetty,

Hope you’re well.

I’ll cut to the chase, so I don’t waste too much of your time.

Today I put together a list of people that downloaded my app (Any.do) a while ago, but haven’t logged in for a long time.

I’ve been racking my brain to think of how I can ask you to give Any.do a second chance and basically decided the best way is to come clean and ask you.

Our small team have honestly worked day and night to build a new Any.do that is ten times better than what you used before. I know it is a pain, but if you update your current version, or re-download Any.do from the App Store, you will see that the app is now completely different.

… if you’re slammed with too many things you need to do and need a simple app to help you organize it all, I genuinely think you will love the new Any.do.

There are no ads, no sponsored listings and no cheesy special deals. Just a simple & fun app to help you organize all aspects of your life.

If you have any problems whatsoever, please visit our Help center to learn more about the great app features or submit a request to our Support team.

Here’s a link where you can download or update to the shiny new Any.do.


Thanks so much,



—-(End Email)—-

So, here’s what I see. I experience this email as:


The subject line and greeting is my name! How can you get more personal than that? Okay, you’re right, it could be my middle name and what time I go to lunch, but that would just be creepy.


The founder talks to me as if he’s sitting next to me on a park bench or we are sharing coffee. Yet, the copy is still direct, informative and authentic.


A picture with a bunch of people frowning at you communicates (depending on your perception) that you are missed and cared about or that you’ve disappointed every frowning face. Both of those emotive responses are strong motivators, plus, it’s humorous.  


After addressing me by name and explaining his feelings, the founder shares how hard the team has worked on the new app, and asks me to give it a spin.

I’m tempted to download it and see what it’s like. I wonder how many other disengaged app users are as well. I’ll let you know if I do.

Oprah’s Joy of Bread Starts Bachelor Night

Monday evening of this week, I was hanging out with my Dad getting ready to watch the latest episode of the Bachelor on ABC. We were all hooked up with our usual: wine glasses brimming with a nice varietal and a pepperoni, cheese and cracker plate that we deemed Instagram-worthy.

While we waited for Ben and the girls to come on, we were beckoned by the soothing voice and familiar visage of Oprah Winfrey. Appearing on screen exclaiming passionately, yet without context, “This is the joy, for me, I love bread.” I looked over at my Dad then back at the screen unsure at first at what I was seeing, but, paid closer attention. Here’s the spot for you to see yourself.

Oprah appears so authentic, so sincere and so forthright, I felt compelled to mosey over to weightwatchers.com.

Sometimes you just have a feeling about something, a little intuitive nudge that makes you want to look into something further, some call this a hunch, gut-feeling or if you’re Marvel a spidey sense. When you look further, sometimes you find that there was something to your pinch from the universe.

That night, I decided I wanted to write about the ad, it had such pure, relatable emotion.

Leaving no time wasted, after hitting TV with the spot on Monday night, Oprah tweeted on Tuesday “Eat bread. Lose weight. Whaaatttt? #ComeJoinMe” with a link to her “I eat bread everyday” moment.

Apparently, my hunch to write about the ad had something to it, because it’s been reported that response to Oprah’s Tuesday tweet made her $20 million by up-ticking Weight Watchers stock.

So many of us love our bread and we’ve demonized it so severely that when Momma Oprah helps us see the light of moderation we think she might be onto something good. 

Reimagining Barbie: Mattel asks your little girl, “What do you want to be?”

barbie promo

Barbie goes back to its roots for a new marketing push this holiday season. Barbie’s creator, Ruth Handler, explained, “my whole philosophy behind Barbie was that, through the doll, the little girl could be anything that she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.”

What are do you do when your sales are dropping and your competitors’ products are more high-tech? 1.) Repurpose the reason for your product and 2.) Come up with some really impactful lifestyle marketing to show how your product can empower little girls. Perhaps inspired by campaigns like the Always #likeagirl, Mattel and Barbie join the conversation about girl empowerment.

Take a look at the ad that caught the attention of many (it was noted on the Adweek leaderboard for being one of the most watched ads in October of 2015) .

As a toy maker, you have a duel purpose in your marketing efforts, to interest children and win the wallets of their parents. Toy marketers often default to the nagging abilities of children, but this tactic has been exhausted on Barbie — a 56-year-old product. Instead, it seems the new marketing efforts hope to win the hearts of their parents so that they push Doctor Barbie or Professor Barbie to their children.

The jury is out on whether or not this campaign will cause an uptick in Barbie sales this season, but its timely release right before the holiday shopping season is no doubt geared toward getting Barbie in the hands of millions of dreaming little girls.

Native Ads & Context

While checking the weather today, I came across an ad that made me giggle, mostly because it contrasted so well with the forecast. See here:


Imagine yourself building a fire pit in a small 12′ by 6′ backyard in 47 degrees in the pouring rain.  That might make you giggle too.

Sometimes you hit, sometimes you miss. If you could dynamically change the ad content based on the moment to moment conditions outside at a users location that would be impressive.