August 2015. In This Issue:
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editor's CUT

Editor's Cut: FOMO: The Fear of Missing Out

Marketers are having a major FOMO moment. In a race to capture the attention, hearts, wallets and minds of our customers, we are taking the Long Island iced tea approach to happy hour—taking a little bit of absolutely everything we can get our hands on and throwing it in a bowl with the hope that the cherry and pink umbrella are so pleasant and distracting that nobody will see the murky mess that lies underneath.

Case in point: my recent trip to a department store that was having a well-known annual sale. While standing in line to make my purchase at this notoriously customer-centric retail mecca, I witnessed a nice salesman getting torn to shreds by a shopper who didn’t at all appreciate “being stalked all over Facebook and every website I go to.”

Her speech went on for five minutes. I timed it. She was excited when she got the announcement about the sale. She was overjoyed when the “styles recommended for her” looked so chic; it meant she was chic. She ordered the whole lot. Then, when her items arrived, she was confused. Nothing in the box actually looked like the outfit she saw online, so she went back to the site. And then the stalking began. Hourly reminders of an outfit she already owned and didn’t quite like. Not only was it the store’s fault that she was “duped into buying all of this stuff,” but she was also being reminded about the whole negative experience. She said she felt betrayed.

When I got to the register, I asked the poor guy if that was the first time he got chewed out for some ads that appeared online. His answer was simple and sad: “That wasn’t even the first time today.”

He went on to share that this encounter happens all the time. The worst, according to this three-year in-store veteran, is that when outfits appear online or in an email, the store doesn’t know that the promo went out, so customers come in saying, “I want that exact shoe that is on the site”—which is, of course, not in store yet, has already sold out or only comes in a color that was not pictured on the site.

So I asked the worst question possible: “How does that make you feel?”

“It just reminds me that corporate and those guys in marketing really just don’t get it, and they don’t care about what happens in these walls,” he said.

Our FOMO moment is leading to something far more sinister. Meet the evil byproduct of FOMO: ROLLO (reality of losing loyalty outright). In our quest to action on the data we have worked so hard to turn into intelligence, and armed with the seemingly unlimited enablement and cost-effective engagement that retargeting and the digital experience can bring, we have launched headfirst into mastering moments, with less concern for long-term loyalty.

So my challenge for this month is to grab hold of our strategies, have a moment of YOLO (you only live once, for those not armed with a team of millennials), and make an active decision to put long-term loyalty ahead of a short-term bump in campaign metrics. The beauty of that wonderful woman shopping ahead of me was that she was open to receiving all of the great content and aspirational direction she could get her hands on because she trusted the brand she loved. But in a moment, that trust was smashed and betrayal set in because while the campaign was a success, the experience was a failure for her.

And let’s not forget that frontline warrior—our internal customer in sales—who also is open to receiving all of the great, creative and aspirational content we can create. Even better, our frontliner wants to be part of that creation and communication process. But in our FOMO haze, we often lose sight of the impact of a negative experience by leaving him/her out of the campaign process and instead only focus on the bipolar engagement between marketers and customers via digital channels.

We have a responsibility to both customers. And loyalty (and longer-lasting revenue) is the reward. This is what I will be thinking of this month as we craft our campaigns around our reports, our CMO Summits and all of our opportunities to engage with you. Hopefully, if we all take this challenge together, the only FOMO moments we have won’t include the word “fear” and will instead represent the fabulousness of marketing opportunities.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the CMO Summit nearest you. See you then!