B2B tech marketing full of transformational claims

Is your B2B software product or technology really and truly transformational? Do you make good use “transformation” or “digital transformation” in your marketing copy? Do you think use of either of them helps your marketing effectiveness?

Congratulations to those of you who answered “NO!” to all three questions. You won’t sound like everyone else, and your marketing will be more effective. The use of “transform,” “transformation” and “digital transformation” in B2B software and technology marketing has reached epidemic portions.

Transformational claims are everywhere

In just one day recently, I found 16 transformational references in my news feeds and on LinkedIn. It seems like everyone claims to be facilitating a “transformation.” In every B2B software market, it’s rare to find a company not claiming to make a transformation happen. Here is the evidence:

  • MicroStrategy’s analytics offerings will “Transform your business into an Intelligence Enterprise.”
  • Adobe acquired Marketo to “place customer experience and engagement at the heart of digital transformation.”
  • SAP Ariba helps customers “achieve digital transformation from source to pay.”
  • Microsoft 365 provides integrated workflows that “transform how you manage your business and enhance customer relationships.”
  • “Transform and simplify finance and accounting processes” is a claim on Blackline’s home page.
  • “Manage, automate, and optimize your processes with the Nintex Platform to quickly and intelligently transform your business.”
  • “Transform your distribution business” is one of the claims made on the ENAVATE website.
  • Zscaler will “secure your cloud transformation.”
  • “Mediafly Transforms Sales Enablement Landscape with Acquisition of iPresent.”

That’s just a small sampling of transformational claims I’ve saved for this blog. I could have gone on for pages.

Transformational usage in B2B marketing is a classic example of a “tendency to follow the herd rather than create strongly differentiated brand messages.” That quote comes from an article written by McKinsey consultants in 2013 that is still relevant today: “How B2B companies talk past their customers.”

No benefit for using of transformation in your marketing

It’s hard to know if CEOs, CFOs and other corporate leaders are losing sleep over an inability to achieve some sort of transformation. But even if they are, companies claiming to facilitate a transformation are lost in a sea of sameness. Here are three reasons to avoid any kind of transformational claim:

  1. Buyers are confused because no one explains how they facilitate a transformation. The decision-making portion of the brain is seeking evidence to make a fast decision, according to NeuroMarketing. Instead companies that claim to facilitate a transformation spit out the same old productivity claims made over the years by everyone in their market.
  2. Buyers don’t remember transformational claims. Repetition is good, but only when one company makes the same claim over and over. With so many companies claiming to facilitate a transformation, target audiences aren’t able to relate the claim to a specific company.
  3. Buyers don’t believe transformational claims. We are all remarkably cynical. We reject any claim that doesn’t seem to ring true. We roll our eyes when we keep hearing something that seems a bit of a stretch especially when hearing it over and over and over.

The use of transformation in marketing has been around since Microsoft introduced Windows 3.0 in 1990. It was positioned as “transforming the way you use at PC.” Even though it was only a better way to use a PC, and not a transformation, at least it was a unique claim. No one was using it. Now everyone uses various forms of “transform.” Unless you want to blend in with the crowd, best to eliminate it from your marketing communications vocabulary.

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