How UX Can Make or Break Your Marketing

Sep 20, 2017


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Article ImageAs entrepreneurs, we are eager to share our latest innovation with the masses, whether it be a mobile app, a website, or a physical product. As marketers, we need to figure out the best way to ensure each new technology or solution is adopted. We all know user experience is critical when it comes to full-scale adoption, and yet, so many of us aren’t great at cultivating it. The best way to promote large-scale adoption? Make it a habit.

Habits are hard to create and they are equally hard to break. You probably place the same coffee order at Starbucks, and if you go to Starbucks it will probably be hard for me to convince you to go to Dunkin Donuts. As marketers, this is our fundamental challenge: getting customers to change their ingrained habits.

How can we influence a person’s behavior to get them to try something new, especially when that habit is, well, habitual? In the physical world, there are tricks of the trade: sampling in grocery stores, coupons and discounts, for example. In the online world, there are different strategies. One of them is user experience, a term circling the minds of marketers everywhere. This refers to the overall experience a person has from using a product, like a website or an app. The easier and more pleasing it is, the better the user experience. And the easier for it to become a habit.

Think about Uber. Not the trouble it is in now with their questionable corporate culture, but its business model of changing the way we get around. Back in the day, when you needed a ride, you waved down a cab. Now, think about how you get a ride today: you tap an app and it asks you to enter your destination. Tap, click, and in moments you know who’s coming for you and when they will arrive. It is not just the lower cost of Uber that disrupted the livery industry - it’s the simple design, the ease of use of the app (and its functionality); in short, the user experience. Delight the user, and they will change.

As marketers, how can we promote user experience? It all starts at an organizational level. In order to create a user-friendly product or service, an organization needs to recognize its importance. The launch of a product or a service requires a number of different teams to work together. There may be specific reasons why one team defines user experience as more or less important than another. Add deadlines and a strict budget, and user experience could easily fall to the wayside. Embracing the importance of user experience as an organization is key to fostering a product or service’s user experience.

Once your organization is on board, all focus should be shifted to the customer. Apple elevates the importance of this above anything else. Most would agree that Apple is one of the best examples of user experience done right. From its inception, Apple has focused on providing the best user experience possible, and a key reason the company is so successful is its clear and simple interface. It’s quick, convenient, and provides exactly what its users are looking for. By placing the interests of the user first, Apple has built one of the most loyal customer bases and was recently declared the most customer-pleasing company in almost all of the markets that is operates in.

Next, you should consider how you will measure user experience. Google generated their own framework for measuring it, known as the HEART framework. HEART is measured in the following way:

  • Happiness – satisfaction, likelihood of recommendation
  • Engagement – how much an average user is using your product
  • Adoption – the percent of users that adopt your product after signing up
  • Retention – how many users are still present later
  • Task success – time to complete a task and the error rate

Even if you choose not to adopt the HEART framework, you should consider how you’d like to measure the success of your user experience. For example, you could go back to the original proposition – is your product or service now used habitually since putting user experience or the customer front and center? Or, do you still have some kinks to work out?

Back to Apple as an example, the company has achieved what all marketers aim for – changing ingrained habits. Think about how you log into your phone. Years ago, you likely opened your flip phone and entered in a PIN. Now, Touch ID (Apple’s fingerprint recognition to authenticate a user) has become an ingrained habit – in fact, in 2016, 89% of Apple users with a Touch ID-capable device had set it up and were using it. It’s likely that number has only increased this year. Now Touch ID won’t always be the way to authenticate. Apple recently announced that Touch ID will be replaced by Face ID for their iPhone X – so Face ID could possibly be the next “ingrained biometric.” However, the future of mobile biometric authentication will all depend on user feedback from the Face ID. If it’s not easy to use and beneficial for the consumer, it may fall to the wayside. Regardless of the authentication measures used in the future, Apple permanently changed the behaviors of consumers with the advent of Touch ID.

At the end of the day, it’s important for marketers to remember that marketing is about making people want things, while design is about making things that people want. The two need to work together to create a successful user experience. So by working closely with your company’s tech team, marketers can bring in the voice of the customer and help assure that the user experience will help with adoption as opposed to hinder it.


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