Without overthinking things too much (too late for that), a recent unwelcome epiphany has been thrust upon me by these Pokémon Go-ers who are crowding the very streets in front of me. How have I missed this? More importantly, how has this missed me? Am I really that old and out of touch, that I do not fall within Pokémon Go’s seemingly all-encompassing mass audience? At the ripe old age of 34, I hope not. Whilst I don’t want in, I want in… aargh… I think I’ve been lured.
So what marketing concepts have been employed by Pokémon Go that have left me feeling excluded from the hype?
Fig 1. Pokémon Go at a Sydney landmark
STP: Segmentation, targeting and positioning.
In short, segmentation is the process of sectioning the market, to then target a select group. A middle ground between ‘mass marketing’ and ‘one-to-one’ marketing. Targeting requires the marketer to decide which segment they want to target to be their customer. Positioning describes how the company or product is seen by consumers in the market space. Positioning is about a brand’s identity and is probably the most important aspect of marketing. At the risk of oversimplifying this concept for the purposes of this short blog, one example of two differing position strategies are low price, low quality, widely available and heavy promotions compared with high price, high quality, exclusive availability and light promotions (Iacobucci, 2014).
Applying the foundation of STP to Pokémon Go, a number of market segments have been targeted.
- Millenials: the generation aged between approximately 16 – 35 years, have most likely been exposed to the Pokémon ‘craze’ at some stage throughout their life (either through the cartoon, Nintendo games, Pokémon cards, TV advertisements, toy stores, etc);
- Geo-cachers: need I say more – a completely new term to me, I have clearly been living under a rock for the past decade;
- Forrester’s first three segments of social media users: A large proportion of Pokémon Go’s success has been its ‘word of mouth’ spread through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, by the more active users of social media;
Fig. 2 Forrester divides people’s online behaviour into 6 categories
Pokémon Go has positioned itself as a product available to the masses. Rather than opting for a platform that requires the user to purchase a new device, they have leveraged an existing platform (smartphones). Furthermore, they have positioned the product such that users who are not ‘gamers’ per se, are still comfortable using the familiar GPS-style app to engage.
And now what about me…
A fair comment I think from a member of Generation X who yet again feels excluded from a marketing campaign. Unlike the sheer size of the Baby Boomers and Millenials, Gen X is a much smaller group sandwiched between these two much larger cohorts that has on many occasions been disproportionately overlooked by marketers.
The Pokémon craze did not register in my childhood, geocaching remains a foreign concept, and not withstanding this blog activity, I would classify myself in Forrester’s 4th segment of social media users, a joiner. All valid reasons why the Pokémon Go phenomena has left me feeling sidelined.
But what happens when a consumer feels excluded from a marketing campaign? Does this have a negative effect on the consumer’s perception of the brand? Or is it the case of any publicity is good publicity? Chen et al (2016) proposed that socially excluded consumers would be more motivated to establish a relationship with a brand. Is it a stretch to say that Gen X as a group are socially excluded consumers? Maybe not, when the following negative stereotypes about Gen X were published by Williams and Page (2011): ‘pessimistic, sceptical, disillusioned with everything…’
Will curiosity eventually usurp my stubbornness to not get involved, or has Pokémon Go in fact got it right, and realised early that marketing to me, was and will be a dead-end cause. Time will tell whether a mega evolution is on the cards for me…
Iacobucci, D. (2014) Marketing Management (MM), 4th Edition, South-Western, Cengage Learning, Mason, Chapter 3, Segmentation, Chapter 4, Targeting, and Chapter 5, Positioning.
Chen, R.P., Wan, E.W. and Levy, E., 2016. The Effect of Social Exclusion on Consumer Preference for Anthropomorphized Brands. Journal of Consumer Psychology.
Williams, K.C. and Page, R.A., 2011. Marketing to the generations. Journal of Behavioral Studies in Business, 3, p.1.
Author: Shelley Hopkins, shelleyhopkinsqut, 216008321