skip to main content

Why I’m indifferent about Snapchat, use less and less social, but downloaded Pokemon Go.

divider image for this post

Last year I attended a meeting for the local chapter of the AMA.

The speaker was the Marketing Director of The Color Run and a friend, Kiley Newbold, who I hadn’t seen in years. But there was another reason I went.

And it came down to one question I asked Kiley during the Q&A portion of his presentation:

“Kiley, everyone right now is struggling to get people outside. Industries are dying because they’re failing to do so. Yet The Color Run is exploding. Why? What is driving this movement that goes so opposite current trends?

As much as we talk about reach, the real goal for resorts, the golden goose, is two steps beyond reach. It’s action.

So, yes, Snapchat is creating new ways to reach people. Social has changed the game for real-time content distribution, but Pokemon Go is getting people to actually go outside.

And they’re doing so in ridiculous numbers.

When I first downloaded the app I walked to a nearby park where a few icons were hovering on my map.

As I arrived at the first marker a Camaro pulled up. A middle-aged man was driving with a college-age-looking kid (probably his son) in the passenger seat. They rolled down the windows, yelled “Gotta catch ’em all!”, finished gathering their Pokeballs, and drove away.

I stood there silent for an awkwardly long time as my brain nearly exploded.

People said this was big, they said everyone was doing it, but I figured (like all stories) it was being exaggerated. Yet minutes after opening the app in a tiny town in nowhere Utah, I met a father and son driving around the state together playing a game. However big I thought it was before that moment, I doubled my mental estimate immediately.

But there’s an even more intriguing aspect to this.

And that is the wave of anecdotal “mental health” comments coming directly from users about the benefits they are seeing first hand of leaving their homes and moving. Of being outdoors. Of walking.

Skimming through these comments you realize that there is a recognized need to go outside hidden just under the skin of even the most diehard gamer. Once something gives them a way to satisfy that need, they embrace it because the see the value. The feel the benefits.

Our industry is perfectly poised to satisfy such a need, which makes two interesting trends to watch within this movement.

I’m not going to say much more today. The next couple of weeks are going to be very, very interesting to watch and the weeks that follow even more so as marketers and futurists and analysts alike try to dissect the phenomenon and break down how the game itself and marketing surrounding it created such a powerful force.

But of all the tech rollercoasters that have come and gone, as this surely will, few have the potential to teach us so much about what it takes to get people off the couch.

That’s a nut we all need to crack. And soon.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

Get the weekly digest.

New stories, ideas, and jobs delivered to your inbox every Friday morning.