FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) is one of the oldest disinformation strategies used in advertising and marketing – to sell.
Put in a layman’s explanation:
- Scare your audience by reaching into their fears and worries, then sell them something.
- Create doubt – so they buy your product instead of going to a competitor.
You see it everywhere today. More so with the current ongoing pandemic and RMO (Restricted Movement Order).
Here are some examples of FUD tactics:
Buying an Apple Macbook will easily last you 5-8 years. (Implication: Windows computers often break down)
Buy our food emergency kits. You’ll never know when the supermarket near you will be out of food!
Everyone is making Dalgona coffee. You gotta try it too! (Implication: You don’t want to be left out, do you? a.k.a FOMO)
P.S. By the way, it could be beneficial for Nescafe’s marketing team to jump on the buzz, and create their tutorial videos of their own versions of Dalgona coffee to satisfy the current craze – effectively leveraging on buzz and FUD marketing.
Who started the FUD tactic?
The term, FUD – originates all the way back to the 1920s and is initially used by tech companies, specifically – IBM salespeople, who used to instill fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the minds of their potential customers, who are considering other vendors.
The idea is to tell customers to choose safe IBM hardware over their competitors.
Today, many companies and marketers use FUD tactics – consciously and unconsciously.
FUD marketing tactics are meant to scare customers into buying a product or service, relying on their lack of information to make a sound decision.
Because, no surprises here – people buy things based on emotions, then usually justify the purchase with logic.
Is FUD marketing selfish?
That depends on what you are selling and whether your customer needs it at that time.
What change does it bring the customer? A good change or bad change?
If I told you all the people you admire smokes a pack of cigarettes every day and then sold you a pack of cigarettes, I might be using FUD marketing the negative way.
But if I told you smoking kills more than 8 million people each year (yeah that many) and sold you a membership in the Quit Smoking Club, then I might be using FUD marketing for a positive reason.
Questions for you.
Are you using FUD tactics in your marketing today? And are you using it for a good reason?
Check out DigitalKit.org – an initiative I started with my team to help businesses shift their sales channel online. We run free training sessions each week and I think you’ll find lots of value from it.