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Marketing @ UX Week

Yesterday our UX Week keynote speaker, Don Norman, talked a bit about how marketers make good allies for UX professionals because of their experience working with business units. This relationship has led marketers to get savvy about positioning their projects in the context of business metrics. Don also observed that marketers are interested in supporting investments in user experience because they share in the benefits.

As a marketer, my ears perked up when I heard Don express this idea, but it may not be immediately obvious how marketers really benefit. Last night, I discussed this in more detail over dinner with a user experience consultant who is attending our conference from Singapore. We touched on two complementary ideas that connect marketers to user experience projects.

The first is that marketers and user experience professionals are both interested in consistent experiences. From a design perspective, this helps customers acclimate to the product or service environment and allows designers to rely on established interactions. For marketers, consistent experience is really about building trust, and trust is the foundation for building an emotional connection with products and services, which extends into the customer’s overall relationship with a brand. A strong connection in this realm represents success for marketers.

The second idea is embedded in this first and is an interesting phenomenon that highlights how the law of averages can break down when applied to experience across touchpoints. User experience isn’t just about how we interact with a product or service, it’s about the experience a customer has with a brand across touchpoints. If a customer has a great experience at one touchpoint, but a poor experience at another, the net result may be less than the average of the two. This is an issue that Zipcar CEO Scott Griffith touched on in his keynote this morning when he talked about the importance of getting Zipcar’s call centers on par with the experience of being in a Zipcar.

Marketers are very conscious of this because of their work managing the marketing mix, where they have to think about breaking down silos between channels, coordinating messages, and creating a cohesive brand representation. This practice has be reinforced by increasingly integrated campaigns, and has given marketers some insight into the benefits user experience teams have to offer. I’m happy to see this theme emerging at UX Week, and I look forward to having more conversations about how marketers and experience designers can work more closely together.


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