Are your marketing messages based on FOMO?

We’ve all seen how, as an example, some brewers have stopped making craft beer and are producing hand sanitizer instead. This is, of course, very admirable, even if it does make the craft beer fan in me a little sad! However, as you look to pivot what you do, there is a danger that your Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) takes over, and that you try to become all things to all people.

What are FOMO based sales marketing messages?

Put simply, they are customer focused messages that try to appeal to everyone and anyone. Through worrying about how a message might not be speaking to one potential audience, and then another, rather like this sentence, the message begins to expand and lose focus. Effective marketing messages work when they are clear and simple. Even if you have multiple products and services that your small business offers, you need to simplify this down. If someone lands on your website and within the first minute can’t fathom what it is you do, they will leave and find their answer elsewhere. This means you have lost a potential customer. 

How do you know if you are employing FOMO in your messaging?

The Sales FOMO Problem

Firstly, in sales, is your value proposition continually expanding to try and include a bigger and bigger target audience? If in a conversation or a sales meeting the other person asks you if you can provide something you don’t currently provide, and have little expertise in, and you say that you can or potentially can, then you have FOMO. 

In the moment I’ve no doubt that you believe that you can adapt what you do and that you can provide this. However, somewhere on the drive home or the walk to the kitchen, post video call, you will probably realise that you’ll struggle. Now is the time to go back and recommend someone to them who can provide what they are looking for. Instead, if you really have FOMO, you’ll continue to try and either create a new one-off offering from your company, or you’ll try and convince them that what you have meets their needs. Even if it doesn’t. 

Neither of these outcomes is likely to end well.  Creating something new takes time and is risky, particularly if no-one in your organisation has any real experience in this area. Even if the customer waits for you to develop it (not likely) then it could well end up being poorly delivered, and worse, unprofitable. If you never sell this new product or service again, that’s disastrous. Persuading them to have something different, that doesn’t meet their need, well, you don’t need me to tell you what’s wrong with that, I’m sure. 

Finally in the area of sales, if you can’t say no or define clearly what your business does, then it is unlikely you’ll get a second meeting or a call when your potential customer does need you. The reason is, they won’t really know or understand what it is your company does.

The Marketing FOMO Problem

Let’s think about your website or Facebook page. If you ever speak to a marketing agency, they’ll most likely ask you to outline the 3 or 4 ideal customers you want (they’ll probably suggest you give them names) and what your brand story is. This exercise isn’t purely for fun. In any effective marketing it is essential that you understand who your target audience is.

Understanding this then informs the messages you provide to your customers. It should also inform your brand story, assuming you want a client-centric or customer focused one. Why is this important? Once again, it ensures your messages are clear. After reading this article (please don’t leave early, after all we all have some FOMO!) look again at your website or main piece of marketing material. Can you clearly see how you help, and how you help them? Or has it ‘evolved’ as your business has expanded. You may not yet have the technology or funds to personalise your experience based on customer data, as Amazon does, but you can make what you offer clear and easy to understand.

In the world of the digitally empowered buyer, even if you sell face to face, or video face to video face, your buyer will have googled your company before they spoke to you. In fact, they will most likely have googled you as well. Clear, easy to understand messaging always wins out.

Focus beats FOMO

Even though your revenue may be dipping. The way to rectify this isn’t to chase every opportunity, however slim your chances are, but rather to focus on where your strengths are. Even if you have pivoted, you will need to quickly understand your clear value proposition for this new product or service. Then you can take it to your target audience with confidence. Hopefully, you can also save yourself a lot of time and pain by not chasing opportunities you have little chance with. Focus beats FOMO, every day. 

Ben Paul is the director and founder of The BD Ladder, a business development and marketing consultancy focused on provided B2B service providers with practical advice that delivers results. He can be contacted at