Pokémon Go has been downloaded more than 100 million times since its July debut, making it the biggest-growing mobile game ever.
Naturally, the phenomenon has drawn much commentary about what this means for marketing, but I am more interested in what it teaches us about making money.
It’s not easy to make money in an ecosystem from unrelated parties. In spite of all the press purporting that Pokémon Go offers local businesses unique marketing opportunities, there are, in fact, many limitations. The claim is that small businesses can gain new customers from being a Pokémon “Gym” or “Pokéstop” — physical locations that players visit to collect rewards or battle virtual monsters.
But not every business is a fit for Pokémon Go.
Think about the ideal Pokémon Go commercial partner — the kind of company for whom it makes sense to invest in trying to attract Pokémon to its physical location. I propose a franchise company like Jamba Juice. Why? For starters, Pokémon Go and Jamba Juice have similarly youthful brand images. At the very least, it’s unlikely that Pokémon Go customers searching for Pokémon would inadvertently annoy Jamba Juice’s existing customers.
It’s also not the case that playing Pokémon Go would detract from the Jamba Juice experience — which involves a lot of waiting to order a smoothie and then a lot of waiting to get said smoothie.
Read the full post at TechCrunch.
Catherine Tucker is the Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management Science and Professor of Marketing at MIT Sloan. She is also Chair of the MIT Sloan PhD Program.