User Experience Marketing

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.

Better Online Experiences                        

On the web, UXM is about creating relevant, useful online experiences that reach customers at an emotional level. Just like your favorite restaurant, coming back for more of what you have to offer not only feels great, it feels natural. 

Marketers with a solid understanding of UX principles and UX designers who have studied direct marketing are in the best position to help design teams achieve the best user experience, especially as the social web becomes more prevalent. These UXM practitioners have the ability help ensure more effective communication between marketing, creative and technical teams. This ultimately leads to better design and execution simply because people are talking to each other.                      

Measurable Results

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.” 

Focus On The Ideal Customer                    

From the way your website looks, feels, communicates and behaves all the way through the final email or confirmation page, every step is carefully orchestrated for your ideal customer. The results are more sales from more qualified customers and customers who become evangelical toward your product or service.

This focus on creating the ideal customer experience keeps the door open for future opportunity. Every time they deal with you they know they’ll get even more value. Companies that practice user experience marketing offer a seamless, practical and pleasant customer experience. Who wouldn’t want more of that?

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.

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3 Responses to User Experience Marketing

  1. Brad ShorrNo Gravatar July 30, 2009 at 7:53 pm #

    Mary, I think you are right on track here. From my perspective, I see companies missing many, many simple things they could do with their web pages to enhance the user experience – break up long paragraphs into shorter ones, use bullet points, narrow margins, etc. With so much competition online, you have to cover the basics and keep the customer in the forefront of your mind at all times.

  2. MaryNo Gravatar August 2, 2009 at 10:40 pm #

    Brad, thanks for your thoughtful comment. Hopefully more firms are seeing the value in these activities. The proof is in more conversions and improved sales!

  3. AndrewNo Gravatar April 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    “Focus On The Ideal Customer”

    Not only do you need to focus on the real customer, but focusing on a product that represents your ideal customer is also very important.

    With so many schemes on the internet people are naturally leery to catchy and emotional websites.

    The more real a website, the more real the customer. Yes, needs to be catchy but not

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