Bad Case of the FOMO

March 30th, 2019

The fear of missing out – FOMO – is so widespread that you might only be reading this brief article because you can’t stand not being in the know.

On one hand, good for you – knowledge is power. On the other, you probably have a long list of must-reads, so we’ll keep it simple.

FOMO has taken over so many aspects of our lives that it has practically paralyzed us. It leads to a paradox of choice. We have so many shows cued up in our watch list on Netflix – the ones our friends insist we must see – that we end up watching none of them because we can’t decide where to begin. The more choices you have, the more you feel frozen by indecision.

In a TED talk given by psychologist Barry Schwartz, he discusses a study done by investment group Vanguard that researched about a million employees at more than 2,000 companies. It discovered that, for every 10 additional mutual funds an employer offered, the rate of participation went down two percent.

“You offer 50 funds, 10 percent fewer employees participate than if you only offer five. Why? Because with 50 funds to choose from, it’s so damn hard to decide which fund to choose, that you’ll just put it off until tomorrow. And then tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow and, of course, tomorrow never comes,” Schwartz said.

Did people watch more TV when they only had three channels? Are there too many flavors of Pringles? Does having too many entertainment options – so many places to eat, so many places to go, so many things to see – result in staying home? But how can you? Not when that hand-held digital (de)vice is screaming at you. “You can’t miss this!” 

And here you are – business owner, marketing director, media manager – just trying to get people to buy your cookies. And they’re good cookies. Great ingredients, well made, delicious, and offered at a reasonable price. That’s the easy part. Now, if you can just get consumers to take a bite in this age of information overload.

You can.
And they will.
you keep it simple.

There are lots of self-help videos, blogs and books on how to “get more done.” Try going in the opposite direction. Go against the digital deluge and do more by doing less.

Be concise and to-the-point. Keep your message simple. No one has time to go to your website to watch the “rest of the story” that you couldn’t tell in your 30-second, $5.25 million Super Bowl commercial.

Also, don’t hide your product or your message. Be dependable and trustworthy by being up front about it. Loyalty will follow.

As for that Netflix queue. Empty it. Pick one series at a time to watch and commit to it. And while you’re at it, go with the original Pringles. Simple, right?

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