Why Pokémon Go is a Next Level Small Business Marketing Gem

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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?

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Have an innovative idea? Having some trouble getting it realized?

Over the years, I’ve worked with many people who have great ideas. They have ideas for new products, new ways consumers can do the things they love and better ways that business can be done. Heck, my family tells me about great product ideas on a regular basis!

Sometimes, the initial way we go about realizing our vision doesn’t work and we have to find a plan B. Here are two ways to approach getting your innovative ideas out of your dreamscape and into reality.

Crowdfund and find some self-sacrificing companions who believe in the cause.

Go out on a limb, take a risk, and put yourself at the mercy or blessing of crowdfunding. They always say that if the people want it, it will happen right? One of my favorite examples of this is Bibliotheca – a revamping of the Bible without numbering for easy reading. It was backed by over 14,000 pledges.

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Once you have the money, you have to create the systems to make production and shipping (if necessary) happen.

Take it to the people who have the power to make it happen.

It can take multiple rounds on crowdfunding platforms to get fully funded. Sometimes this is a promotional issue and other times it’s because there are serious changes that need to be made with your product. If you still aren’t funded after a few tries, take this with a grain of salt. If push comes to shove, produce your prototype and then sell it to someone who can take it to market.

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I know, I know, this is the one that nobody wants to here. You may ask, “Why should I work with some large media company or business mogul to bring my game-changer to life?” The simple answer is that they have the resources that you do not. Also, they probably won’t take so big of a cut that you won’t benefit.

“Let me take a Selfie.”

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Some people are early adopters of tech gadgets, I’m a late adopter of any software update ever known to man for my phone or computer. I can’t count the number of times I select, “Remind me later.” So, when I got a new phone with iOS 9 and imported my pictures, I was surprised by many photos auto-sorting into a folder called Selfies. I learned that this folder is pre-defined by Apple and there’s no way to delete it. I asked around and many of my friends had a similar experience! Is this a smart way to increase the amount of Selfies people take? Maybe. It’s at least one way to create a database of people’s portraits.

In 2013, “Selfie” was named Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year, and has since swelled in popularity, becoming the name of a 13 episode TV show by ABC and a fun song by the Chainsmokers. New gadgets like selfie sticks are available in any fine retailer near you. Some say this is evidence that we live in a culture increasingly interested in ‘me’. But, self-portraits  are some of the most popular types of paintings and have been around since ancient Greek and Egyptian times. Today, most Americans carry a ready-made artist in their pocket that can produce a self-portrait in 1.5 seconds flat. Good thing Apple has now created a way to organize them!

Brand Confusion? Just Alpha Up. That’s What Google Did.

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When the name of your company has become the verb that everyone and (quite literally) their mother uses to talk about searching for something, you’re going to face a lot of difficulty introducing a new product line like tech’s best Utopian dreams.

And just to make sure you don’t run out of opportunities for naming of these new lines, you’ll need to pick something that’s multi-faceted, universal and just as unique as your current brand. It’s got to be something that everyone can relate to and recognize as fundamental, foundational and necessary for every day life.

Enter, Alphabet. What other name can you think of that has 26 pre-included hooks (read: letters) to name businesses and services after. While Google hasn’t made an official statement saying that they intend to designate a venture under each letter, Tech Crunch takes a stab at listing possibilities.

Among the most interesting alphabetical call-outs are Calico, a bio-engineering fountain of hoped youth, Makani, kites that take advantage of wind power and Vehicles (Google self-driving car). Coming later to the story during the week we learned, BMW, which is also owns an Alphabet of its own suited up and delivered A-B-Cs of their Alphabet service, you can see it here.

Whether the search giant is merely keeping with their consistent theme of fundamentals or strategically chose a name that opens their brand to many possibilities, only time will tell. What’s for sure is that they’re willing to step on the toes of BMW and an eCommerce-based distributor (think: everything you need from a to z) in their new larger than life branding schema.

T-Mobile Ups the Stakes in the #NeverSettle Match

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While AT&T and Verizon are duking it out for customers, T-Mobile jumps into the fight to give consumers yet another option. Calling itself, the “un-carrier,” the telecommunications company is looking to persuade diehard Verizon fans to switch to their service with this tempting offer: try the T-mobile network risk free BEFORE switching.

The #neversettle trial offer started in the middle of May and will extend until June 27th allowing Verizon customers to port their numbers to the T-Mobile network for 14 days. If trialers like their experience, T-mobile will pay for their early terminations fees sanctioned by Verizon (that’s up to $650.00!). Even, if they decide not to go with T-mobile, T-mobile will pay any Verizon re-activation charges.

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The average consumer can be set adrift by any ad campaign that keys into their instinctual needs and desires (read: I need cheap phone service). But, when you throw in benefit-rich, emotionally-driven, value-compatible messaging (read: We’ll take care of you and give you the freedom you desire, we’re the “un-carrier”), even the savviest technophile may start to consider alternative options.

What’s of more interest is T-mobile’s use of the same hashtag that Verizon featured in their commericals: #Neversettle. Hashtags aren’t trademarked or reserved in any way (at least not yet) and they are an easy way to catalogue all of the conversations that are happening and content that’s being created surrounding the topic. What’s more, T-Mobile has turned the #neversettle hashtag on it’s head to include #NeversettleforVerizon.

What’s great about America is that our advertisements are far less regulated that other countries. You’d never get away with directly challenging the competition in other countries’ campaigns.

See the #Neversettleforverzion ad here:

Will you give T-Mobile a try this month? I probably won’t, but, I do applaud them on their savvy campaign execution.

Vacation Season is Here – Brush Up on Your Fun-Management Skills [Infographic]

Whether you are putting on your autoresponder and heading down to the beach or pressing play on some new email marketing programs this summer, snatch up these project (a.k. fun) management tips for delightful productivity all season long.

Planning an Email Campaign vs. Planning a Vacation #Infographic

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