Email best practices

Gotta catch ‘em(ail) all: Email vs. Pokémon GO

Since its release, Pokémon GO helped us to see urbanism, marketing and augmented reality in different ways. Soon, email could also have a part to play.

Hermes and Hera with boxes and sparkling stars



Unless you've been living under a rock, it's impossible to have missed it. During the last two weeks, you've had the opportunity to become an actual Pokémon trainer, and try to catch 'em all! Well, at least the 151 original monsters.

Yeah, the dream we all had. If you were crazy about Ash and Pikachu's adventures in your youth, you'll be happy to know that becoming an actual Pokémon trainer is now a reality, thanks to an addictive new game: Pokémon GO. You can travel the world, capture the Pocket Monsters of your childhood (or of your big brother/sister's childhood - damn I feel old today) in the streets and conquer the world for your satisfaction, defending and/or attacking arenas. That's if there is enough network coverage. All that is great news for aspiring Pokémon Gym Leaders. But how does it relate to email and marketing in general? Actually, more than you'd think.

Gotta catch all the customers

The game became huge in just a few days, forcing Nintendo's stock price to rocket jump and reach its highest price in 6 years. Nintendo is currently more valuable than Sony, for the first time in its history. Plus, the app has been downloaded more than Twitter or Facebook. So obviously, other companies are trying to ride the Pokémon GO wave, some with more success than others.

But, what can you do if you don't have the same resources that Amazon or Mall of America has? Actually, quite a lot. You might have seen some pictures retweeted, where some retailers have jumped on the Pokémon GO bandwagon relatively quickly. One of the biggest assets of the game is it mixes digital and real worlds (just like Porygon), well located physical shops - i.e. close to a PokeStop and/or arenas - try to attract Pokémon trainers. How? With simple signs. Avoid being rude and say that "only paying customers" can catch Pokémon on your premises. Invest in some lures that you'll use during rush hours, and simultaneously offer discounts or try to engage playing customers on social media.

But you're going to say that everybody does that. OK, so you want to go one step beyond? Rest assured. John Hanke, CEO of Niantic Labs, the company developing Pokémon GO, announced that, soon, retailers and companies will be able to sponsor some arenas or PokeStops. In this way, Niantic is reproducing a system that has been applied to its previous hit game: Ingress.

Niantic apps and email

Most sources tend to confirm that Niantic is going to apply something similar to Ingress to upsell Pokémon GO. Since Niantic split from Google in 2015, it can't rely that much on funding. So, there is a heavier focus on sponsored content and selling ad space. As we've seen before with Ingress, their apps are constantly updated, to facilitate the user experience and/or allow companies to be showcased during special events. Note, that among the most recent upgrades to Ingress has been the addition of email notifications.

This body of evidence allows us to make this statement: emails will soon come to Pokémon GO. And that can only be good news.

The first clear reason is that the users of the app will have another way - besides checking the app itself - to be notified when a PokeStop pops up nearby or when your arenas are under attack. After all, you have to protect your turf from Team Valor #TeamMysticRules.

The second (and most interesting to marketers) reason is that with the upcoming sponsorship of specific places by brands, we can imagine that there will be a retribution system set. Just like ZipCar did in the past with Ingress. Surely, the brands that opt to sponsor the Pokémon GO app will offer deals and discounts to trainers passing by their locations. And, what would be the easiest way to retrieve said deals and discounts? You got it: email.

Email and Pokémon GO are an obvious choice. Even though we can imagine that the in-app notification system will still be favored to email notifications, the whole "get your coupon" thing would work way better with the app sending a messages directly to the inbox of the user. We can only speculate about this. But it's a direction that Niantic should examine carefully.

With this being said, we don't have the precog powers of a Xatu to know what will be the future of Pokémon GO. So, while we're waiting for new marketing opportunities to arise, we can only do a few things: walk down the street to hatch those eggs, occupy all the Team Valor arenas #TeamMystic, and of course, catch 'em all!

If you've got a different idea for a marketing opportunity associated with Pokémon GO, tweet us @Mailjet using the #TeamMysticMailjet.

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