While marketing at its core is the act of promoting or selling a service, product or system, user experience can be defined as the overall experience of those who consume or interact with said services, products or system. So why is UX often overlooked in the marketing process?
Afterall, the success of a marketing campaign can be found in the impact it has on the users it is trying to reach, so shouldn’t a fundamental part of the marketing process be focused on these impacts? In understanding how users respond and react to marketing efforts, we can understand what is working, what isn’t working, and be more thoughtful in our decision making processes to ensure more successful outcomes.
A good way for us to understand the overlap between user experience and digital marketing is to understand questions that might be asked during both processes. For example, UX researchers might approach things by asking questions like “How will the user/consumer interact with this?” and “How will this make the user feel?” whereas a digital marketing professional might ask questions like “How can we utilize social media to promote our product/business?” and “How do we increase traffic to our online advertising?” In all of these instances, we are asking what are the ways in which we can appeal to our users/consumers most effectively.
By emphasizing user experience principles, such as hierarchy, usability, and user testing, we will be able to know more about the consumers wants and needs – what are they looking for? What are they looking at the longest? What are they liking/disliking? A deep understanding of the audience that a company is trying to appeal to is necessary in order to do so in the most effective way possible. This understanding can lead to not only a better view of what needs done to win over a consumer, but can also give a better understanding of the algorithms professionals might be working with in their digital marketing efforts.
By understanding some of the fundamentals of user experience, as well as those of digital marketing, we can find some ways in which the two overlap, as well as find positive ways to utilize user research in our marketing processes. So, what are some of these methods within user experience, as well as within digital marketing?
Here are a few of each:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Quantitative research (statistics)
- Qualitative research (observation)
- User testing
Looking at these topics in particular (although there are many other methods that could be considered fundamental to either process) let’s make some brief observations of some ways in which we could utilize UX practices in our digital marketing.
Let’s start with SEO and SEM, which are inherently focused on using organic and paid methods to appear in search results. When we incorporate quantitative and qualitative research into these methods, we are easily able to understand what our users are searching for and what ads they are clicking on, as well as what kind of content they would like to stumble upon and be more likely to interact with. Similarly, when we take content marketing and social media marketing which are typically focused on driving traffic, increasing leads and sustaining users, we will learn that by incorporating the UX principles of prototyping and research testing it is likely we will create more user driven content, as well as guarantee that what we are trying to achieve will happen through our work/products.
The end goals of user experience and digital marketing are different sides of the same coin. While user experience solely focuses on the customer’s interactions and overall experience of a product/service, marketing focuses on the best ways to promote said products and services. Basically – it’s all about the consumer and what it takes to get through to them. In order to have a specific impact on a user or consumer, we need to know enough about them so we can successfully appeal to their wants and needs – that’s where UX comes in. By utilizing these two practices together rather than viewing them as separate, we begin to understand the great importance of user experience in all of our digital marketing efforts. We work UX/UI design principles into every website we create.
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