April 4, 2012
Q&A, Victoria Clark, co-founder of timeRAZOR
While researching our recent report on FOMO, we caught up with Victoria Clark, co-founder of the new app timeRAZOR, which promises to help users “never miss out.” Launch partners include Chrysler SRT, L’Oreal Active Cosmetics Division and Marriott Renaissance Hotels. Clark previously focused on digital marketing for business-to-consumer brands. If you don’t want to miss out follow her on Twitter @NotVicki. Here, she discusses the inspiration behind timeRAZOR and how brands can tap into today’s heightened FOMO.
How did timeRAZOR come about?
We wanted to build a product that addressed the struggle that everyone has of finding a balance between what they have to do versus what they need to do. How do you ensure you get done what you’ve set out to do but still have time for what you want to do?
We believe we address that with a very geo-relevant and predictive element of timeRAZOR that’s different from what’s out in the marketplace. It helps you discover what you want to do while you juggle what you need to do; it’s really a “never miss out” platform. So it’s something a lot bigger than what you typically think of when you say an app.
Which demographic do you think timeRAZOR will appeal to the most?
We’re focused on working professionals in all industries, but then we see this spreading out to everyone. You could easily see parents using this, heads of households, everyone, because FOMO doesn’t live in any one segment, right? You can have work FOMO, and you can have social FOMO with your friends, or you can have it in terms of entertainment. So FOMO lives everywhere. It’s extremely contagious.
How would you describe FOMO?
FOMO really comes back to that fear of finding out about something after it’s happened, and then it starts to breed. It creates this vicious cycle, right? So if you hear somebody at work, for example, talking about a cool TV show that was on last night and that’s the first time you’ve heard about it, you feel like you’ve missed something.
Why do you think FOMO has gotten more attention lately?
This growing buzz in the media and everywhere else is because of the real-time element that mobile technology brings to the space, where you can instantly find out that you’re missing out on something in real time. That’s something a little bit different, and it fuels people, because now you have a different flavor of FOMO.
Where before it was a kind of regret—“I wish I had seen that TV show” or “I wish I could have done that cool thing with you”—now you’re getting envious FOMO where people are thinking, “Gosh, I hate so and so, they’re sitting on the beach. I wish I was doing that right now too.” And so you’re breeding this jealousy thanks to technology that feeds into the aggravation level that FOMO causes.
So how does the FOMO of today differ from the FOMO that’s always existed?
Thanks to technology and the real-time connection, it almost allows itself to exponentially compound. You’re getting all of these activities thrown at you in your social feeds, where in real time you’re seeing, 50 people are watching this on television, 16 people are doing this thing, and 50 are doing this one—so which one should you be doing? It’s serious option overload.
It’s very similar to South By Southwest, which is really FOMO in a petri dish, because it’s serious option overload. You go in there knowing you’re going to miss out on something, so you’re trying to prioritize—what is going to be the thing you’re OK with missing out on? You’re constantly negotiating that.
How do you think people try to alleviate or address their FOMO?
You see two things. It’s like a pendulum. One extreme is where people totally unplug, they try to quit cold turkey. And then you see the other side where they’re trying to be proactive—they would love some sort of predictive technology, but as a result, they’re just checking their email more, they’re checking their social feeds more. They’re just feeding the animal; they’re being more reactive when they think they’re trying to be proactive. And that contributes to that vicious cycle.
What kind of marketing and advertising opportunities does FOMO present?
You’re seeing a lot of experiential marketing going on. Brands want to be able to engage with people in real life and create something that’s memorable. Ideally people talk about it beforehand, they talk about it while they’re there, then people after the fact say, “I missed out on that Mountain Dew concert. That sucks.” Then if they find out Mountain Dew is doing something in the future, they’re excited to see it, because it’s only offered in that short window.
Brands are asking, “How can we do smart cross-platform activities that are time-sensitive so we can tap into that FOMO mentality, but then also give consumers something that leaves them with a great brand experience?” So you’re talking about it after the fact and almost creating FOMO, right? It’s a great marketing tactic on some level to create FOMO, heightening awareness for activities they’re doing after the fact.
I think that’s something marketers have always tried to do.
Well, the urgency to act, that’s a basic marketing tactic. But because digital is real time, marketers are embracing the cross-platform aspect and the ability to tap into the real-time part of marketing that comes with social feeds and everything else.
There’s this desire to try to tap into the predictive element where you can say, looking ahead, “Here’s something really cool that’s happening. You don’t want to miss this,” really tapping into FOMO. And then while it’s going on, be able to create real-time envy. And then after the fact create the regret and the FOMO feeling with other people that are now—thanks to YouTube and everything else—able to try to live the experience through extended advertising but will still have that sense of FOMO like, “Gosh, I wish I hadn’t missed this. It was really cool.”
Can you think of any examples of brands that have done a great job with this whole cycle you just laid out?
One was recently featured on your blog, Honda’s CRV ad during the Super Bowl. I think they were trying to tap on it from a messaging side; however they didn’t do the full experiential flow. There are some brands that have done it pretty well for years. When you look at Mountain Dew or Red Bull, they’ve always been big fans of the X Games, and it really is about the experience. They’re trying to engage with their users in real life and then take their marketing across platforms and make sure it spreads socially. They then work to engage after the fact and provide content so people know what they missed. That is a great example of FOMO marketing coming full cycle.