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“From flash sales to limited stock items, urgency consistently entices consumers to spend more money. Embracing a sense of urgency in your communications will trigger your consumer’s FOMO which motivates them to act before time runs out,” – Alan Cassinelli

Human beings are susceptible to a variety of emotions in their everyday lives. One of the prominent emotions is the feeling of insecurity when people find themselves interacting with their immediate environments that offer myriad situations innate to the human condition. Many people feel insecure when they observe their peers engaging in social activities, such as parties, group lunches, hiking trips, shopping expeditions, and foreign vacations, among others. We note that modern social media platforms tend to exacerbate such feelings of insecurity and tend to reinforce the fear of being left out. The insecurities (triggered by such events in the lives of friends and peers) can be categorised as the ‘fear of missing out’ or FOMO. Brands, businesses, and marketing strategists have leveraged such human foibles to create powerful marketing campaigns, which are designed to mould customer behaviour to benefit modern commercial enterprises.

Tour and travel businesses can deploy marketing strategies based on FOMO to expand their business prospects during certain times of the year. For instance, a tour operator may create and post alluring images of young people enjoying themselves at a popular music festival. The images can be posted on the company website and on its social media handles in a bid to generate a marketing ‘buzz’ among fans and followers of the business. Essentially, these pictures are calls to action that energise the thought processes of viewers and create a powerful incentive to make travel plans. This form of advertising combines the marketing aspects of a campaign with an attempt to direct patterns of customer behaviour. We must note that the said travel and tour operator should ideally offer its customers the choice to select from tour packages customised for different levels of travel. This instance of marketing encapsulates the essence of FOMO and illustrates the mechanisms of creating demand for commercial products and services among the various customer demographics.

Brands and businesses that are inclined to deploy FOMO can emboss a time stamp on certain commercial offers. This clearly indicates that a certain product or line of products is being offered for sale for a limited timeframe. This message automatically triggers an element of urgency, which should help the commercial entity to attract customer’s attention. For instance, premium glassware, retail business can create a two-for-the-price-of-one product offering for a certain weekend. The intent here is to reduce the load of inventory and to create some momentum in weekend sales. Customers that view these advertisements would naturally be inclined to experience FOMO and this may trigger higher than average footfalls at the said retail establishment. We must note that the said glassware business would be required to honour its commitment to visitors and customers, thereby achieving the core intent of the marketing campaign.

The promise of a better life is a universal pursuit and businesses can leverage this dictum to appeal to wide swathes of consumers and customers. For instance, a premium smartphone manufacturer can justify a very high price for its products on the premise that the ‘experience’ of using its products would be unique. This technique can help the firm to create demand among its discerning clientele with a view to gaining a wider footprint in the premium smartphone market. This is clearly an example of creating an aura of exclusivity, which appeals to certain customer demographics. In addition, the FOMO factor can be brought into play when the firm announces that only a limited number of its products will be allotted for sale for each calendar month. The resulting rush of customers to its showrooms amply demonstrates the validity of using such marketing techniques. In subsequent times, the smartphone maker can choose to target its products and its marketing campaigns at certain mass markets in a bid to gain wider traction.

Marketing and publicity are versatile domains that offer immense scope for innovation and customisation. Brands and businesses can therefore explore multiple approaches in the creation of campaigns that hinge on FOMO. They can leverage the immense possibilities that emanate from the global use of social media, streaming technologies, and ubiquitous broadband connectivity. For instance, quick service restaurant may choose to organise an ‘eating’ challenge wherein, multiple participants are pitched against each other in a timed race to consume large platters of fast food. This exercise essentially represents a marketing and publicity campaign that can be streamed live through online video feeds and appropriate social media platforms. The intent of the business is to broadcast the proceedings to live online audiences and to encourage more people to participate in subsequent editions of the challenge. Avid food lovers that view such videos may find themselves subject to acute attacks of FOMO thereby steeling their resolve to attend and participate in subsequent versions of the event.

The potent combination of influencers and user content generation can be harnessed to boost the prospects of FOMO marketing. Brands and businesses can be advised to create specific budgets designed to sponsor the travel and lodging expenses of well-known influencers to certain events. For instance, a chocolate manufacturer can create marketing initiatives that hinge on encouraging mass influencers to visit its chocolate manufacturing operations and record their unique experiences through video blogs. These blogs can record everything the influencer experiences during said events and this can help to drive critical cogs of the publicity campaign sponsored by the chocolate manufacturer. Clearly, this technique hinges on the endorsements offered by celebrity influencers to expand the commercial fortunes of a product or service.

Sharp marketers can choose to expand the scope of a marketing campaign by creating unique ‘experiences’ that are limited in number and heavily sought after. This approach was best demonstrated in a campaign sponsored by a ride-sharing brand wherein, customers were encouraged to experience wonderful moments with puppies at their own homes and residences. The business offered a limited number of these ‘experiences’ for a ten-hour period for each customer. Naturally, the response was overwhelming and the business faced a large number of requests for the ‘puppy’ experience. The FOMO factor was in operation during this campaign and this was adequately underlined by the fact that huge numbers of customers wanted to access the limited edition ‘experience’.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the techniques that can be leveraged to create FOMO in customers. We must note that such marketing strategies hinge on generating a sense of urgency and exclusivity. Therefore, these campaigns should be minutely choreographed in order to drive customer behaviour towards the achievement of business goals. The fear of missing out can also be leveraged to introduce new brands and products in the markets. FOMO campaigns can be complemented by using word-of-mouth campaign. Customers can be requested (and encouraged) to discuss their experiences with friends, family members, and colleagues and through social media in an attempt to generate brand awareness and to drive public participation. Interesting variations of set marketing templates should be explored with a view to boost the return on investment of such campaigns. That said, we must note that every marketing campaign remains unique and subject to refinement. FOMO campaigns cannot afford to pose exceptions to that rule.

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