The lack of competitive advantage in IT Services and FinTech is seen most vividly in the marketing focus of almost everyone in the sector: Digital Transformation. It’s been the Next Big Thing now for over three years, and it is still as hard to untangle as a marketing message as ever.

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It suggests that every company must become digital and cloud-based, or face certain death. What they will look like when they have finished transforming themselves is not clear, nor what it is they will need to do after they have finished transforming. It doesn’t matter: going digital is the solution to all problems.

As Betrand Duperrin wrote in his excellent article “Where’s the digital in the digital transformation?” – “a bad use of digital helps us to do as wrong as before but faster and at scale”. Businesses, he writes, must not transform to use technology, but use technology because of a successful transformation. The horse must be put before the cart.

So the key in making your sales message stand out is to be honest about what you can achieve for your clients. Digital transformation will not suddenly turn a badly-run business into a success. If companies want to evolve to better serve their more complex markets, then that is the process that should be the focus. The solution is not digital transformation, but business evolution.

Not only is this a message that involves the more differentiated consultancy side of most IT Services companies, rather than the selling-of-generic-hardware/software side, but it also is likely to be more engaging to the C-Suite decision makers in client companies. They may not understand about the nuts and bolts of cloud servers, but they do understand the need to keep control of the way their business develops.

Finding distinctive and compelling ways to talk about the advantages of the new digital landscape – and ones that are unique and believable for your IT Services business – are the keys to standing out from the herd.

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