How to leverage ‘Fear of Missing Out’ Marketing To Get Millennials On Board

FOMO fear of missing out

It goes by the acronym FOMO: Fear of missing out.

We see the symptoms of this condition everywhere we go, and many of us are probably good examples of it. The constant checking of Facebook and text messages are notable signs of FOMO; people don’t want to miss out on experiencing something as it happens.

While FOMO is found in individuals of every generation, Millennials seem to be FOMO sufferers in the greatest percentages. A 2014 Eventbrite survey found that 78 percent of Millennials (those between 18 and 34 years old) would spend their money on a “desirable experience or event over buying something desirable.”

FOMO is a major driving force behind “sharing” and “engaging.” Sharing and engaging are experiential phenomena and Millennials seem to be living in fear that they will fail to experience worthwhile, memorable or noteworthy events in their lives.

Two FOMO marketing requirements

Although this is a somewhat abstract concept, it’s one that small business owners need to understand and consider as they plan advertising and marketing campaigns. There are two concepts to keep in mind as you try to leverage FOMO to make sales and bring prospects into your funnel:

  1. Find ways to make your product, service, or business into an “experience” (at least in part), and
  2. Find ways to let your prospects know that the experience or opportunity will end.

The second point above is a standard component of every very successful call to action. You see it in copy like this:

  • Enrollment must close at 5 p.m. tonight.
  • Be one of the first 25 to sign up in order to receive…
  • The price doubles to $200 at noon tomorrow.

You might consider getting a countdown plugin that puts time limits on sign-ups or opt-in forms on your website. I recently noticed that Thrive Leads has just put such a plugin on the market for WordPress sites. I’m sure there are others as well.

Give your customers an experience

The other element here is the “experience.” Can you create an engaging experience that would be popular and “shareable” with your customers, clients, and prospects? For example, if you’re a retailer, an “unadvertised” sale would fall into this category. You would set up an email campaign that builds anticipation and ask recipients to share information about the sale with their social media contacts. The sale would have to be generous and exciting enough to drum up the kind of buzz that you need to get into FOMO territory.

Further, by its very nature, Snapchat touches the FOMO nerve. Create in-store Snapchat coupons and you should be able to build the kind of anticipation that will lead to additional incremental sales. I talked about how one NYC yogurt shop used Snapchat coupons in this post.

Will today’s Millennials continue to be influenced by FOMO to such a great extent as they mature? I suspect they’ll mellow a bit, but right now is the time you want to build brand loyalty with this huge group of consumers (the biggest our nation has ever seen). This makes it important to use all the marketing tools you have to establish your relationship with them.