The Customer Promise (Forget FOMO. You Need to Fight FOMU.)

The Importance of the Customer Promise

As marketers, we’re constantly being asked to do more with less. Optimizing performance and minimizing waste are the name of the game for everyone, including teams designing and running paid ads. So if I said that there’s real value in running ads that directly target people who will almost never click on them, you’d probably say I was crazy.

I’ll say it anyway. There is a legitimate case for allocating 30% of your ad budget toward influencing key decision-makers who will never download your guide, watch your video, attend your webinar, or book a demo.

Confused? My team was too when I told them about this concept. It’s not for everybody. But the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. We’ve all heard of brand awareness campaigns, right? What I’m talking about is kind of like that. Let me explain.

Influence isn’t an Exact Science

The marketing community as a whole (myself included) spends a lot of time focused on numbers. We monitor site visits, time on page, conversion rates, and clicks almost obsessively. And we should. I’m not here to argue against the importance of metrics.

But business isn’t math. Influencing people isn’t an exact science (no matter how much we wish it was). The modern buyer journey doesn’t follow a straight line, and not every member of your target audience fits one of your buyer personas.

Word-of-mouth marketing plays a vital role in today’s sales process. In the B2B world, decisions aren’t typically made by an individual — they’re made by a team. And some of those team members are the people who are clicking on your ads and consuming your content. But you need to make damn sure the others know who you are when decision time rolls around.

Forget FOMO. You Need to Fight FOMU.

Forget FOMO. You Need to Fight FOMU.

Direct-to-consumer ad campaigns are all about emotion. They play on the audience’s FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). But while B2B buyers are still human, they’re not basing purchase decisions or product recommendations on a fear of being left behind — they’re working on the Fear Of Messing Up (or FOMU).

FOMU can take one of two forms: errors of omission or errors of commission.

Errors of Omission

Not doing something that, in hindsight, should have been done

Example: Choosing not to purchase a solution that is later discovered to be contributing to the success of a competitor

Errors of Commission

Taking an action that turns out to be a mistake

Example: Recommending a purchase that doesn’t pay off or hurts performance — an error that can cost the person behind the mistake their reputation or even their job

It’s FOMU that drives many B2B influencers and decision-makers to opt for the safest option. (We’ve all heard the phrase “no one ever got fired for buying IBM.”) Your B2B brand awareness campaigns can’t just appeal to the individual. They have to make a case that influences the entire group involved in the purchase.

The Secret to Overcoming FOMU

The Secret to Overcoming FOMU

You need to build collective confidence to gain the trust — and endorsement — of everyone involved in a purchase decision.

Customer Promise of Value (a recognition heuristic)
Validation by Social Proof (social proof heuristic)
Collective Confidence in Buying Decisions

But how do you gain the collective confidence of everyone involved in a purchase decision when at least half of them are struggling with FOMU and not ready to go out on a limb for your company?

1. Make sure all of them know who you are.

Branding yourself up and down the funnel can significantly affect how many deals you close. We’ve all run ad campaigns targeting either the C-suite or the hands-on workers who will actually use our offering. Departments like legal, procurement, and finance are seldom a consideration. Your clients’ attorneys and accountants aren’t reading ebooks about the solutions you offer, and your ad team isn’t trying to change that.

2. Make sure they’ve all heard what you’ll do for them.

Now imagine a discussion of your solution by various players at a potential client firm — but everyone in the room has a positive impression of your business, even if they’ve never visited your site or consumed your content. When everyone likes you, there’s no risk in endorsing your solution. The FOMU is gone.

Pro Tip: Influencing people who don’t consume your content

The Power of the Customer Promise

The Power of the Customer Promise

Have you heard of the 95-5 rule? 95% of your audience are passive buyers. While they may purchase from you eventually, they’re not going to buy today. The other 5% are active customers. They have the cash flow, they’re ready to act, and they’re looking for a specific solution. Your marketing and advertising efforts must speak to both of these groups at the same time. But how do you reach such a diverse audience?

It’s all about having a clear customer promise of value that appears consistently in all your content:

Did You Know? Brand Promise vs. Customer Promise

The customer promise I’m talking about is not the same as a brand promise. A brand promise lets customers know who you are and what they can expect from your company. It’s important, but too broad for most people to care enough to remember when decision time comes.

A customer promise isn’t about you — it’s focused entirely on the specific value or benefits your customers will receive.

Memory plays a critical role in decision-making. Create a clear promise of value that will stick in people’s minds. That’s what drives conversions. Think of every GEICO ad you’ve ever seen: the little gecko is cute and memorable, and the promise is clear — 15 minutes could save you 15% or more.

Remember the scenario where we removed FOMU roadblocks by ensuring every department and player in the buying process had a favourable impression of your business? That’s what the right customer promise can achieve. Even if your target buying core is the smallest, most niche audience, you need to act big to make yourself memorable. Share of voice = share of market.

Let TPM Help Keep You Top of Mind

Not every business can afford to allocate ad dollars to brand awareness ads that never get clicked. And we’re not advocating for this approach in all cases. But it’s important to remember that people outside your target personas will influence the decision to buy from you or not. There is value in making sure everyone in the room knows your customer promise.

TPM is here to help keep your business top of mind. We are always evaluating new marketing strategies and tools to ensure our clients benefit from the latest and greatest. Let us help you develop a compelling customer promise and communicate it with everyone in your audience who matters. Contact us today to discuss your needs.

Right now, how comfortable are you with the idea of using AI-generated content (with minimal or no human intervention) to promote your business?

How comfortable are you with the idea of using AI-generated content