Can UX Design Clash with Marketing Objectives?

| 5 min read

I’ve often heard it said that UX design and marketing are at loggerheads. That the two functions are aiming for different things and it’s hard to realign the two so that they function together. I’d like to take a look at this idea and explore if UX design really does clash with marketing objectives.

Selling vs. Serving?

Much of the argument against the compatibility of the two functions boils down to this: marketing is about selling things and UX design is about serving your customer. Then the person goes on to say; you can’t do both at the same time and do it well.

I’ll be honest I can’t think of two more mutually inclusive goals than these. Marketers need great products to sell. UX designers need their products to sell if they want to stay in a job. There’s nothing in the remotest bit problematic about these two objectives.

In fact, if you explore the UX Design research process and marketing’s customer research process – you’re going to find a ton of overlap. That means there’s the potential to work with marketing to get answers to some of your questions (without expending your budget on doing so) and vice-versa.

Marketing Isn’t the Devil’s Work

I suspect that much of the perceived problem with working with marketing lays in the idea that marketing is somehow evil and as we don’t want to be evil – we don’t want to have anything to do with marketing.

This is ridiculous. It is marketing that keeps us in a job most of the time. Yes, you may be lucky and create such a powerful experience that your users do your marketing for you but a quick examination of the number of failed apps in the Apple store (those with downloads in the hundreds) will quickly tell you that this isn’t all that likely.

A more detailed examination of these failed apps will show you that there are some big brands with some decent apps languishing at the bottom of the table too. Their failure was almost certainly a combination of a failure in both marketing and in UX.

The Need to Be on the Same Page

Most issues between UX and marketing could be worked out with better internal communication. Marketing is one of your internal customers and vice-versa. You don’t need to treat them as the enemy; you need to embrace their needs and to help them understand your needs too.

A great feature from your user research should get a marketing push when it comes to promoting the product.

Similarly, when marketing identifies a concrete customer need – you shouldn’t dismiss it. You should examine their research and perhaps conduct further testing to see if the idea has merit.

Breaking down internal silos and approaching work from a cooperative rather than competitive perspective benefits your users and customers alike. There’s no need to see marketing as pulling in the opposite direction unless you create a culture like that.

Header Image: Author/Copyright holder: Dakota Reese. Copyright terms and licence: All rights reserved. Img

Image Source:

Thought Foundry (link to image)

Usability Geek (link to image)

Weidert Group (link to image)

Creative Bloq (link to image)


Open Access - Link to us!

We believe in Open Access and the democratization of knowledge. Unfortunately, world class educational materials such as this page are normally hidden behind paywalls or in expensive textbooks.

If you want this to change, , link to us, or join us to help us democratize design knowledge!