Gartner Blog Network

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
5+ years at Gartner
30 years IT Industry

Hank Barnes provides research and advisory services on go-to-market strategies for technology providers. He focuses on issues related to positioning, storytelling, the technology customer life cycle, and customer experience. Read Full Bio

Content Versus Conversation

by Hank Barnes  |  July 10, 2018

I regularly hear clients tell me, “If we get a chance to have a conversation, we usually win.”  But they find it challenging to get to that point.  As I’ve explored this more and more, the contrast between their written content (Web sites, presentations, etc.) and their conversational communications is stark. Yes, it takes more […]

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The Context to Care and Compare

by Hank Barnes  |  July 3, 2018

I’ve been beating the drum for better messaging through positioning and storytelling for years.  It’s a repeated theme in this blog.    But many of the problems I have with messaging continue to appear over and over again.    Recently, in speaking with one client, they mentioned a new book on positioning, “Getting to Aha!: […]

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Evolving With Your Customers

by Hank Barnes  |  June 26, 2018

Recently, many of my posts have related to helping your customers buy and, by extension, selling the way your customers want to buy.   In response to one of those, Eric Holmen, the SVP of Worldwide Sales for Urban Airship, reached out to me.  He wanted to share some of the things that they have been […]

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Things I’d Like to See Go Away – Fake Personalization

by Hank Barnes  |  June 19, 2018

I’m sure we’ve all been on the receiving end of a message that starts like this: “Hi Hank, It’s great to talk to you again.   After reading your LinkedIn Profile, I realized that you might be in the market for Web design services” But the reality is the sender has never spoken to me and […]

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Metrics Provide Clues, Not Answers

by Hank Barnes  |  June 12, 2018

There are a few phrases that bug me.  One of those is “if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t matter.”  Being an intuitive thinker, I firmly believe there are lots of things that you can’t measure (or at least can’t measure easily) that matter greatly.  And, I imagine that many of you, like me can […]

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Things I’d Like to See Go Away – Trust Destroying Claims

by Hank Barnes  |  June 5, 2018

Trust is essential for effective relationships and our research has long shown that trust is a critical factor in technology purchase decisions.  And yet, every day I see examples of Web site messaging, e-mail marketing, and business discussions where claims that are made (typically in the hopes of building credibility) that erode trust.  Often, these […]

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Customer Understanding is Essential for Every Role

by Hank Barnes  |  May 29, 2018

What do Lean Startup and Design Thinking have in common?   To me, both of these approaches are deeply focused on customer understanding, but they hide that fact at the surface level with their names.  This makes them more appealing to folks that aren’t in roles that traditionally have lots of customer interaction. When you say […]

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Things I’d Like to See Go Away – Unrealistic ROI and TCO Calculators

by Hank Barnes  |  May 22, 2018

Let’s face it, customers care about Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Return on Investment (ROI).   These figures are a key part of most business cases that are developed to make a purchase. And, the calculations are complex.  Actually, that is wrong.  The calculations are not complex, but understanding what to include in the calculations […]

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Playing Outside Your Box

by Hank Barnes  |  May 15, 2018

Job role definitions are an interesting thing.  On the one hand, it is important and valuable to have clarity over what is expected of you.  On the other hand, they can feel very constraining if you view your responsibilities as solely being defined by what is in that role description. I spent much of my […]

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Things I’d Like to See Go Away – The “We Don’t Trust You” Customer Return Approach

by Hank Barnes  |  May 8, 2018

Another in my ongoing list of things I’d like to see go away.  This one is not about marketing or sales, it’s about customer service and customer experience. Let me start with a personal story.   I’ve started drinking tea instead of soda.  It’s time to do a little more to get healthy and behave like […]

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