FOMO is the New Black
May 15, 2019
By Sarah Chapin


Explore regularly talks about breaking through the clutter with advertising and our media planning. It is a constant challenge that we face and is not an easy battle. Recently while attending a marketing meeting for Downtown Boulder, a board member said, “we are in the business of inspiring”.  Everyone in the room stopped to think about it and write the idea down. Advertising can no longer just be eye catching or funny, it must be inspiring to make a lasting impression.

So how can we inspire someone to take a desired action?  According to Michael Berne, the principle of MJB Consulting (and a leading expert in the retail industry) experiences are where it’s at. Consumers not only want to be “wowed”, but they want to buy a memory. They want to feel a part of something unique and cool. They want something to Instagram. Experiences must focus on enticing tactics. Pop-ups have been a trendy word in the industry over the last few years, but what advertisers are realizing is the key to a pop-up is the “pop”.  Experiences must be a hot trend, and to do so they must have limited exposure. They must create FOMO. To inspire people, we need to create experiences that people are scared to miss. Scared to be out of the loop.  Scared to not have on their Instagram.

I can instantly think of an example where I relate to this as a consumer. Beauty Counter is my go-to for skincare. I have used it for years, even though it drives me crazy that you can only order it online. When they announced pop-up stores in select cities and Denver was on the list, I instantly planned to go. I could buy my products in person! Be in one of the first stores ever! Feel a part of this big change! However, all of that came crashing down when I realized it was a semi-permanent store and I could go anytime. It has been over three weeks since the announcement and I still have not been to the store.  The sense of urgency was lost on my experience.

Michael reminds us that experiences cannot guarantee sales, but experiences are things that lead to sales. Creating that urgency and FOMO can often be the first step to leading to a sale.  Beauty Counter certainly would have gotten an immediate sale from me had the experience been more alluring!

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