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Is it possible to stay on top on trends in today's accelerating online landscape — and must we become Pokémon marketing experts now?

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

The other day, Anne signed up for my email list. After leaving her email address, she was taken to a landing page where I asked her to share her biggest challenge in digital marketing and communications.

Like many others before her, Anne decided to share. Her biggest challenge was to keep up with the accelerating pace of today’s online landscape. How can anyone today keep up and stay on top of things?

Anne shares her frustration with hundreds of other readers who have answered that same question over the years. We become neophiliacs, always looking out for the next thing.

Do we have to become fucking experts on Pokémon marketing now, she wondered.

I think it’s time to deal with this fear of missing out.

Here goes:

You Might Be Asking Yourself the Wrong Question

How can you keep up with new online- and media trends?

Well, you can’t.

You could pick a channel like Youtube and immerse yourself in that universe, only to realize that you have to choose a more precise focus. You might try to become an expert on game walkthroughs on Youtube instead, only to learn that you have to dedicate yourself to a certain type of game walkthroughs — or to a specific game developer or franchise.

Every time you scratch the surface, it’s all too easy to be overwhelmed.

So maybe you think that there are certain blogs you should follow, certain podcasts you should listen to, or certain conferences you must attend.

But here’s the thing:

You’re asking yourself the wrong question1, pushing you to look for everything and nothing at once.

What is Your Brand About?

The question you should be asking yourself is this one:

What is your brand about?

The other day, I walked pass a local store for office supplies. As circumstance would have it, there was a Pokestop right outside their store front. In an attempt to grab this marketing opportunity, they got into Pokémon Go and added “lures” to attract players (and yes, they had put up an informational poster about it next to the Pokestop).

A lure is a virtual item and part of the game. By placing your lure at a Pokestop, you attract virtual creatures for other players to catch. I was curious and found a spot across the street where I was able to sit down and observe. In an hour, around 25 Pokémon Go players visited the Pokestop outside the store front, but not one single player entered the store.

In this particular case, I think it was worse that the office supplier’s website wasn’t optimized for mobile. And the website couldn’t even tell me whether or not they had certain products in stock.

I would estimate that their website has 500 unique hits every day. Either they come from search engines or online maps looking for office supply stores nearby. Or, they are people who already know the brand and want to learn more before deciding to stop by.

Compare this group of 500 people with the potential “Pokémon customers” whose intent is to catch Pikachu (or whatever names they go by); these Pokémon players aren’t necessarily in the market for stocking up on printer ink. What if the office supplier had aimed their creativity at those 500 daily web visitors instead?

If the office supplier had decided to be all about mobile gaming, they must move into that space with more than just adding a few lures to a Pokestop. Fun and games must become an integral part of their brand DNA. Because any activities that aren’t adding to the baseline of the brand will only subtract from it.

Go all-in — or you’re all-out.

“Do It or Do It Not, There is No Try” — Yoda

Marketing and communications are fiercely competitive areas, simply because we compete for one of the world’s most rare and valuable natural resources; people’s attention.

The hippie web is dead and online mediocrity is moving on the same trajectory.

If you happen to work as a communications officer for an office supplier, you probably won’t have to stay up to date with Pokémon Go marketing strategies. (As far as online trends go, you don’t have to catch them all!) Instead, you should probably be a total nerd for inbound marketing, customer loyalty, market research, online conversion, search engine optimization, and e-commerce.

In short:

If you know what your brand is about, you’ll know exactly where to look for interesting new trends to explore.

End note: I’m a level 9 Team Instinct who haven’t captured Pikachu yet. (Apparently, there’s a hack at the beginning of the game, but that’s too late now.) So that little creature has gotten the better of me so far. Still, Yoda would so kick Pikachu’s yellow ass.

Notes:

  1. Clay Shirky said, “There’s no information overload, only filter failure.”

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Behind the keyboard:

Jerry Silver is the author of Doctor Spin, a PR blog that's been around for 15+ years. Via his agency Spin Factory, Jerry is advising brands on how to adapt to a 'digital first' world. In 2016, Cision Scandinavia named him "PR Influencer of the Year". Jerry lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife Lisah, news anchor and television host, and their three-year-old son, Jack.

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