What Pokémon GO means for marketing: CIM

pokemon_10_2211dd8d49adf154a386294fb279204b-nbcnews-ux-320-320The augmented reality game is one of the stories of the summer, but it’s more than a passing fad.What connects a recent spate of local news stories about suspicious-looking teens being apprehended by the police, a stampede in New York’s Central Park, churches reimagined as ‘gyms’, a dead body discovered in a river, and a spike in the trade of online accounts?

It’s Pokémon GO, of course – the location-based, augmented reality (AR) game taugust_wk_2_2016_pokemon_go_exchangehat re-boots the original 1990s Nintendo Game Boy brand for the mobile age. Launched in early July, and an instant hit worldwide, Pokémon GO has generated innumerable news stories, and opinions ranging from proclamations that it is the best game ever to scaremongering safety warnings. Pokémon GO could be decried as nothing more than a classic news story for medialand’s ‘silly season’. But its success could prove more insightful for marketers than other recent summer crazes, such as 2012’s Gangnam Style dance and viral videos, or even 2014’s Ice Bucket Challenge (which has actually gone on to provide funds for some valuable scientific research). Before dismissing the game as a passing fad, consider the following:

AR becomes a reality

Until now, perhaps the biggest story about AR in the minds of the public has been one about an expensive failure – Google Glass. Useful applications of AR tech, such as Volkswagen’s app for car mechanics, have mostly remained under the public radar. Pokémon GO has changed this. Within a couple of weeks of release, 75 million people have downloaded the app worldwide, 20 million of whom are active users – and all without a big-budget ad campaign. The uptake has been unprecedented. In the short term it’s likely that imitators will stake their claim for a share of the new AR gaming market, but the cultural impact might be much greater: the use of AR – for example, in educational and lifestyle settings – might suddenly make sense to consumers, and that potential will drive further innovation and funding. Pokémon GO might come to be seen as AR’s tipping point.

Next-level freemium

Pokémon GO is free-to-play. Niantic, the developers, have literally given it away. OK, so this is hardly a novel strategy – Candy Crush Saga made a success of a freemium model in 2012 – but Pokémon is surely the most high-profile example of its kind to date. The value proposition of such a big hit is clear, but when it comes to monetization the game is again pushing boundaries. The freemium model, where users can download the game for free and then choose to make in-app purchases to fuel additional gameplay, will only drive so much revenue. Ads will bring more. Sponsored locations, however, where local businesses can pay to become real-world destinations for virtual-world gameplay, could also provide a huge opportunity. It’s a game-changer.

High street brands

Small businesses have already leapt at the chance to join in the fun, setting themselves up as ‘Pokéstops’ to attract the virtual monsters and in turn drive customer traffic in stores and restaurants. It’s cheap and perhaps effective in the short term, but after the ‘Pokébuzz’ volume drops, we might find that the high street has found in AR a way to reinvigorate itself. What is certain is that the big brands have already taken note. At the end of July, McDonald’s in Japan became the first brand to sign a sponsored location deal in which its restaurants will become PokéStop and Pokémon ‘gym’ sites. If the deal shows itself to have legs, similar brand tie-ups are likely to become a familiar part of the marketing mix in the coming years.

Tried, tested and fun

Of course, sceptics will say all this is just a fad – we’ll witness a Pokémon Christmas with Santa delivering all kinds of ancillary branded merchandise… and then consumers will move on to the next big thing. Perhaps. Meanwhile, everyone can argue whether this really does signal the often-predicted dissolving of the divide between real and virtual worlds, or that in getting players outdoors Pokémon has finally made gaming a healthy pastime. For marketers, however, there is a simple underlying truth about the game’s success that should not be forgotten. The principles of Pokémon GO have been tried and tested over centuries. It’s part treasure hunt, part I-Spy, part orienteering. What’s more, the ROI for users is undeniable. It’s free! It’s fun! And if you can make something free and fun, then you’re onto a winner.

Martin Bewick, Chartered Institute of Marketing

Industry data defies predictions of post-Brexit gloom | Travel Weekly

Image result for union jackUK Holidaymakers appear unfazed by post-referendum gloom, confounding economists’ forecasts with outbound bookings up year on year since the vote on June 23.

Industry analyst GfK reported summer 2016 bookings in July up 1% on last year, and season-to-date bookings up 5%. But it’s not just last-minute bookings that were up, as July saw a 14% year-on-year rise in bookings for this winter.

Summer 2017 bookings were also up 10% on a year ago, although the numbers are small. The rise in bookings came alongside surges in inbound visitor numbers and domestic trips, which have been widely attributed to the fall in the pound. The Tourism Alliance reported an 11% increase in UK domestic trips in July and an 18% rise in international visitors.

Yet outbound travellers seem undeterred up to now, despite reports of exchange rates as low as €1 to £1 at airport foreign exchange bureaux. GfK data shows family bookings up 14% on July 2015 last month, with mainland Spain, the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Cyprus and Rhodes enjoying the biggest growth.

Office for National Statistics figures confirmed the pre-vote trend, with holiday departures for the six months to June up 5% on last year and departures over the past 12 months up 7%.

The booking and departure figures were in sharp contrast to a World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) forecast that UK holiday departures could drop 3% by the end of the year as a result of Brexit and a weaker pound.

WTTC president and chief executive David Scowsill said: “These are top-line projections. This summer, people probably made their commitment to travel. We’ll see in the autumn whether the exchange rate has more of an impact.”

Source: Industry data defies predictions of p… | Travel Weekly

FlightGlobal combines with Diio and FlightStats to create a powerhouse in air travel data analytics – Reed Business Information

Source: FlightGlobal combines with Diio and FlightStats to create a powerhouse in air travel data analytics – Reed Business Information

FlightGlobal, a leading aviation information group, today announces the acquisition of two pioneering US businesses that will help create a powerhouse in data analytics for the global air travel sector.  Diio LLC, a leading provider of airline market intelligence tools, and FlightStats Inc., a pioneer in flight data services, will now sit alongside FlightGlobal’s existing portfolio of fleet, aircraft finance and schedules data services.

With these latest transactions, FlightGlobal emerges with a world-class air travel data and analytics capability, building on the acquisition of the Innovata airline schedules business in 2014. Diio and FlightStats already work closely with FlightGlobal as long-standing commercial partners and significant users of the group’s schedules data.

Diio LLC, headquartered near Washington DC, provides a portfolio of online intelligence tools for the global air transport and travel industry, both under its own brand and those of its partners. The company’s flagship Diio Mi service brings together schedules, fares and traffic data into a single online market intelligence toolset, used extensively by airlines and airports principally in North America. In cooperation with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), Diio powers such products as IATA PaxIS, ARC DataXpert Market Intelligence and IATA/ARC Direct Data Solutions (DDS). Diio also hosts the SRS Analyser schedules analysis tool, developed for international markets in cooperation with FlightGlobal and IATA.

FlightStats Inc., based in Portland, Oregon, is a pioneer in making real-time global flight data available to power services and decision-support tools for many of the world’s leading airlines, travel agencies, mobile app developers and online services. Its cutting-edge technology combines vast volumes of data from over 400 sources, including live aircraft tracking, to build an evolving picture of the status of flight arrivals and departures across the airline system. The company is already actively working with FlightGlobal on ways to help clients improve workflow processes around flight disruptions and to gain insights into the cause of delays.

Christopher Flook, who heads the FlightGlobal business as RBI Managing Director, says: “With the talent, technology and resources we have now assembled, FlightGlobal is well-placed to help the air travel sector take the next significant step forward in managing, integrating and analysing its data. We already worked well together as standalone businesses, but coming together as a single group now allows us greater ability to combine our data and experience to deliver huge value for our customers.”

David Hoppin, Diio CEO, says: “Diio was founded fifteen years ago with the vision that we could combine fast database technology and expert user-interface design to make it easy for airline decision-makers to assemble facts in time to inform the decision at hand. The company’s uninterrupted growth since 2001 confirmed the vision. Now, as part of the FlightGlobal family, we can leverage best-in-class data assets and the resources of a much larger organisation to go after exciting growth opportunities in all parts of the world.”

FlightStats founders, Chairman Jeff Kennedy and CEO Tod Hutchinson, said: “As a standalone company we’ve invested heavily in a modern data management platform that enables us to acquire, process and deliver data at huge scale and speed. With the additional resources that the FlightGlobal group now brings, we’re excited about the ability to move faster still and to combine data in new and innovative ways to solve high value problems for the industry. Together we’re well-positioned to be a critical hub in the travel ecosystem.”

FlightGlobal, headquartered in London, is the aviation arm of Reed Business Information, which itself sits within the Risk & Business Analytics business area of RELX Group.