By Joe Dawson, Director of Creative.onl
In the world of commerce, the power balance between seller and consumer has dramatically shifted. It was comparatively simple to convince consumers to convert and purchase a product or service in times past. The seller had what the customer wanted. One sales pitch and agreeable price point later, a sale – and, frequently, ongoing customer loyalty – were assured.
The 21st century is a very different landscape. The rise of the internet ensures that consumers are spoilt for choice. If supplier A is not meeting a consumer’s needs, there are 25 more letters in the alphabet. Each of them is linked to a business, champing at the bit to bring your customer to their fold.
Reacting to the needs and desires of consumers is insufficient. You need to remain one step ahead, predicting and resolving needs and pain points before a customer expresses them. Modern consumers expect brands and suppliers to understand and empathise with them. To ensure that your marketing reflects such an approach, you’ll need a UX specialist.
What is a UX marketer?
For a long time, marketing and user experience were different disciplines – primarily because they had varying end goals.
The overriding aim of a UX designer has always been to make interaction with a brand smooth and enjoyable, especially online. The art and science of UX involve digging into the weeds of user behaviour, building a product or service that remains intuitive and meets all needs without fuss.
Marketing, on the other hand, has a different intention. Without being too crass, many marketing campaigns are engineered to convince consumers to spend money. These sales pushes have often been achieved by painting with broad strokes, following local and global trends to capture attention.
So, while marketing and UX have historically differed, they could also be considered two sides of a similar coin. UX and marketing both require an understanding of consumer psychology, using market research and persuasive techniques to generate leads and conversions.
As the world – and consumer behaviour – changes, the “UX marketer” concept has risen. With user experience now so ingrained in marketing, many traditional marketers are retraining as UX designers. This blending of two skill sets creates a unique opportunity to understand a target audience, generating campaigns that are sure to appeal.
Why does UX marketing matter?
For the Millennial generation, who wield significant spending power in the current landscape, a positive experience will always trump physical possessions. Just take a look at the craze for “unboxing videos” to see this in action.
With this in mind, a journey of experience should always begin with marketing when courting this target market. It’s never too early to start winning the hearts and minds of potential customers.
By focussing on UX with your marketing, your business will demonstrate empathy with your target audience. Make your marketing aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate, and you will convey that you share the core values of your consumers. Such efforts will significantly enhance your chances of achieving a sale or conversion.
Of course, gaining a customer is only half the battle. You also need to retain existing business. We mentioned that consumers have countless choices, and myriad competitors will seek to seduce your customers with their UX techniques.
Despite such availability of options, however, brand preferences still exist. Some people will only drink Bollinger, while others insist that nothing but Möet will do. Creating a UX-centric marketing campaign will ensure that users relate to your business and actively prefer to remain with you then switch to a rival.
What will a UX marketer do for your business?
UX marketing can be a game-changer for your business. A skilled UX marketer will provide the following services.
- Deep-dive market research, building a consumer profile of your existing audience and potential new customers. A UX marketer will identify the concerns and priorities of consumers, building campaigns around, and demonstrating an understanding of, customer needs
- A marketing campaign that captures the imagination through visual splendour then matches this positive first impression with quality, helpful content. Once you have piqued the curiosity of a potential customer, they must be gently encouraged to continue down the path of a sales funnel
- Tests to obtain user feedback on a marketing campaign, tweaking and adjusting the results accordingly. Even once a campaign is live, a UX marketer will review KPIs and performance and make any necessary improvements
- Encourage brand loyalty through usability and follow-up contact with a consumer. Keeping these lines of communication open leads to customer satisfaction, which is likelier to result in prolonged loyalty
Above all, a UX marketer will make the journey from stranger to the customer as smooth as possible for your business. A mastery of both these skills is essential in today’s market.
Finding the ideal UX marketer
If you’re looking for an external UX marketer, think carefully about who you are bringing into your business. The ideal UX marketer will need to meet the following criteria.
- An innate understanding of your target audience
- Proven track record of achieving results through marketing
- Ability to communicate your brand values clearly and concisely
- Personal chemistry with your team – you should consider this dynamic an ongoing partnership
Investigate marketing agencies with experience in your sector and discuss their UX strategy – asking for examples. The importance of user experience has gained traction and understanding for quite some time, so most marketing agencies have been building this into their offering.
Measuring the KPIs of your UX marketing strategy
The needs of the customer should always come first with UX. After all, this is why we practice the discipline. Altruism only goes so far, though. You’ll need to see a return on investment once you bring in a UX marketer.
KPIs to keep an eye on following a UX marketing strategy include:
- Success of tasks and instructions. If consumers attempt to access a website and follow a CTA, only to be greeted by a 404 screen, your strategy is only half successful. It appears that the marketing has the desired effect, but UX is lacking
- User search behaviour. Consider how your users search your website, as this should give you an idea of how clear your UX navigation appears. Do users promptly click through the relevant pages or use a central search function? If the latter, your marketing may be promoting products or services that are not immediately accessible
- Conversions. Naturally, it’s your bottom line that requires the greatest attention. Are sales up, down or around the same? Are these conversions coming from new customers or returning regulars? Have previous consumers turned their back on you?
Experts agree that UX and marketing are disciplines that need to sit side-by-side in the modern world. If your business aims to enjoy prolonged success, you’ll need to embrace both – ideally in a single package. In today’s marketing world, emphasis has given way to empathy. Show your consumers that you understand and embrace this.
About the author:
Joe Dawson, Director of Creative.onl, Leicester, Leicestershire, UK
Joe has a passion for creating meaningful experiences. Through design, he creates authentic and innovative digital products.
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