FOMO: More Than A Feeling

A new buzzword has popped up that describes a state of mind I had never leveraged in marketing before: FOMO, the fear of missing out.

This fear stems from our “connected everywhere” lifestyle.  With literally everything a click away, people are tempted to check in all the time,  afraid something important could happen and they would miss it.

In the old days, you had to watch something or be somewhere right when it happened.  If you missed an episode of your favorite show, you had to wait for reruns.  If you didn’t watch a concert with your favorite band, you had to wait until they went on tour again. There actually was a real sense of urgency.  Everything was finite.  

These days, that’s not the case.  Every moment is recorded by someone.  Every show is available via streaming.  Many shows are available in binge format.

There are very few things that are “here today, gone tomorrow,” so FOMO feels like a manufactured feeling.  FOMO resonates most with the millennial audience that has been raised with this level of accessibility.  For older audiences who are used to missing out, it feels less like a motivational tool.



So how do you harness FOMO as a viable marketing strategy?

With FOMO, you strive to be a constant reminder to your audience, in front of them wherever and whenever you can be.  Your brand needs to take content that’s valuable to your audience and push it out through social media and other channels.  You try to build frequency in the feed, and get your story told wherever they may be.  You try to tease ideas that require payoff.

To truly harness FOMO, you need to offer up exclusive information and opportunities that your audience can’t get anywhere else, and make it time-sensitive.  You create a false sense of timeliness to get your audience engaged now rather than waiting till later.  

If you have an app, notifications are your primary tool for creating FOMO.  That little bubble with a number that pops up in your app becomes a valuable weapon in your arsenal.  It creates a sense that by not visiting now, you’re missing out.  It creates a false sense of urgency.  That is a great way to get your brand to stay top of mind.

Keeping your audience coming back to learn and encouraging them to see you as a valuable source of information is an important strategy.  

What are some of the other ways you leverage FOMO as a marketing vehicle?

4 comments about "FOMO: More Than A Feeling".
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  1. Andrew Susman from New Value Associates, October 25, 2017 at 1:33 p.m.

    Cory: FOMO was identiifed in 2008.   See:

  2. Cristina Dinozo from Persado, October 25, 2017 at 3:19 p.m.

    As experts in marketing language we have a unique approach to this. We classify FOMO as "Guilt" in our ontology of emotional marketing language, warning against the potential regret a reader might experience if they don’t view the message. For example, in an email subject line, a retailer might say “Get it or regret it: 30% off sale styles", where "get it or regret is" instills a sense of FOMO. We just published an infographic about this and similar language here:

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 25, 2017 at 3:24 p.m.

    You are on to something. FOMO is killing us.

  4. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, October 25, 2017 at 4:30 p.m.

    U never heard of FOMO b4? Omg, smh. 

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