Is UX Just a Form of Marketing?

The public perception of marketing is so bad that I can almost hear the sharp intake of breath when I ask the question; “Is UX Just a Form of Marketing?” Yet, despite the disdain in which marketing is often held – nearly every business on earth indulges in marketing of some form or another. So let’s take a look at the similarities between the two disciplines and ask what do they have in common?

Know Your User = Know Your Prospect

Marketing folks who deliver results are very much prospect focused. It is in marketing that we find focus groups, questionnaires, surveys, etc. long before UX was so much as a twinkle in a development team’s eyes. The better a marketer knows their prospect the easier it is to reach them with their message.



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The UX professional calls their prospect a user but much of the research is incredibly similar and where it differs… it’s because there’s a need for data that doesn’t come out of a marketing focused approach.

Great UX and Great Marketing Often Pass Unnoticed

We can all remember a bad marketing campaign. Racism, sexism, and homophobia, for example, have all hurt a brand’s reputation in their time. Yet, it’s much harder to remember marketing that did the trick. Can you remember exactly why you bought that book 2 years ago? Or why you went to see that Tom Hanks film, even though you’re not too keen on Tom Hanks? Almost certainly not and yet it was almost certainly marketing that led you there.



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The same is true for UX pros; the get noticed when they foul the user experience. If your product requires 32 steps to login – everyone will notice and complaints will go through the roof. Yet, that amazing single click cookie based login procedure? That goes absolutely without comment – people may love it but they aren’t out shouting about it because you did your job and made the login process un-intrusive.

Bad UX and Bad Marketing Often Result from a Dependence on Other People’s Research

You all know that if you don’t carry out research with real users; you’re putting your project at risk. Yes, you can rely on public data or people inside your company to generate ideas to test but you can’t rely on it as gospel. If you don’t test your ideas with real users – the carefully crafted UX will often fall flat on its’ face.



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Those folks over in marketing are very much victims of the same problems. They look for new trends and new ideas from external data and then rush to implement sometimes and all too often their work fails to hit the spot with their prospects. A failure to research with real prospects reduces their chances of success.

Summary

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So, is UX just good marketing in disguise? Why not let us know what you think in the comments section on Facebook or LinkedIn? We’re certain you’ll have something to say about this issue and we’d love to hear from you.

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