How to Wield FOMO as a Powerful Marketing Tool

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Have you heard of FOMO? It’s a product of social media, wherein people don’t want to miss out on an experience or opportunity, partially because then they would have to see all their friends’ pictures on social media about it after.

Created by a need to always be there and peddled by social networks like Facebook, FOMO is well integrated into our culture, which is what makes it such a powerful tool for marketers.


FOMO’s roots start earlier than 2014, when Patrick McGinnis and his fellow MBA candidates at Harvard were shaken, first by the dot-com boom/bust and then again, as terrorists flew planes into both the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

As McGinnis relays, these young professionals faced their own mortality that summer, leading them to want to latch onto each and every experience. According to McGinnis, this led to the creation of the term “Fear of a Better Option” or FOBO. Without cell phones or social media, they had to coordinate their social schedules to perfection.

This eventually turned into simply a fear of missing anything at all. Aka that any moment you place yourself in is putting yourself at risk of missing… something.


Now imagine that same set of fears, but on steroids. Presently, everyone feels that their beliefs or way of life is under attack. That is practically universal, across the board. Couple that with a more violent environment and more volatile foreign relationships.

Now add in social media, where a series of high-quality cameras are recording every single happening.

It’s understandable why FOMO flashed into popularity, as cell phone cameras got better Facebook-run Instagram fueled the charge. And with 100 different ways to find plans for a Friday night, 2019 is jam-packed with tons to do, perpetually.

While I work from 8-4 pm on any given day, there are yoga classes, hiking trips, and ice skating outings that I miss out on. And we all have that friend that marks themselves as “interested” on every single nearby event.

The FOMO is real in 2019 and it’s also a powerful tool that marketers can wield. B2B marketers can even harness the power of FOMO to drive business.



I would argue that Facebook Events are the all-powerful driver of FOMO.

And this is the to the advantage of marketers, who can use them to both inform potential leads about an upcoming webinar or trade show, while also getting them to act on that interest.

Hitting the interested button is a low friction way to get a lead to start making commitments to your brand. And it allows them to add an event to their calendar so that when they appraise that week’s events, they can decide they are going or not.

Facebook events are also great things to promote in paid social advertising, as they give you another metric to track.

Depending on your audience, you might find varying effectiveness with Facebook events. Older generations may not mark themselves interested in every event that they are interested in. But even just seeing the event will create the atmosphere of FOMO.

As more and more millennials stream into the world’s offices, you will see this trend taking off even more in the coming years. I don’t think many digital businesses have caught on to using Facebook events, but they should.

For in-person events, this is highly effective. Create an event if you run a trade show or conference and then run targeted ads towards your demographic. You could even create events for your booth at someone else’s events.

If you make no in-person appearances (which is likely hurting your brand), then consider having high-quality content drop at particular times. Then create events for those content drops.


An interesting way to create a call-to-action in an email is to offer the person in question an option to engage with your brand and ensure that they don’t forget about it.

If you are hosting a webinar, create a calendar invitation for the event along with the sign-up.

This is a great way to reach the rest of your audience who may not be on Facebook. Email is also the primary tool for the professional world.


For even better results, create urgency throughout the promotion.

For digital events, offer bonus content if you sign up early or immediately. For in-person events, offer discounts on tickets or another form of value.

Make people feel as if they must commit, or you will struggle to get them to commit at all. That’s the nature of this FOMO-drive world. If you aren’t creating content about an experience you had, did it even happen?

As time passes, the frantic FOMO will only increase. Just as social media makes us aware of every event affecting the globe and the human race, the same goes for our own personal schedules. And in a world where everything is vying for your time, you will need to battle for the time of your leads.

Use these tips to get started using FOMO to get leads to start taking actions to commit to your brand. Because of confirmation bias, each action they take towards your brand increases the chance they will purchase from your brand. Using FOMO as a marketing tool is just one way to get them to do so.

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HIPB2B is a demand gen solution provider, utilizing content, email, and marketing automation to drive outcomes for marketing and technology clients

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