The Importance of User Experience for Digital Marketing: 5 Key Tips

POSTED BY Greg Keating ON Apr 16, 2015 9:06:00 AM

User experience can greatly determine your success or failure and having a great user experience consists of more than making your website or app aesthetically pleasing.


The changing shape of the digital world as we know it is going to make an understanding of user experience even more imperative.

User experience is becoming an increasingly popular feature of the digital landscape. But as digital marketers, we don’t always have a clear view of what it is, and how it impacts our work.

In my work as a user experience designer, we often work closely with digital marketers. Although the budgets for both types of work often come under the broad heading of "marketing money," the responsibilities of each and the outcomes they deliver vary considerably.

In this article, I’ll brief digital marketers on some of the fundamentals of user experience, and how it impacts their work.

1. User Experience Is Not Just About Interfaces

The biggest misconception about user experience is that it is about creating beautiful interfaces. While this is part of user experience, it’s really only a small part of a much larger discipline with a broader mandate. The act of designing an interface – most often when it occurs on a screen – is called user interface design, or interaction design.

This is a subset of user experience, and only part of a much broader spectrum of skills associated with the discipline.

Distilled to its essence, user experience is fundamentally about the relationship between people and technology. More than that, it’s about identifying and designing that relationship. As the amount of technology and digital disruption in the world increases, so too, the nature of this relationship comes to the fore. With wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT) becoming ever more prevalent, this disruption will increase, while the perceptions of user experience as being tied only to screens will also be challenged.

2. User Experience Touches the Product Itself, Not Just the Promotion of It

There is a fundamental difference between digital marketing and user experience, and it really boils down to this: marketing is about making people want things. Design is about making things that people want.

User experience is driven by design. This means that it tends to live more naturally toward the product design end of the spectrum. User experience designers have the habit of asking "why?" about many product decisions. This can at times place them at odds with marketing teams, who are normally more closely focused on how to drive more sales of a given, fixed product. At the same time, user experience designers often work in close proximity with digital marketing teams, and are often responsible for some of the optimization that happens with campaigns.

Inevitably in the course of doing this, user experience designers will start to challenge some of the assumptions of the product, based on their proximity to the users of it. This can help digital marketers, as it can give them valuable intelligence around how to sell or position a product more effectively.

3. Experience Happens Anyway – You Only Get to Decide Whether You’ll Design for It

Experiences with the products we promote happen, regardless of whether or not we’ve included them in our marketing plan. Put simply, the most important marketing we will ever do usually happens outside the moments or channels we market to, and it’s called experience.

Much of digital marketing is focused on the channels we can reach customers through: print, digital, mobile. But the problem is that customers are really just people with a need – which our product addresses.

And this is the hitch: people don’t have channels – they tend to live between the gaps in channels. Only relatively recently have we begun to address this, with concepts such as cross-channel experiences, or even omni-channel experiences. But these concepts are broken. They buy into the business logic, and seek to explain customers in terms of the businesses own capability, rather than the customers' own needs.

This fundamentally cripples most marketing efforts from the outset, as much of the problem of conversion rates tend to live in these gaps. These gaps are where user experience design lives. Having a user experience designer as part of your digital marketing team will help to redress this imbalance.

Read more from the source: ClickZ

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