I have been holding on to this rant since Friday (unfortunately) – so here it is for your Monday morning coffee or commute enjoyment…
Scenario: Surfing my Twitter feed and I stumble over a new piece of research (from a well-known group) which is being distributed and promoted by a well-known, bulge-bracket tech firm. The headline “hook” language is compelling. It reads something like: “The essential ingredients for digital transformation” yada, yada. So, I bite – recognizing the players and interested in what they have to say. I crack open the attached report and what I find there is maybe half a whiff less than pure and total bullshit. 10 pages, 1 word-filled diagram, entirely sanitized of anything close to resembling a number.
Clearly, this scenario is the brainchild of an incumbent tech vendor’s marketing team. I have witnessed – and participated in (and been complicit in even!) – dozens and dozens of these projects whose template was gleefully lifted out of the seemingly ubiquitous and cobweb-encrusted playbook entitled “Best Ways to Prove You Are Still Analog…”
Does this completely tired and lifeless strategy still work?! Do prospective clients – you know, the ones who still use rotary phones – rush to you to learn more after consuming this delicacy?! I mean, if your goal is to maintain and grow mindshare by keeping your brand ranking high up in the hottest and most critical debates – like how to transition to cost-saving, performance-boosting managed services or enterprise IaaS offerings – skip the step where you abuse your clients and prospective clients by hooking their attention with the equivalent of a game of Three-Card Monte.
This play is so lazy, and completely barren of creativity. (Nothing speaks “digitaltransformation” like a creatively lazy marketing campaign.) Plus, there are so many other more contemporary strategies that satisfy mindshare needs of the vendor and provide something of value to the (prospective) client / interested observer at the same time.
Of course, there was a time when deep domain content provided some value, if only on the basis of scarcity. Today, it’s very competitive, content is everywhere, and the signal to noise ratio has never been lower; a phenomenon that will only get worse as more and more experienced executives find themselves on the outside and turning to some form of blogging – er – “research” to cobble together a living.
Whether as a buyer or seller, don’t be a research “tool”! Work harder – more creatively – to provide something of value to the ecosystem. Provide a model, or a framework, or some real numbers and charts – and not the classic blah blah that is totally void of navigational value.
We are in a new era; one that requires new tools by default. In particular, market participants need new tools to help them more efficiently navigate their own transformations – whether they be of the sexy digital type or merely pedestrian change type – which are now an existential necessity. At the very minimum, try to be entertaining…