Do you suffer from FOMO? (coz YOLO!)

I’ve learnt a new word; well, a new acronym to be precise. FOMO. Fear of Missing Out. The acronym may be new (to me) but the psychology behind it certainly isn’t.

Fear of Missing Out is a modern syndrome for a communications obsessed age. It first made its appearance in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013 and is related to a behavioural condition around the anxiety of missing out.

So, is FOMO in your life?

  • Are you constantly checking what’s happening on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn because you don’t want to miss what’s going on?
  • Do you check your emails when you wake up in the morning. You never know .. whilst you’ve been sleeping you may have received the order you’ve been waiting for or you may have been invited to an important “not to be missed” meeting
  • Do you feel ever so slightly unpopular if no-one likes your or shares your posts?

Well, you are not alone. It’s only natural to feel like you are missing out. This is why companies have been using FOMO in their marketing for decades.

It’s a proven sales and marketing technique used to entice buyers and produce an action; it’s based on the psychology of human behaviour, a desire to know what’s going on and not to miss out. As social animals, we have an inherent need to be involved with what’s happening.

How is FOMO used in marketing?

Scarcity  strong calls to action “last chance to buy” Amazon do this really well when they show  only “2 left in stock” This taps into our desire to buy quickly as we don’t want to miss out, especially if we’ve been browsing or thinking of purchasing for a while.

Peer acceptance the classic “Keeping up with the Joneses” Everyone’s talking about the latest craze/tv series/last night’s office outing. There’s a feeling of exclusion if you’re not involved. This is where social media campaigns come into their own; you’ll be familiar with the hashtags that appear at the start of TV shows; a place where people can gather and join in or listen to the conversation. I find it’s often the behind the scenes and the opinion of others that enhances the show’s entertainment.

Time-limited – Remember the chaos of recent Black Fridays. Driven by a desire not to miss out on this “one day only” time-limited offer certainly led to some crazy behaviour.

On a more gentle note, FOMO is why brands like Burberry posted teasers on Snapchat before London Fashion Week .

The opportunity to see behind the scenes footage and teasers of the latest collections gathered enough intrigue and interest for the full collections to be viewed on the catwalks.

So if you aren’t using FOMO in your current marketing, then you’re missing out … (see what I did there?)

Karen Lambert is a creative thinker, an experienced strategic marketer, founder and Managing Director of Happy Creative, a strategic marketing and branding agency based in Lancashire, North West England. To learn more please contact Karen at

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Do you suffer from FOMO? (coz YOLO!)
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