The Counterintuitive CEO

Pokemon Go And The CMO

July 21, 2016

If you are the CMO of a large company, you are probably wondering what the hell Pokémon Go means. If you’re not up-to-date, this “played on a smartphone” game has taken the world by storm over the last three weeks. In the game you collect characters (a Pokémon) by physically travelling to where they are geo-located, capturing them, and then using them to battle the teams of other players. Pokémon are located in specific places; there are “Pokéstops” where you can acquire special powers; and there are “Gyms” where you can fight other teams. My screen shot to the left shows me (the backpack guy) in my office building and the thing that looks like a tower in the upper right hand corner marks the bowling alley in front of my office which is a Gym. Needless to say, Lanes and Games is really, really happy to have digitally-generated foot traffic.

The game has generated massive followership in the days since it became available — here’s what resulted in Central Park when a rare Pokémon showed up there on a recent Saturday night…

None of this was making sense until I read Forrester’s latest report on the changing consumer. Here’s a link to the report (summary if you’re not a client).

The report concludes that consumers have radically changed in the last three years. 1) They are way more experimental — willing to adopt technology much faster than in the past. 2) They are inextricably tied to their digital device. 3) They are continually combining the physical and the digital worlds.4) They are information junkies — consuming more content each year. 5) It’s all about them — they want to get direct, immediate gratification.

The “New Consumer” is adventurous, has his phone in hand, blurs the real world with the virtual world, loves information, and will take the time to entertain themselves. Pokémon Go is the canary in the coal mine — revealing that the market atmosphere is indeed changing.

Now Pokémon Go will likely fade as quickly as it arrived. But you should use the moment to familiarize your company with the new customer landscape. Do three things: 1) You and your senior leaders should download Pokémon Go and get exposed, 2) Have your customer insight staff analyze your data to see how many “New Consumers” are in your base (you are going to need our report to segment your customers), and 3) Get your team together to think and strategize about how your company will thrive (survive?) in the changed era. Oh, and if you are a retailer, you may want to think about putting a pop-up store next to a Pokéstop or Gym — to see if your brand aligns with the Pokécustomer.

Related Forrester Content (For clients or purchase)

The Rise Of The Empowered Customer
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