Do you remember the feeling you get when your friends post pictures of their vacation in Bali, and you're stuck at home binge-watching Netflix? You start to wonder if you should have booked that flight when it was on sale, but now it's too late, and you're left with FOMO remorse. That's precisely what Fear of Missing Out looks like. It's not just about missing out on experiences; it's about missing out on being the person with those experiences. You want to be the one with the incredible stories to tell at the next party, not the one who has to fake laugh and pretend they were there.
The FOMO Terminology.
The term Fear of Missing Out was first introduced in 2004 by Patrick J. McGinnis. He discussed FOMO and FOBO (fear of a better option) and their impact on social life at Harvard Business School. The acronym made its way to the Oxford Dictionary in 2013. The British psychologists summarized it as "pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent."
According to research, 56% of social media users experience FOMO nowadays. Considering the spread of social media nowadays, it's like a never-ending game of musical chairs. There's always one chair left, and you're convinced it's the best in the room. So, everyone keeps playing, even though your feet hurt and the music is getting on your nerves.
However, one generation, in particular, may be characterized as FOMO-guided. It is also thought to be the primary catalyst for others to get FOMO. Have you guessed the generation yet? The millennials - born between 1981 and 1996. According to the International Journal of Advances in Nursing Management Research "FOMO Syndrome" report, 69% of millennials undergo FOMO daily and hourly. Millennials are big online spenders, so organizations must comprehend millennial manners. Let's scan some FOMO facts about millennial behavior:
48% of millennials overspend money with friends;
60% of people buy things out of FOMO, usually within 24 hours;
33% of people purposefully cause FOMO among their friends;
45% can't stand 12 hours without checking social media; 20% can only go for an hour without checking social media;
36% of people are terrified of feeling like outsiders.
85% of consumers reported visual UGC as more persuasive than brand photos or videos.
FOMO and marketing best practices
Because of the above facts, this psychological trigger is widely used in concepts and marketing, as most of us cannot help but respond.
Photo by Markus Spiske.
Instagram Stories are brilliant examples of FOMO innovation. It allows sharing photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours, creating a sense of urgency and FOMO among friends who want to see the content before it disappears. Urgency messaging, such as "Today only: extra 20% off!" or "Last chance for free shipping!", "Only one room left!", influencer marketing with bloggers showcasing the brand in their daily routines, limited-time offers like Amazon's "Lightning Deals," user-generated content, and social media initiatives are all intended to stimulate the sense of FOMO.
Let's look into more cases of how this approach can be utilized.
According to Market Research Future, the global live-streaming market is predicted to reach over $247 billion by 2027.
Some companies, like Twitch, a video game streaming platform, succeeded primarily in live streaming. Other platforms like Instagram Live, Tik Tok and Facebook Live allow users and companies to broadcast live videos to their followers. All these create a sense of FOMO among those who can't watch in real-time.
Here are some "live streaming" ideas for you to enrich your product or service:
Most of the world's top companies practice live streaming to warm up their audience. German beauty retailer Douglas streams weekly shows, with conversion rates up to 40%. Tommy Hilfiger expanded its live stream program to Europe and North America after success in China. Walmart's TikTok live-stream fashion event exceeded expectations, netting seven times more viewers and adding 25% to its TikTok follower base.
Exclusive Membership Clubs
These clubs are like that cool kid's birthday party you were never invited to in school. Remember how much you used to obsess over it, wishing and hoping that you could be part of the exclusive guest list? Closed clubs are like that but for adults. It nourishes the feeling of missing some positive experience someone was chosen for but not you.
Here are the main secrets for successful implementation:
Let's look at the successful case of Dispo, the anti-Instagram social network evaluated for 200 million USD within the first month. In this camera retro app, users take a photo and receive it at 9 a.m. local time. Firstly, the app's exclusivity as an invite-only platform has generated hype and interest among users. They created a sense of scarcity through limited time windows to develop photos. Dispo's social aspect enhances its networking capability. The app's vintage filters and film aesthetic provide a personalized experience. Finally, Dispo incentivizes users to invite friends through referral programs, promoting growth.
The idea of a closed club can be implemented for most businesses. One approach is creating a loyalty or membership program that offers exclusive benefits to customers who join. Another method is to create a private group or forum to provide a space for customers to connect, share feedback and ideas, and receive exclusive content or promotions. By creating a community around the product or service, the company can build stronger relationships with customers and foster a sense of loyalty and advocacy.
Limited-edition products and collaborations
The study "The effect of a limited-edition offer following brand dilution on consumer attitudes toward a luxury brand" proved that people are willing to pay more for luxury, and the limited edition performed better than the regular edition. According to the study's results, "it allows consumers to signal their uniqueness, wealth, and high status by possessing an LE product."
The formats can be:
Special edition packaging.
Limited color or design options.
Limited edition collections.
Personalized or autographed products.
Collaborations with artists or designers.
Many companies create limited-edition products only available for a short period, creating a sense of FOMO among customers who want to own the exclusive item. Luxury fashion brands often make a limited-edition line of products, only available in select stores.
The skate company Supreme takes great pleasure in its inventive product collaborations with other companies and its "unusual" items, including everything from a crowbar to nun chucks and bolt cutters. The partnerships they've produced are unique because they only take place sometimes and are typically done with businesses very dissimilar to their own. For example, this item is a collaboration piece between Louis Vuitton and Supreme.
Event-specific merchandise is another type of popular limited production. Musicians and sports teams often create merchandise only available at concerts or games, creating a sense of exclusivity and FOMO among fans who want to own the unique items.
Pop-ups are temporary or short-term services that companies offer in a specific location or for a limited time. They are often used to create a feeling of hurry and scarcity and can promote new products or services, test a new market, or build brand awareness.
Various types can be implemented:
Product Launch Pop-Up
Flash Sale Pop-Up
Pop-up shops are temporary retail spaces that appear briefly, often at unique and exclusive locations. According to ResearchGate, the success of a pop-up store is usually driven by the level of engagement it creates with customers rather than by the number of sales it generates. All stores described in the research used exciting initiatives such as red-carpet events, art and music exhibitions, performers, and no-cost non-blockbuster movies. Others transformed their shop into a gallery showcasing works by regional artists. Thus, changing a "pop-up retail into a form of art."
Apart from retail, event marketing and specific niche events can be considered pop-up concepts. According to Stova numbers, 84% of event attendees claim that following the event, they have a more favorable perception of the advertised organization, brand, product, or service.
Adobe held its entirely virtual Adobe Summit 2022, which attracted over 100,000 attendees. The summit focused on digital businesses and included more than 200 sessions, training workshops, and virtual learning opportunities. To keep attendees engaged, Adobe featured high-profile speakers from renowned brands and "Sneaks" sessions that offered a glimpse into future Adobe products and features. The event successfully provided attendees with valuable takeaways while promoting the Adobe brand.
Survey Monkey found a smart way to boost attendance for its enterprise-level subscription plan online demos by offering free Fitbits for a limited time. The deminar (a webinar with a product demonstration) format allowed face-to-face interaction between sales teams and prospects. The registration page clearly outlined the event's agenda, providing value for potential customers.
Early access to products
Pre-launch marketing and promotion strategies for the new products for selected customers or members create a sense of FOMO among those who want to be the first to own the latest technology.
Use teasers to build suspense
Share development updates
Spotlight employees or team members
Host live AMAs
Conduct polls and quizzes
Organize social media contests and giveaways
Share influencer posts and reviews
Create a unique hashtag.
With an alluring email campaign, the interior design company Havenly teased the arrival of a new service: "Next week, we're launching something new that we know you'll love." Customers were intrigued by the brand's launch despite its simplicity.
Or the Xion CyberX eBike, after collecting over 23,000 emails for its list, was released on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo. When the campaign began, this led to sales of more than $800,000.
Video game developer CD Projekt Red offered pre-order bonuses, such as exclusive in-game items, for their highly anticipated game Cyberpunk 2077 to create FOMO among fans who wanted to experience the entire content.
VIP experiences within the concept
From a FOMO perspective, VIP experiences can create a sense of exclusivity and status, making those with access feel special and privileged. Seeing others enjoying VIP experiences can also create a sense of envy and drive others to seek ways to become VIPs.
The ways for implementation can be:
Personalized or customized experiences tailored to the VIP's preferences and needs.
VIP-only events or private parties with other VIPs, influencers, or company executives.
One-on-one consultations or meetings with experts or top executives.
Insider information and behind-the-scenes tours of facilities or production processes.
Access to premium customer support or dedicated account managers.
Special discounts, rewards, or loyalty programs exclusively for VIPs.
Superior product or service packaging, shipping, or delivery options.
Disney, Nike, American Express, and Porsche are among the companies that offer VIP experiences to their customers. Disney offers private tours, exclusive access to attractions, and behind-the-scenes tours of the parks. In contrast, Nike offers personalized workouts, exclusive product access, and invitations to special events through their NikePlus program. American Express offers cardholders access to exclusive lounges, presale event tickets, and VIP packages for concerts and sports events. Porsche offers VIP experiences that include behind-the-scenes tours of their factories, test drives of their latest models, and exclusive events for Porsche owners. These companies recognize that offering VIP experiences can build brand loyalty, increase customer satisfaction, and drive sales. They have adapted their offerings to provide unique and memorable experiences that cater to their customers' interests and needs.
To sum it up
FOMO can be a powerful motivator in marketing and innovation tactics and a great way to capitalize on this phenomenon. Companies can leverage FOMO to increase engagement and brand loyalty and drive sales by providing exclusive content, limited-time offers, and building anticipation and excitement. If you want to improve your creative and innovation skills, consider signing up for the creative training provided by Conceptology Education to learn more about these tactics and other strategies for success.