Every company wants to create a brand that interests people, converts them and turns users into brand evangelists. Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done. That’s where User Experience comes in.
According to Nielsen Norman Group, user experience is all aspects of the end-users’ interaction with the company — its services, products, communication, branding, offline interaction. When we think about it from a marketing perspective, people interact with our brand in various ways: through website, social media, events, emails and the actual product. It is thus important to make sure that everyone in a company (and not only marketing) develops a mindset of understanding users, their needs and works towards a seamless experience across all touchpoints.
How do we become more user-centered marketers? Let’s dig deeper into how marketing impacts UX.
“Brand is a subjective perception of value based on the sum of a person’s experiences with a product or company that ultimately influences that person’s sentiment and decisions in the marketplace.”
There is no doubt that UX plays a critical role in the way customers perceive companies. Whether you’re developing a website or application, UX directly impacts your target market’s thoughts about your product. In fact, it’s virtually impossible to separate these two.
A perfect example of how brand perception is Revolut — a digital-only bank from UK. Once you register to receive a credit card, you receive it in a very visually appealing packaging that goes beyond usual way of opening a bank account and getting a card. Simply have a look:
Want to know more? Here’s a great article about UX as a brand differentiator
Word of Mouth
If a customer has a positive interaction with your brand and feels like the experience was above and beyond expectations, he or she is more likely to endorse your brand in discussions with friends. The opposite side of this equation is true as well. Internet users frequently tell friends about the bad experiences they have with brands. Worse, they’re more likely to share a bad experience than a positive one.
Loyalty And Retention
Did you know that 40–60% of users who sign up for a trial of a software or application will use it once and never come back? If you surprise and delight your user they will keep coming back for those moments. Good usability and user experiences translate into customer retention. Apple is a prime example. However, if a company has a common lipstick-on-a-pig approach creating solutions that are not user-centered, it will end up costing a lot in the long-term. It’s just a matter of time.
Simply put, UX and Marketing need to co-exist
Think of some of your most favorite brands. Google’s success comes from a simple search box opening an entire digitized human knowledge online in less than a second. Amazon makes buying online so easy — the one-click order and various ways to purchase have reduced the friction immensely for the customer. Entering the Apple store feels more like walking into a hands-on museum than walking into a retail store.
Imagine what would have happened if any of these brands compromised on their user experiences — if you had to wait 30 seconds for google results to load, if you get your new IphoneX in a plastic bag or Amazon 1-day delivery would arrive in a week? It would frustrate you, right?
It’s so easy to think of those companies as giants now. But they all have started from zero and they have started with great user experiences across all the company departments in mind. Those experiences have defined and shaped branding and marketing as well.
How to become a user-centered marketer?
There is no magic bullet. But if you really think about all these aspects mentioned above, it’s all about creating a human-centered approach to marketing and as a marketer, you can start practicing is everyday, step by step… Here are some principles I try to follow myself:
Build clear marketing messages: articulate clearly, concisely and persuasively by evaluating the experience level of the audience you are writing to, avoiding complex jargon and industry abbreviations, maximize the potential for easy scanning
Put user needs ahead of marketing: stop thinking about conversions and leads, start thinking about people behind those conversions and the value they gain from your marketing campaigns.
Never assume, always test: there isn’t a perfect marketer out there and only by testing and iterating we can get better and better at what we do. Keep questioning things — subject lines, CTAs, wording, imagery, timing, channels.
Context, not the content is the king: 20 years ago Bill Gates said the now-famous phrase “content is the king”. However, we now live in a world where climbing Mount Everest is 279 times more likely than clicking on an ad online. Gaining context through understanding the goals and the whole user journey enables marketers to be driven by more than a campaign mentality.
All in all, UX shouldn’t be seen as a sole responsibility of UX department or a nice-to-have skill for a graphic designer. Everyone within the company is involved in contributing to the user experience. It should be a cross-functional process.
Over to You…
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