In a recent blog post, John S. Rhodes suggests that user experience design and direct marketing are the same. While I don’t agree they are identical disciplines, I do agree they have a lot in common. I also believe that blending the two creates a powerful concept I like to call User Experience Marketing, or UXM for short.
More Sales and Happier Customers
UXM reflects the total online user experience. It is about attracting ideal customers and giving them such a great experience they simply have to come back for more. It’s all about them.
Think about your favorite restaurant. Why do you keep coming back? Is it the food? The ambiance? It’s probably the way you feel when you are there.
The table setting, the candlelight, menu and mood make you feel great. And then the food is a total slam dunk. You can’t wait to return and tell all your friends. That’s user experience marketing in action.
All of this doesn’t happen magically. It requires careful testing and analysis in the real world. User testing combined with regular team feedback needs to happen early and often. The only thing that matters is results. If a preliminary concept or creative direction doesn’t stick, teams should lather, rinse and repeat until it does.
Executives may balk at this iterative approach since additional cycles may add more cost to the production schedule. But which is better, to save time and money and launch a product that misses the mark, or to make planned course corrections as you go and hit a home run with customers?
Research by Mauro New Media states, “For every dollar you spend improving the visual design or style of your site, you will receive virtually no improvement in sales. The same dollar spent on improving core behavioral interactions with your site’s critical way-finding and form-filling functions will, however, return $50-100.”
Perception and Reality
While it starts with the offer and ends with the transaction, the experience is what customers remember. Was it good? Was it bad? Did you go the extra mile for them and was that their perception? Make it the best experience you can for them and they’ll spread the word for you.
What do you think about User Experience Marketing? Please share your thoughts in the comments.