Your Digital Marketing Career and Pokémon GO

Yeah, I am going there.

Pokémon GO is the latest mobile sensation to hit the….Just kidding, let’s be real. You know what Pokémon GO is, you most likely just put your phone down. Or you still have the app open in front of you. Even if you have no idea what a Charmander is, there is still a very good chance you are halfheartedly throwing red circles at the funny looking creatures in an attempt to make your significant other think you’re cool.

So, what does this have to do with digital marketing?

Consider this, when Ash Ketchum left Pallet Town that fateful sunny morning he had no idea that one day it was his destiny to become the youngest champion in Orange League history. He was just a young boy from the Kanto region with a pocketful of dreams—or, to be more specific, Pokéballs—and an innate drive to catch them all. He wasn’t going to let any number of obstacles, gym leaders, or the nefarious plans of Team Rocket get in his way.

While you might not be as bright-eyed or eternally young as Ash, your foray into the world of digital marketing and your dream to be the leader of the Poké gym in front of your local McDonalds share many of the same sentiments. So, fittingly, I will highlight the top 3. (Handed down to me from Professor Oak himself).

Here we go,

1) Catching them all

When Pokémon was founded in 1995, there were 151 Pokémon to catch and train. Today that number stands at 729. Just as the ecosystem of Pokémon has experienced substantial growth, so too has the field of digital marketing. Along these lines, the number of tools associated with the practice of digital marketing has also shown massive growth.

Each year, Scott Brinker of releases a snapshot of the current state of marketing technology. When he started in 2011 the list had 150 companies offering different marketing technology services, this year’s edition features almost 4000 companies.

Just as trainers strive to catch as many Pokémon as possible, as digital marketers we must strive to constantly learn new skills if we are to stay relevant. One lesson that can be applied to not only marketing but really life as a whole, is never stop learning. Elements of digital marketing are starting to interact with each other more and more. Bridging your passion to “catch em all!” and learn as many practical digital marketing skills as possible is vitally important to not only landing a job but also to staying relevant in your current field.

2) Leveling up your Pokémon.

I tell people this all the time, you don’t bring a CP 200 Pokémon to a gym where the leading Pokémon has a CP over 1000. It just doesn’t make sense; you’re going to have a bad time. If you want to be the very best, the best there ever was, you got to level those Pokémon. You have to train them, nurture them, and give them the proper time and attention so they can grow into something great.

This is also true for your knowledge of digital marketing platforms and software. You don’t just go and get Google Analytics certified and call it a day, proclaiming yourself an expert. Getting the certification is just the successful catch, the proverbial throw of the Pokéball if you will. Now it’s time to level up using your newfound skill in any number of practical applications to build a working knowledge of the platform.

There is a massive difference—and this holds true for any platform in the digital marketing space—between someone who thinks they know what’s going on and someone who actually does.

Poké Trainer Tip: You want to be one of the people who actually knows what they are talking about in that potential job interview. If the interviewer for your dream job throws out a CP 1400 Snorlax, you had better not choose a CP 40 Pidgey and think you’re going to walk out of that interview happy. You feel?

3) Knowing which Pokémon to use in each situation.

Nothing aggravates me than a person who doesn’t understand the nuances of type-advantages or, more generally, what Pokémon to use in a specific situation. I mean come on, it’s 2016. If you don’t know that you can’t bring a water type Pokémon to a grass gym, I don’t know what to tell you.

awkward gif_Phil KoppDigital Marketing is a small name for an immense industry. There are thousands of potential ways to tackle any problem and what separates the good digital marketers from the great ones is the ability to identify which digital solutions are relevant for a potential problem, complication, campaign, etc.

Allow me to illustrate.

Phil Kopp_1

Oh no, one of your best clients is having issues with lead generation. There is a multitude of ways to tackle this problem and, depending on the issue, any number of solutions may be viable. It is up to you, the smart young digital marketer you are, to identify what unique solution set needs to be applied to this specific scenario in order to drive more leads for this client.

Specific Pokémon are far more effective in certain situations. Translating this sentiment to the digital world, certain digital marketing solutions will do far more than others depending upon the situation they are utilized for.

Let’s say, for instance, that this client of yours has excellent analytics, a solid web presence, well-optimized paid campaigns, and landing pages designed for conversions. These are paramount for successful lead generation, yet one crucial element is missing. One “Pokémon”, if you will, that will be super effective in this situation given the details.

Phil Kopp_2

Knowing what Pokémon to use is key to being a successful Pokémon GO player and, along these lines, this same skill set is crucial to being a successful digital marketer. As you pursue your career and learn more about digital, it’s important to not only know what a tool or tactic does, but also why and when to implement these solutions. While you won’t be catching any Charizard in the day-to-day of your blossoming digital career, you will be constantly evolving. And just like in the game, it’s important to constantly strive towards this evolution, towards being the best there was, to stand out against a growing crowd of people clamoring for careers in digital marketing.

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