Don’t Give in to Marketing FOMO: Four Steps to Resisting Shiny-Object Syndrome
FOMO has become quite a buzz word in recent years.
As a matter of fact, the Oxford Dictionary recognized it as a proper word in 2013. According to one of the definitions of FOMO, it is:
‘‘The uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out – that your peers are doing, in the know about, or in possession of more or something better than you”.
Nearly three-quarters of young adults across the world suffer from the disorder. It means somehow you are missing out things your peers or friends are enjoying.
It can be a sassy party on an exotic beach, people going to fabulous charity events, hanging out with their girlfriends, watching baseball matches from the company’s boxes, or just doing better jobs than you.
Nowadays, you know each and every detail of your friends’ lives thanks to the wonders of technology.
However, it also induces a jittery feeling inside you that why you are not able to do all these things yourself.
FOMO is not a good thing, to say the least. It can be very dangerous for your mental as well as physical health.
You may resort to checking your social media accounts frequently in a hope to keep up with the loop and not to “miss” anything.
Sometimes, it does alleviate your depression, but on most occasions, you remain heartbroken and distraught. Whatever the case, you keep reverting to mouse wheel to keep feeling okay.
Looking at other people’s social post further aggravates your FOMO.
Some experts also suggest people who are insecure in their life are highly susceptible to the disorder as well.
When you have FOMO, you think more about the fear of losing things you do not have instead of the benefits of what you already possess.
It is just like an addiction because people will check their social media during meals, immediately after getting up or going to bed and even during sex.
I do it often and I am sure most of you do the same as well.
AN INTRODUCTION TO FOMO MARKETING
The phenomenon of Fear of Missing Out has also made its way in the marketing world, thanks to ever developing and evolving marketing methods.
Again, the latest technological developments, the most important of which is the rise of social media marketing, has played an important role in forcing the marketers to fall for the trap.
The fear of missing out affects our life in many different ways.
For example, you are most likely to go to the beach if your friends are also planning to go. In the same way, it can influence the customer’s behavior.
It is actually very common in our household, especially among women (pun intended).
For instance, if your neighbor has bought a brand new Samsung LCD, your partner will definitely compel you to get her a similar LCD. You can also call it jealousy, but it is known professionally as FOMO.
If you, as a marketer, are effectively able to leverage the customer’s FOMO, it can be the most effective marketing technique for you.
However, marketers sometimes tend to blindly follow successful campaigns of other companies.
The comparison and the competition game become so intense that you totally ignore what is best for your own business.
In fact, FOMO has become a real thing in marketing in particular and business in general.
It is evident from the fact that new business and marketing fades come out every single day with the promise to help you make billions of dollars.
FOMO is a life destroyer and everyone, including businessmen can fall victim to it.
When you see other people and companies doing them, you have no other choice but to follow suit less you miss out on something which does not really exist.
Capitalizing on the popularity or the scarcity of a particular product is the basic principle of FOMO Marketing.
Take the example of Airbnb, which is a renowned room booking app, providing services across the globe.
If people somehow start thinking that the company is running out of the rooms, they will feel more urgency to book a room right now.
Just like all aspects of business, you must experiment with your marketing and pivot the campaigns to ensure constant growth.
However, haphazardly pursuing every new trend because you do not want to miss out is a terrible way to run your business.
Consistency is one thing you need to keep constant if you want to grow your business.
Changing your marketing strategy to accommodate all these trends changes the course of your journey as well.
You can definitely increase your conversions by applying FOMO.
For example, if you hold back your “exclusive” eBook only for your paid subscribers, more and more people will sign up to get the full book.
FOMO does have some benefits for marketers and business.
But, it also has numerous disadvantages which easily outweigh its advantages.
DISADVANTAGES OF FOMO MARKETING
Before we move on to discuss some of FOMO’s major disadvantages, you must always use FOMO ethically.
Overuse of this particular tactic can result in burnout and even anxiety and depression.
Almost all of us have experienced this phenomenon when we spend too many hours on social media without taking any break.
FOMO is no doubt an effective method to promote your products. But, there is a limit to everything including FOMO and therefore, you should use it moderately and that too for your most important products and events only.
In most cases, the fear of missing out becomes an addiction. In marketing, it is the fear of losing customers.
This fear will start controlling you when it has taken total hold of you. It will start guiding your behaviors and decisions.
You will start creating campaigns which have nothing to do with your products and services.
You will unintentionally copy other’s strategies which seem to have captured more clients.
Concerns over not earning enough profits will make you work for longer hours, unknowingly compromising your health in the process.
The fear of missing out can lead you to using negative marketing methods such as misleading advertisements, contacting people without their consent, stirring up insensitive controversies, and emotionally exploiting your potential customers.
FOMO can also pacify your creative spirit and cause total brain drain.
As a result, you are simply unable to do something new or positive with your business.
You cannot resist the temptation of doing more work than your health allows in a hope to get as many customers as you want.
You need to keep in mind that you cannot get everything you want in your life.
Sometimes, it is better to contend with less or whatever you already have.
People or businessmen suffering from FOMO always have the desire to keep the door open for new or better opportunities.
Although there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach yet they sometimes, become too obsessed with involving in anything they deem best for their business.
You can develop great anxiety and even depression if you are a FOMO marketer. Always looking for new ways to promote your products does not work every time.
Sometimes, it is better to focus on the methods and techniques which have been producing the desired results for you for years.
Similarly, putting too much focus on the things you are unable to achieve despite best efforts has serious consequences as well.
You cannot possibly relax nor have a peace of mind if you are always thinking about your competitors or the ways to beat them.
There is no way you can find contentment if you are never satisfied with your current policies and strategies.
It is humanly impossible to develop deep relationships with your customers if you are splitting your time between 5 campaigns instead of one.
The desire not to miss anything will only leave you stressed, overbooked, tired and always running late.
HOW TO AVOID BUSINESS RELATED FOMO
Some businesses are able to easily overcome what happened in the past. They do not make a mountain out of a molehill even if they do miss something.
FOMO can definitely be a big issue for other businesses, especially when they are in danger of losing their reputation and profitability.
However, there is no point wailing over what could or would have happened in the past. It is time to move on because nothing you can do about it now.
But, some businesses or businessmen just cannot get over with it. They need help on how to overcome FOMO or to prevent it from ruining their business.
Following are some of the tips you can implement to grow your business without applying FOMO techniques.
Prepare Yourself in Advance
FOMO mostly occurs when companies fail to foresee the future or what trends are going to dominate their respective industries.
The companies that have the ability to see into the future successfully manage to keep the marketing FOMO at bay.
If businesses can sense that an event or trend is coming up well in advance, they will be in a better position to plan around it, prepare for it and improve their profitability in the process.
Unfortunately, the majority of businesses or entrepreneurs neither have the eye nor the resources to predict future trends.
Similarly, they are not organized enough to resist or avoid FOMO when it starts taking hold of them.
They ultimately miss the boat due to their inability to effectively prepare and plan for future events.
On the other hand, their competitors take all the profits just because they are better prepared to capitalize on the upcoming market developments.
It is important for businesses to keep a close eye on what is happening not only in their own industry but in other industries as well.
For example, if there is a college holiday scheduled in Los Angeles, a hotel in New York could create a tactical campaign to attract the students to their hotel during that particular holiday.
Replicate Your most Successful Campaigns
Is there any sales or marketing campaigns which were super successful?
Going back to the jobs well done and replicating them is the tried and tested method to avoid marketing FOMO.
Just go through the campaign once again and identify the pieces which did not fit perfectly together.
However, reuse the bits and pieces which were simply awesome and considerably improved your sales and overall profitability.
Replicating successful campaigns can also help you save a lot of money and time. Most importantly, it will help you keep the anxiety and depression at the arm’s length.
Keep Ahead of Competitors
Almost every marketing expert advises you to remain ahead of your competitors, but it is easier said than done. Difficult or not, this is what you have to do to beat the ever growing competition.
Think about the events which occur without any warning such as flight delays or natural disasters.
Reacting to real-time events effectively and efficiently can pay rich dividends for your business.
It is even better if you have the skills to adapt your marketing campaigns to such events. It is the only way to separate you from the crowd, and remain visible to clients without missing anything.
You can easily reduce or eliminate your fear of missing out by staying one step ahead of your competitors.
It needs some effort and time, but this is the way to go if you want to survive in the industry.
Search Smartly and Strategically
It is important to keep searching for new events and trends.
But, it is a Herculean task to accomplish, especially if you use only Google to find these events.
Why not make your search easier, smarter and strategic.
There are many good, intuitive and extremely easy to use apps to search for multiple upcoming events happening at different locations.
They are a much better and feasible option than Google where you have to search for each event individually.
These apps scout events of the highest and lowest quality and put all the data under one roof.
In fact, you can retrieve the data about the event which means something to your business with utmost ease from these applications.
These apps enable you to search for different regions, cities, and countries in one sitting.
The ability to compare the events and their dates all at once makes it easier for you to create and plan your marketing strategies.
Create with Customers’ in Mind
It is always tempting to follow the crowd, especially when you are under pressure to sell your products fast.
However, it is even more important to listen to your customers, pay attention to what they want and shut everything out.
The strategies working for other businesses may not work for you.
It is alright to miss out “opportunities” if you are serving your customers in the best possible manner.
Happy customers’ means you are never going out of business.
Instead of taking directions from other businesses, try to best serve your customers.
For example, if your audience loves reading your articles on your blog and wants you to write a book about a specific topic, you must write that book.
But, you pay no heed to their wishes and decide to create courses because other entrepreneurs are having huge success with them.
Now, think about it carefully and with a cool mind.
Which one of the above will be well received by the audience, the book they want or the courses you are creating?
They may or may not accept the courses but they would definitely love your book.
You are creating a course, simply because of your FOMO. Don’t do that. Create something only if it is right for your audience.
Always Complete the Projects
People struggling with FOMO often fail in seeing things through because they frequently change their direction or switch the projects.
Many entrepreneurs and marketers have problems with this and as a result, they cannot commit to completing a project before moving on to others.
It often happens when you are creating your own strategies and work and you consistently jump off and on the bandwagon.
It is imperative for every marketer to see through a project before taking a new one. It is not at all helpful to hop from idea to idea just because you do not want to miss anything.
It means you are not paying full attention to one thing. It is much harder to get results with this approach.
The only outcome is the confused customers, which you do not want to happen in any case.
New bloggers are a typical example of the business FOMO.
Some of them move on to something new if things do not work out in the first few weeks.
You can decide whether or not blogging is perfect for you and there is nothing wrong with that.
However, remember that it takes time, effort and patience to succeed as a blogger.
Overcoming business or marketing FOMO is a hard nut to crack for almost all the entrepreneurs and marketers.
There are so many technologies you have to master and so many ways of doing things that it becomes quite confusing to decide which one is better for you.
You will just waste your time if you spend it on checking what other marketers are doing.
The best line of action is shutting down everything social and committing wholeheartedly to your business.
THE SHINING OBJECT SYNDROME
The Fear of Missing Out is very similar to another very common “malady” everyone, including businessmen, suffers from.
Commonly referred to as Shiny Object Syndrome, You may be trying to pursue a dream, goal, or an idea which may not be as fruitful in the future as it is supposed to be.
These are the things which intrigue you in the beginning, but you lose interest in them with the passage of time.
In the end, you just cannot focus on your main goal or business because you keep looking for “better and brighter” things.
Since FOMO and Shining Object Syndrome (SOS) are very similar to each other, it is quite fitting to discuss both of them in the same article.
We have already talked about FOMO in the above lines.
The following lines will explain SOS in great detail as well.
WHAT EXACTLY IS SHINING OBJECT SYNDROME?
In its essence, the Shining Object Syndrome is the disease which distracts you from your original goal. If you have it, you no longer pay attention to your real life and business purpose.
Any illness no matter it is physical or mental can set you back, albeit temporarily while you recover.
However, no disease has as dire consequences as the Shining Object Syndrome.
In the case of SOS, you simply do not remain absent from your office for a day or two. It has a lasting and extremely powerful impact on your business in general.
Entrepreneurs are more likely to suffer from this particular disease because they have unique qualities which distinguish them from others.
Entrepreneurs, especially in the marketing business, have to take on many responsibilities and challenges at the same time.
Moreover, they tend to be highly motivated. They long for new development and technologies.
They do not hesitate to create new things and launch new projects whenever they have a chance.
You would argue that these are great characteristics and necessary to be successful as an entrepreneur. But, everything goes to dogs when shining object syndrome sets in.
SOS compels you to chase project after project without giving them a second thought and analyzing their implications for your business.
You never settle down with one option and ultimately become a rolling stone.
So, why is this malady called Shining Object Syndrome?
It is, in fact, very similar to children’s tendency to go after shiny objects without even thinking about it. Once they do get the object, they lose interest in it and start going after the next object which catches their attention.
For entrepreneurs, shining objects are not the literal shiny objects, but they are their changing goals, new business ventures, clients and strategies, etc.
SOME DISADVANTAGES OF SOS
It is always nice to keep abreast with the latest developments in your industry and keeping your business updated. They are not inherently bad goals, to say the least.
Things actually get real bad when you start updating your goals and strategies thrice a week. It only leads to SOS fully occupying your mind.
When Shining Object Syndrome starts plaguing your life and business, you need to take immediate remedial actions for your business to survive and thrive.
But, it becomes difficult to find a cure for your SOS in extreme cases.
In fact, you can experience any or all of the following drawbacks when it becomes rampant.
Inability to Finish the Projects
You will find it very difficult to finish a project if SOS gets out of control.
Sometimes, you do not get any meaningful results from your current endeavor at all before taking on another project.
For example, if you invest some time and money in a marketing strategy for a couple of months, you will never attain all of your objectives if you switch to a different strategy altogether just after a week.
Poor Planning and Execution of Your Ideas
The people with SOS have many personality flaws.
One such flaw is that they put too much emphasizes one the novelty of introducing a specific change or pursuing a given strategy instead of the change or the strategy itself.
They may have a great idea to develop an application which can be quite useful for the masses.
They would even start developing the app but without any plan to follow through the idea or a strategy to complete the project.
This approach leads to unrealized potential and unfinished projects or products.
Utter Waste of Money
There are literally thousands of applications and tools in the world for businessmen.
They are fun to use, extremely effective and very beneficial as well.
The problem occurs when you needlessly start using all these apps or consistently move from one platform to another.
You end up wasting a lot of money because all these apps become cost ineffective in the long run.
Taking Too Many Courses at the Same Time
Just like using plenty of business apps at the same time, people with SOS often tend to take all the marketing coaching classes and courses simultaneously.
Once again, it only leads to the wastage of a considerable amount of money.
In addition, you have to absorb and process too much information at the same time that it becomes impossible to learn anything in the end.
Creating Confusion for Your Staff
Your spasmodic momentum and short lived decisions create problems for everyone, including your staff and subordinates.
Your employees will not be able to keep up if you introduce too many changes and alter the direction of your business on a regular basis.
When their goals change all of a sudden without any warning, they will be confused, frustrated and even annoyed. This can result in decreasing productivity and increasing disloyalty.
HOW TO OVERCOME SHINING OBJECT SYNDROME?
There are many things you can do to beat the shining object syndrome and keep it away for the rest of your life.
The four most important steps to avoid it are as under.
1. Think Long and Hard About Your New Ideas
It is definitely not a good approach to practically start working on your ideas without any prior planning.
Therefore, before asking your team to start working on the project, which is apparently going to change the fate of your company, you must think long and hard about it. Is it feasible and implementable?
Is it going to produce the desired results? Is it going to make your dreams come true?
Do as much research as possible and ascertain whether or not you should spend your company’s precious resources on these projects.
You should not act upon every idea that flashes in your mind.
Finally, you can prevent a hasty decision and its consequences by giving yourself enough time before implementing an idea.
2. Take Your Team Into Confidence
Consulting with your team members every time you have a new idea is the best approach to adopt.
Give value and respect to their perspectives, needs, and concerns and try to find out what they want. Your team members can be your best mentors as well.
They can advise you if you are going too fast or you should implement your decision at the earliest. Most of all, they will be happier that you approach them to discuss the ideas with them.
3. Set Both Short Term and Long Term Goals
Every project you start should have both long term and short term goals.
It will help you slow down before you even think of starting a new project before completing the current one.
The deadline to complete the project should be one of its long term goals.
On the other hand, the short term goals can include how you are going to complete the project and how you can keep the team motivated and engaged during that time period.
4. Abandon Projects Only When Absolutely Necessary
A good entrepreneur will never abandon his project once all the long term goals are in place and neither should you.
There could be only one exception. You can leave the project in the middle, if it is costing you more than the original budget and time.
Another reason for abandoning the project could be the changing landscape, which has seriously undermined the effectiveness and usefulness of the project.
Fortunately or unfortunately, both Shining Object Syndrome and Fear of Missing Out are not diagnosable diseases.
They are mostly about your behavior, how do you take your business and strategies you devise to run it.
It is necessary to realize that you have tendencies for FOMO and SOS. Subsequently, you must also strive to correct them.
Eventually, you manage to forge a reliable, stable and consistent path and strategy for your business.