How do you escape FOMO — Fear Of Missing Out?
The other day, Anne signed herself up on my mailing list.
After leaving her email address, she was taken to a landing page where I asked her to share her biggest challenge in digital marketing and communications. Anne’s biggest challenge was to keep up with digital trends in the accelerating pace of today’s online landscape. Anne shares her frustration with hundreds of other readers who have answered that same question over the years.
We become FOMO-suffering neophiliacs.
With poise, Anne wrote:
“Do we have to become fucking experts on ‘Pokémon marketing’ now?”
I feel you, Anne.
Because it’s a perfectly reasonable reaction, I think. How can one keep up in today’s wired world?
You could pick a channel like Youtube and immerse yourself only to realise that you must choose a more precise focus. Now, you might try to get a handle on Let’s Play-walkthroughs specifically, only to learn that you have to dedicate yourself to a certain genre of gaming — or to specific game developers.
Into the rabbit hole we go. Every time you scratch a new shiny digital surface, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. And then — FOMO, again.
As a public relations professional who’s into digital communication for a living, I would suggest another way of looking at it. As I see it, you shouldn’t be pushing yourself to look for everything all at once.
The Pokestop Shop
The other day in Stockholm, I walked pass a local store for office supplies. As circumstance would have it, there was a Pokestop right outside their store front. A Pokestop is a virtual in-game feature of the popular mobile game Pokémon Go, a game that blends with real world locations.
In an attempt to grab this marketing opportunity, they got into Pokémon Go and added lures to the Pokestop — which they clearly advertised on a written sign in one of their window displays. For those of you who aren’t up to speed with all things Niantic; a lure is a virtual item and part of the game. By placing your lure at a Pokestop, you attract virtual creatures for other players to catch.
I got curious and found a café across the street where I was able to sit down and observe. In an hour, around 2-3 visible Pokémon Go players visited the Pokestop outside the store front, but none of the players seemed to even consider entering the office supply store.
Boldly, I assumed that Pokémon Go players in general aren’t in the market to stock up on printer ink. Reasonable, right?
It got me thinking.
The office supplier’s website wasn’t optimized for mobile. The website couldn’t tell me whether or not they had certain products in stock or not. Wouldn’t their marketing efforts had been better spent on jacking up their site?
For the sake of argument, let’s imagine that the website, their online basecamp, has 500 unique hits every day. What if the office supplier had aimed their “creative ambitions” at those 500 daily web visitors — instead of trying to grab less than 10 Pokémon Go players?
Applying your FOMO Filter
Don’t get me wrong:
A part of me celebrates the office supplier for taking a chance to try out something new. “Fortune favours the bold,” etcetera.
Still, there’s something to be said about risking resources when there’s plentiful of low-hanging fruit around.
What is a FOMO filter?
The question you should be filtering everything through is this one:
The FOMO filter: Before venturing out into experimentation with new and exciting online trends, have you actually exhausted all low-hanging and business-relevant PR- and marketing opportunities?
Marketing and communications are fiercely competitive areas, simply because we compete for one of the world’s most rare and valuable natural resources; people’s attention. The hippie web is dead and online mediocrity is destined to follow suit.
Business can’t afford to jump on each and every online bandwagon (Clubhouse, anyone?) that seems to be in vogue right now. In the case of office supply stores, they should probably be total PR- and marketing nerds about inbound marketing, Google AdWords, customer loyalty, market research, online conversion, search engine optimisation, and e-commerce.
So, Anne and everyone else struggling to keep up, you really don’t have to catch them all! If you know what your brand is about, you’ll know that you have lots of existing opportunities to master.
And if you’ve got all those bases covered, at least you’ll know where exactly to dig deeper to find business-relevant online trends to explore.
Update: Since someone actually asked.