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Community, Cops and Cones

Do You Have The Balls For Pokemon Go?

20160710_175052000_iOSYes, I admit it. I spent part of our family vacation looking down at my phone, attempting to flick red and white balls at strange looking creatures. And I became quite good at it – reaching Level 8 – until I ran out of balls.

In case you missed it, which I doubt, Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm. It’s a simple, easy-to-play mobile game that is highly addictive. It has managed to get people of all ages to walk around zombie-like in search of Pokémon characters that, thanks to augmented reality, appear in real world places on your smartphone.

And naturally, anytime anything captivates the masses, we simply must look into how we can monetize it, right?

While it’s highly possible that this may be a fleeting fad, there are opportunities available and lessons to learn from history’s most popular mobile download.

What Can Your Business Do?

Pokémon Go encourages players to get outside. So if you own a sidewalk friendly business – an art gallery, a deli, a coffee shop – get involved with the game:

  • Create cooling, shady pit stops for the players – offer water, a place to sit, or free product samples.
  • And if you are close to a Pokestop or Gym, take the next step, use Pokemon lures to attract Pokemon to come near your location.
  • Pokémon Go  is a smartphone battery hog. Offer charging stations so that gamers can recharge while hanging out in your business.

Non-Profits can take advantage too. What about The World’s Slowest 5K & Pokemon Hunt? Or a Pokemon Zombie Walk?  Secure a path chock full of Pokemon or Pokestops and encourage your patrons to donate to join in the fun. One of the more creative uses of the “walking” feature of this game was used by an animal shelter in Indiana, encouraging uses to take a sheltered dog with them on their quest. Pokémo Go likes churches and museums; these are favorite Pokestops.

It’s ideal for the retail segment too. Take advantage of the social aspect of this game – on your social media pages, post photos of Pokemon seen in your location. Encourage patrons to do the same. If you have a “rare” Pokemon nearby, promoting this may attract even more interest.

What does this success tell us?

Your Brand matters

And your brand can be the most valuable asset that you can continue to build.

Consider this – Pokémon, the game and the brand, is about 20 years old. And now, it is not only appealing to a new generation of kids, but it is embraced by young adults who played the game as children (not to mention older adults who bought the games for their kids)

The KISS method works

Pokémon Go is simple to play. It’s straightforward without the need for too many instructions.  A successful marketing campaign can also be simple. Do you recall hearing much fanfare about this new game prior to its launch? Granted, it had a large following (see brand awareness above), but something that is unique and timely, with appropriate incentives, engagement and callsl to action, can succeed on its own merits.

Timing is critical

It wasn’t by accident that his app launched in the summer, when folks spend time outdoors. Keep your timing in mind when you launch your next campaign.

Be social

If nothing else, this hoopla proves that social is a required medium. Keep social channels, as well as other electronic and print channels part of your ongoing marketing mix.

Reward Loyalty

As you catch more Pokemon, you are rewarded with medals and advancements to new levels. Loyalty programs can be very effective. Encourage your customers to stay engaged, and reward them for doing so.

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As for me, I’ve been stuck on level 8 for a while. The funny thing about this game, as you advance, success becomes more challenging. It always seems to require more Poke Balls.

Just like in marketing, in order to be successful at this game, you gotta have the balls to do so.

Don’t Let Yourself Become Dated

CustomXM celebrates 50 years of growth

50logo_shadowThe single-family-owned business has evolved this past half century with changing technologies and the Central Arkansas market.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK (April 26, 2016) — In November 1966, Ira and Mary Lee Strack struck out on an adventure of a lifetime, opening their own business — Custom Printing on Pike Avenue in North Little.  A half century later, that adventure continues — now with son Paul Strack at the helm of CustomXM.

“Fifty Years of Firsts … And Still Counting” is the months-long celebration of the business’s successful past, present and future.

“For 50 years, we have taken deep pride in providing both quality work and superior service to our clients and in maintaining a professional, knowledgeable and close-knit staff,” Paul Strack said. “This combination has allowed us to thrive for five decades and to look forward to many more successful and productive years as a business in Central Arkansas.”

The roots for CustomXM’s success begin with Paul’s parents, Ira and Mary Lee Strack. Eager to put his knowledge of the craft of printing and his business acumen to work, Ira Strack knew the key to thriving would be to incorporate smart advances ahead of the competition. It’s a practice son Paul has taken to heart also.

Among the “firsts” that Custom Printing/CustomXM can boast are:

  • In the early 1970s, CustomXM was one of the first commercial printers in the Little Rock area to embrace the new “direct-to-plate technology” that both eased and sped up printing processes.
  • In the late 1970s, Custom Printing was one of the first area printers to install high-speed copiers, incorporating another revolutionary technology.
  • In 1984, Custom Printing purchased a Kodak 350 High Volume, High Speed copier, allowing short run, black ink, letter and legal size jobs to be run on the copier instead of the press.
  • In 1990, Paul Strack joined the business, bringing a wealth of energy for sales and a great knowledge of computers, enhancing Custom Printing’s move into the digital world. This also may have represented the first time a CPA left public accounting to go into printing sales!
  • In the 1990s, Custom Printing replaced typesetting with desktop publishing and began adding digital color printing.
  • In 1996, Ira Strack names Paul Strack president of Custom Printing.
  • In 2004 and the next few years, Custom Printing repositioned its business to embrace “cross-media, interactive marketing solutions” as well as traditional print. Soon after, the business’s name changed to CustomXM.
  • In 2007, CustomXM purchased a NEXPRESS Digital Color Production Press from Kodak, allowing the company to take the next step in the digital printing evolution. Variable data printing allowed the creation of unique versions of each printed document based on the prospective customer.
  • In 2009, CustomXM added a Kodak Dimensional Printing, to become one of the first in the state to offer digitally printed images that mimicked the surface of the items in the image. In other words, an image of a football actually felt like a football.
  • In 2012, CustomXM created the state’s first virtual shopping wall at McCain Mall, using a product display with a QR code that took customers to an online purchase point.

The history of CustomXM is intertwined with many Central Arkansas businesses that have been customers over the years. In the early years, Custom Printing produced thousands of seed tags for the local Southern Farmers Association and prescription pads for Petty’s Drug Stores. Other loyal clients over the years have included the City of North Little Rock, ABC Financial Services, Jay Stanley & Associates, Arkansas Homefurnishings Association and Little Rock Catholic High School.  One of the most recent additions is the new Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub.

“We want the celebration of our history to be as much a celebration for our customers and clients as it is for our family and past and present staff members,” Paul Strack said.

To that end, for the next five months, CustomXM will be offering the following specials:

MAY: 10% off Promotional Products

JUNE: 10% off Signs & Banners

JULY: 10% off Direct Mail campaigns

AUGUST: 10% off Design and Creative Services

SEPTEMBER: 10% Business Cards, Letterheads & Envelopes

Then, the celebration will culminate with a reception for past and present customers and staff members as well as friends and family in North Little Rock this fall.

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