Use FOMO to Enhance Your Marketing Strategy

Posted by Matt Mills on January 27, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Washington DC Marketing StrategyFOMO.  One of the latest acronyms we are being bombarded with.  This isn’t text slang, but instead is an acronym that stands for “Fear of Missing Out”.  Look it up on Urban Dictionary.  Check out the Wiki page on it.  GQ even published a five step guide to avoiding FOMO.  It is a legitimate “condition” that creative marketing directors are starting to use in effective marketing strategies.  

FOMO is defined as a form of social anxiety, where a compulsion drives one to fear missing out on a social interaction, a potentially memorable experience, an unbelievable opportunity or some other rewarding event or life experience.  However, current technology like smartphones, social networking, and access to the internet has made this real condition an effective marketing tactic.  Think back to when we communicated via landlines.  FOMO existed then, but your knowledge of what you were missing was a fraction of what it is now…thanks to unending technology and a never ending stream of commercial messages.

There are a couple of FOMO examples worth sharing.

The first is a creative way to effectively “purge” your email database.  Marketing databases are only as good as the engagement level.  You would take a smaller number of customers receiving the email if the open rate was much higher.  At the end of the day, you want them to act on your marketing message.  Unopened emails don’t help!

So fashion website, RueLaLa.com launched an email campaign that revolved around FOMO.
Check out this article to see the email.  With one email, they created the fear of missing out on their offers AND re-engaged their email database…all while also cleaning out the names that aren’t opening their emails.  A brilliant campaign - it was creative and effective.

A more well-known example would be Verizon’s GameCenter.  If you watch sports on TV, you have probably seen the national campaign that Verizon launched a few months ago.  Verizon’s GameCenter is live coverage of NFL and NHL games that you can watch on your phone or tablet…including features you can’t get anywhere else.

Their marketing campaign utilizes FOMO, and they have actually extended it to:  #FOMOH and #FOMOF… Fear of Mission Out on Hockey and Fear of Missing Out on Football. 

The irony in the Verizon campaign is that technology has made FOMO what it is today; however, in the case of Verizon, technology is also the “cure.”  Their TV ads feature star hockey players in hospital rooms or with their friends as they are moving, outlying how they can solve their FOMO condition Check out the #FOMOH Hospital commercial featuring Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin and this #FOMOF commercial featuring New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees.  

Along the same lines, we find that many marketing professionals suffer from MFOMO (Marketing Fear of Missing Out).  And in these cases, it unfortunately costs them important marketing money.  Technology is creating endless opportunities for advertising.  Digital advertising is growing exponentially; however, much of what WAS popular 1-2 years ago, is an afterthought now. Money spent on those opportunities is lost and wasted.  Often this money is spent because of a fear of missing out on the latest and greatest advertising opportunity.  Resist the urge to have marketing FOMO.  

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Tags: Trends, Marketing strategy, TV

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