FOMO – Fear of Missing Out

FOMO Fear of Missing Out
FOMO Fear of Missing Out

Do You Suffer From FOMO?

If so, there’s no need to be embarrassed. Unfortunately, there’s no known cure, so you just have to do the best you can like the rest of us.
For anyone who doesn’t know, FOMO is an acronym that stands for Fear of Missing Out.

Savvy marketers know how to tickle the interest of their customers

For decades, brand marketers have used a refinement of a basic psychological model that separates consumers into five groups based on the speed with which they acquire new products: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority and Laggards.

Which two groups would suffer most from FOMO? If you answered the first two, you’d be right. Innovators tend to be educated, wealthy and more risk oriented. Early adopters are younger, more educated, not quite as prosperous and less adventurous.
Both groups are the first to embrace new ideas, new technology and new ways to spend their money. Launching a product successfully to these groups means that the slower adopters will observe their purchasing behavior and ultimately follow suit.

Get the sheep on board, the lambs will surely follow

Appealing to Innovators and Early Adopters is the only way to be confident of a successful new product or technology. Because it’s so important, plenty of research has been done on which words appeal to the FOMO of these economically powerful and socially influential groups.
Here they are. You’ll find them useful if you’re aiming any business communications at them and you’ll also know when a marketer is trying to take advantage of your FOMO too.


The most powerful word of all for Innovators especially. They are desperate to be the first to have a new product. They’ll order new cars before they’re officially launched and often without bothering to take a test drive. They’ll queue all night to buy a new Apple smart phone and, as every new fashion season arrives, they have a complete change of wardrobe.

Limited offer

These consumers simply cannot pass up the opportunity to join a small, exclusive group of sophisticated consumers. If you’re selling anything that’s genuinely in short supply, this will have them beating down your door. Works well for wine, limited editions of books, artwork or photographs, club membership and so on. It won’t work if you’re selling household appliances unless there’s a discount or value add for immediate purchase.

Only available here

An explosion of pleasure for the must-have-now-consumer. Not only is it an exclusive product but there’s only one place you get it. Only people who are really connected will have one of these. See the thought process? You can hear them in gyms and golf clubs all over the world showing off their new toys, beaming with pride. “Did I show you this?” they’ll ask. When you’ve ooohed and aaahed long enough, they’ll deliver the killer punch: “Got it from a little place in Vermont. Nobody else has them.” Of course, you can only use this tactic if the product or service is truly unique.

Today only

Anyone who suffers from FOMO will stop in their tracks when they see this. These Innovators and Early Adopters aren’t scared of making quick decisions, in fact they do it all the time. If it’s a good offer and it really is available for one day only, you can use it for short promotions of anything from cabbages to haute couture.

Launch offer

Heading straight back into the newness/exclusivity territory. Especially powerful if there’s an invitation-only event involved or if there’s a limited advance supply of a product that will soon be mass marketed, or a special offer only available at the launch. If you really want to haul them in, organize a gift or a self-liquidating offer like a tee shirt or a cap so all their friends can see how well connected they are.

Preview invitation

Right up there in the exclusivity stakes. An ideal lure for fine jewelry stores, art galleries, exhibitors, new car dealers or for introducing a new Champagne or any other high-priced luxury. Obviously, the invitation will be to attend a function at which one will meet other refined people whose names can be dropped at the next barbecue.
This is by no means an exclusive list of powerful words that act like catnip on anyone who wants to catch the beginning of a trend.
See it as an introduction and remember: it’s only available here.

For more reading on how new ideas and technologies spread in different cultures, read Diffusion of Innovations by Everett Rogers.

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