The Two Faces of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) Marketing

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FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) marketing is a valid way to market as long as it does not taunt, tease or anger your target market. Here are the two faces of the FOMO story.


When Tesla announced its new Model 3 and opened it up for reservations we saw a line out the door in Santa Barbara of people waiting to give them their $1000 deposits. Over 400,000 reservations came rolling in. The dynamic of FOMO Marketing was unleashed on the automotive scene as stories of this buying frenzy spread like wildfire throughout the media.


There was obviously a pent up demand for Tesla’s value proposition, offering ownership of an affordable model of this sustainable energy vehicle brand. Tesla brilliantly began as strictly a luxury brand with its $100K+ Roadster. By introducing an affordable model they effectively accomplished what Apple achieved as a brand, known for expensive computers, when it introduced the iPod. Everyone had to have one! No one wanted to be left out.


This morning, I (Alexandra here) called to cancel a credit card because we no longer wanted to pay the annual fee. The promise of value became negligible compared to a competing card that we subsequently acquired.


Although the customer service representative was very nice, he explained to me that they would be downgrading us from the present “gold” card to the “bronze” card.   He also had me listen and agree to all the benefits I would be missing out on by having the lowly “bronze” card. And, then he added that I still had until July 20th to change my mind.


When that bronze card arrives, we will put it in a safe place and not use it. That is the “dark” side of FOMO. The taunting and teasing turned me completely off. It had the opposite effect. It must work on some people or they would not use it.


The dark side of FOMO marketing in real estate is evidenced when agents use the words “Too Late” instead of simply using the word “Sold”. At the very least it annoys the potential buyers they are trying to attract.


The moral of the story: Do not rub it in! In doing so you will rub people the wrong way.

Both Photos: Courtesy of Tesla

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Comments (73)

Stephen Turner
House Broker Realty - York, PA

"Do not rub it in! In doing so you will rub people the wrong way."  - Perfect advice. Thanks for sharing.

Jun 07, 2017 09:19 AM
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

You are spot on in this post. The ideal of creating a must have pattern can work for some people. Although it does not work for me. In most cases the must have item is really not a must have at all. Step back and take a look at how you are feeling during the transaction process... is it being sold to you or are you being hog washed into feeling it is a must have right now. Listen to your gut feeling and walk away quickly walk away. 

Jun 07, 2017 10:55 AM
Dagny Eason
Dagny's Real Estate - Wilton, CT
Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo

Great post, you two!

Jun 07, 2017 07:16 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kat Palmiotti's comment made me think of those websites that say "Offer ends at midnight tonight, June 7" - and the next day it says "Offer ends at midnight tonight, June 8."

I'm also reminded of a well-known marketer who sends a special offer, then a few days later writes that so many people have written that they were out of town, etc. and missed it, that the offer has now been extended for X more days.

What a bunch of baloney!

Jun 07, 2017 07:41 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Congrats on another well deserved featured post. Love the pictures.

Jun 08, 2017 12:53 AM
eXp Realty (888) 397-7352 Ext:1148 - Philadelphia, PA
Find Out How to Get Your Home Sold in 14 Days

But wait....There's more!!!! Reminds me of late night infomercials....Great post...

Jun 08, 2017 03:19 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Interesting perspective, I think there is value to too late and maybe it can be worded differently to not upset future clients but definitely sales where there is pressure to act by a certain date push us away rather than draw us in.

Jun 08, 2017 03:34 AM
Raymond Edler
Keller Williams Realty Dallas Fort Worth 214-552-2091 - Prosper, TX
#1 Real Estate Office in DFW

Nice post.  Thanks for sharing, nice food for thought.

Jun 08, 2017 04:39 AM
Karen Rice
Keller Williams Real Estate - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

I disagree that a "Too Late" rider on a sign or banner on a printed ad is teasing or taunting - seems a little sensitive to me.   It would be different if the ad read "Oh you wanted one of these homes? WELL TOO BAD, YOU'RE TOO LATE! TOUGH NOOGIES!"  LOL

Jun 08, 2017 04:58 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

I've never been one to fall for that "get it now or miss out" marketing. Just rubs me the wrong way. I will admit, though, that back in the day I was in those ridiculous lines fighting for a Cabbage Patch doll, Power Ranger, and other highly sought after toys. LOL

Jun 08, 2017 06:21 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

FOMO can be a powerful persuader I guess but for me it is a real turn off. I don't use nor appreciate t being tried on me!

Jun 08, 2017 06:50 AM
John Dotson
Preferred Properties of Highlands, Inc. - Highlands, NC - Highlands, NC
The experience to get you to the other side!

With anything other than real estate, it is NEVER "to late."

Whatever it is, they will always make another one or get desperate and offer it again.

Jun 08, 2017 07:18 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Ron and Alexandra Seigel a great post that is generating varied comments. This is good.

I am with you, I do not like to be pressured or manipulated. Tesla, seems to have the approach that is generating volume for them.

I have passed yard signs with the "Too Late" rider attached. My first and immediate response was, Really? That does not make me feel good about the agent. 

But as we see, people do not all respond the same way to FOMO.

Jun 08, 2017 07:27 AM
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

Amen and totally agree. But in defence of the person on the other end of that phone call, they are just doing their job, misguilded as it may be. I try to remember that by being firm in my desision but staying nice. 

Jun 08, 2017 08:50 AM
Linda Schneider
Fast Newsletters - San Diego, CA
Fast Newsletters for Real Estate Agents

LOVE this post. From the title I thought it was going to be about how real estate agents grab hold of the latest trend in marketing because they're afraid of missing out! LOL! But your thoughts (rather than my mistaken assumption) remind me to stay positive in my own marketing efforts.

Jun 08, 2017 09:23 AM
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

I usually am not struck by FOMO - in fact I mostly want less things, not more. I've always thought waiting in line for hours or days for something was/is crazy. As for the "too late" signs - I've honestly never really thought one way or another about it. -Kasey

Jun 08, 2017 09:44 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

The salesman that says "I know just what you want" when you yourself have not weighed all the pros and cons or decided the direction to take. The better hurry, grab it now approach too makes me figure another will be along. Pressure is not the way to make decisions. You look back and regret those ones. The slow and easy route means you have no regrets and would have done the same thing as you look back.

Jun 08, 2017 03:18 PM
Nancy Middleton
Counselor Realty, Inc. - Excelsior, MN
Nancy Middleton, Counselor Realty, Minnetonka, MN

FOMO just turns me off, and I don't trust the person or his or her product and can easily walk or turn away.  Thanks for the post.

Jun 08, 2017 04:14 PM
shirley cicero
Continental West Realty - Livermore, CO
Northern Colorado Mountain Homes and Vacant Land

Great post! thanks

Jun 12, 2017 05:19 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Excellent post!  Coincidentally, one of my clients signed up for 2 of the new Teslas.  They've asked me if I want one.  Not sure how we can accomplish that other then them buy both and me buy one from them.  Either way, it worked for them and they are excited to have one of them now that they are close to retiring.  I'm hoping to buy one, but then again I also need an EV charger!

Jun 15, 2017 11:54 AM