I have gone down a bit of a user experience rabbit hole recently as it has become a bigger part of my life both professionally and academically. One of my many job functions that exists outside the scope of my marketing job title is working with the web team to improve the website wherever we can. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to set up usability labs or focus group current customers but we do do a lot of competitive analysis to see what others are doing and how we can position ourselves favorably.
All of this is to say that there are days that I do not feel like I am a marketer. So, imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a blog post recapping a podcast where that exact sentiment was discussed. Noted thought leader on the topic of innovation and MIT Research Fellow Michael Schrage came out and said that “designing the user experience has replaced marketing products and features.” And you know what? I think there is something to that statement.
Obviously user experience and marketing are at odds. Marketing is all about selling to the customer while user experience is about serving the customer. Obviously Mr. Schrage is ahead of the curve and a disruptive thinker and innovator so I did some further reading about marketing and user experience and found that most others on the internet don’t totally share his sentiment at the moment. I found a great image on a Hubspot blog on the topic that really encapsulated the divide between traditional marketing and user experience.
Although this image clearly displays the conflicting goals marketing and user experience must work in concert. CMOs and CIOs are becoming more and more connected at the hip and the line between user experience and marketing is becoming even more blurred.
In the always-connected world filled with smart phones, tablets, apps, laptops, etc., companies must put their best foot forward at every opportunity. Gone are the days of crafting rock solid traditional marketing materials, disseminating them and then tracking conversion rates. Now, if your website stinks then there are going to be repercussions.
Even though I sit in the marketing department, I can’t sit back and call it a day after developing some can’t miss marketing materials because that is really half the battle. Just like you develop marketing materials with specific personas in mind, you must design your websites, applications and other public facing interactive platforms with the customer in mind.