UX Design and Marketing: Two Sides of the Same Coin?

UX designers and marketers are both after the same thing—learning to understand the needs and wants of their customers. In many instances, UX specialists even use some of the same tactics as marketers to enhance their websites or applications, as highlighted by DesignForUse CEO Nishant Jain in his article User Experience Design—The New Age Marketing Mantra.

Some of the overlapping strategies include:

  • User personas and profiles
  • Understanding of their behavior
  • User flows created around their learned behavior
  • A prototype based on the work flow
  • Prototype testing with a sample group

Jain goes on to explain that there is “no point in creating a brilliant UX which does not create an uptick for the business. And design without user-centric thinking will most likely also fail as user research is derived from marketing research.”

In other words, UX design and marketing should not be considered two separate elements working in sovereignty to bolster your business— rather, consider them two sides of the same coin that should work in tandem to optimize your marketing efforts. Considering how business leaders plan on using their marketing budgets in the coming year, that holds particularly true.

Selligent’s 2016 Marketing Trends Survey questioned 295 business leaders about their marketing strategies for this year. Of those surveyed, 91 percent intended to either increase or maintain their current marketing budget. The areas in which the greatest increase in spending was reported were all digital platforms: online display advertising (56 percent will increase spending), email marketing (59 percent), mobile marketing (51 percent), SEO (42 percent) and social media (56 percent). Because of the clear growing emphasis on digital platforms, marketers should be working even more closely with UX designers than they have been.

Here’s how integrating UX design strategies will benefit those five digital platforms where businesses are investing a majority of their marketing budgets this year:

Display advertising

UX design is critical when it comes to utilizing display advertising to monetize your website. You can’t simply put a video on your landing page and expect it to boost sales. In fact, putting a video on your landing page can slow the load time and turn off users before they’ve even gotten to your site. In addition, you’ve got to design your ads to flow naturally with a user’s navigation, syncing up contextually with the page the ad is placed on. Failure to find the proper placement and context can lead to banner blindness– the phenomenon in which a user becomes so mistrusting of your advertisements that they scan past them altogether.

Mobile marketing

If your business is going to emphasize mobile marketing, you have to make sure your website is optimized for mobile users. That means reducing unnecessary text, limiting the actions needed to complete a given function, and reducing design elements that might use lots of bandwidth to provide superior UX for users that aren’t connected to a WiFi network.

SEO/search engine marketing

If poor web design is failing to keep users on your page, clicking through links or sharing its contents on other platforms, your UX design is putting your organization at a serious disadvantage. Search engine results today are not all about keywords. Instead, there is a growing emphasis on how users respond to your page. A positive UX design will keep users on task and engaged, ultimately giving your business a chance to move up the search results. This will provide you the added benefits of brand visibility and consumer confidence.

Email marketing

In regard to email marketing, Nishant Jain explained: “Providing a person the right information when they want it is the secret of how we can use UX in email marketing. Close collaboration between UX designers and marketers results in better analysis of the likes and dislikes of the user base which leads to greater penetration in the market.” Using the results of your UX team’s buyer personas, usability testing and metric analysis, your marketing team will be able to create a more personalized, targeted email marketing campaign that can increase the likelihood of conversions.

Social media

There are two types of people that will discuss your brand via social media—those that have had a terrible experience and those that had a great experience. These individuals can act as an extension of your marketing efforts if your website or app has a stellar UX. Design to enhance your customers’ omni-channel experience by including social media buttons in highly visible portions of your page and increase engagement by inducing users to like or tweet at you by offering special promotions.

Ultimately, it can be a critical mistake to treat UX Design and Marketing as foreign to one another. With both teams working in harmony and close collaboration, your business will be geared up toward satisfying your customers’ needs in every way possible. UX Design and Marketing differ in many ways, but understanding and harnessing their similarities for your company’s good is imperative to maintaining a desirable and highly usable product.