The word transformation appears in marketing literature from time to time. In some respects it is an exciting word. Surely transformation is what we’re all after?
But in other respects transformation is hardly an undiluted good. The word does not imply a change for the better but just change of any sort. I’m sure a prince transformed into a frog would not view transformation as good!
I’ve used the word several times in this blog and here are some of the meanings I have attributed to it. Transformation as:
- Conversatio Morum – St Benedict’s principle of the person’s responsibility to achieve their full potential.
- Roberto Unger‘s small initiatives that foreshadow wider social change
- Where your origin story recounts a major change in your life’s direction
- Change to the economic system, perhaps to a national localised economy model
It is interesting to note how little these four uses of the word have in common. I’ve used the word to mean both personal and societal change. However, I have used the word to mean positive change consistently.
Transformation in Marketing
I think this is consistent with the way marketing literature uses the word. It usually means (and this is another use) the change that will take place in the life of a customer should they accept your offer. You are saying in effect that by buying your offer, they will find some aspect of their life experience will change for the better.
It seems unlikely anyone would buy anything they did not believe would change their life for the better. But this is the point of the distinction marketers make between features and benefits. When you buy anything, it comes with a promise of positive change. If you can’t express that change or promise to deliver it, then you are unlikely to sell anything.
No-one in their right mind wants a website, for example. Many people think they do because they have not considered what they want it for. This is why successful website designers sell the benefits of having a website. Someone who believes they want a website will pay the smallest amount they can get away with. If they have no understanding of what it can do for them, they will not value it highly enough to pay a higher rate for a product that effectively supported their business.
Where the designer promises transformation, they increase the value of their offer. It means more work for the designer but what they can charge can exceed the value of their extra work.
If you can’t grasp the transformation and express it in language your market understands then you will find your work will never make the financial returns commensurate with its value.
Can you think of times transformation has worked for your business?