In tech, there is a constant stream of trends, big ideas and buzzwords that drive interest and, in some cases, waves of growth. It is easy to tell when it is happening—when  many vendors adopt it. We now see “marketing clouds” and “sales clouds” everywhere. A few years back everything was Big Data.

On the one hand, it makes sense to get linked to a big trend. On the other, when virtually everyone is doing it, it is easy to get lost in the noise.

And then there is the third category. That is when vendors attach to the trend, but it takes lots of contortions and extrapolations to figure out the connection.

Lately, I’ve seen a number of vendors calling themselves the key to digital transformation or customer experience. But when you look closely at them, it doesn’t make much sense—particularly when it is paraded out there as fact without providing any context.

This overstepping of value confuses customers and the market and frustrates everyone. It actually does more harm than good.

If you do chose to associate with a trend, create an authentic story that makes the connection clear–explain the role you play in the trend and how it fits with other pieces. Get specific about the customers you serve and how you change their work.

Big terms have big impact and touch many many areas of the business. Generalised associations become meaningless.

Make the connection or don’t bother.

This post is reprinted from the Gartner Blog Network with permission. 

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