With mobile devices and the Internet of Things, consumers are closer to the brands and services they use now than ever before. For a business to thrive, it needs to be regularly engaged with its customers. The online experience a brand provides its users with has becoming a key method of generating conversions.
However, the role of user experience (UX) is too often misrepresented and oversimplified. Creating a user experience is about more than just creating an interface. It is about your user’s relationship with you and your brand through technology. The ultimate goal is to remove the suggested coldness of the medium, and provide welcoming, interactive channels with which to stir enthusiasm over your products and services.
The average person tells 16.5 people about a product that they liked. Some of your customers may boast social media outreaches many times that. The field of user experience differs considerably from marketing in many ways, but it forms the foundation of one your most important promotional tools — word-of-mouth. How customers use a product or service has become one of the most powerful means of increasing a company’s reach.
Brands are increasingly becoming the buddy-in-your-pocket. People tailor the services, apps, and other products they use to make their lives easier. They live in constant contact and are able to share and consume at their leisure. Your brand needs to find its place within that sphere of communication — to actually contribute something (e.g. hilarious content or enticing offers) and earn those conversions. It’s not enough for people to like your products. They have to like you.
User experience is an experience designed to fit what its target audience wants, whether it is the product itself, the product’s presentation or packaging, or the accompanying marketing tools. It even extends as far as the experience of paying. (If you can figure out how to make handing over money pleasurable then you’re onto a very good thing!)
Marketing is what makes people want things. User experience is about not letting them down. It’s designing the experience the user wants and expects after taking action upon an ad. It takes them on a smooth journey as far as they want to take it. It doesn’t push for sales, but invites them to consider a purchase or two.
70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Even if they don’t see anything they like, a pleasant, dare-I-even-say enjoyable browsing experience may be enough to lure them back for another look in the future.
It’s also cheaper and more efficient to retain customers than make new ones, and the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% compared with 5-20% to a new one. That’s a huge dissonance!
It’s clear that user experience and marketing, for all their differences, have a lot in common, but while marketing throttles the sales engine, only the experience of the user can keep it in motion. Undeniably, any modern business needs a delicate balance of both to keep growing.
Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas, or you can reach him at NickAndrewRojas@gmail.com.