Is It Time To Add A Digital UX Marketer To Your Team?

A ded­i­cat­ed UX mar­keter increas­es the poten­tial for suc­cess­ful cus­tomer-cen­tric cam­paigns.

Nichola Stott By Nichola Stott from theMediaFlow. Join the discussion » 0 comments

User expe­ri­ence (UX) has emerged from the cre­ation point of dig­i­tal, name­ly design and prod­uct devel­op­ment. But to keep it there lim­its the poten­tial of our dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paigns and assets. From search engine opti­miza­tion, to social media, to con­ver­sion opti­miza­tion to device strat­e­gy, a ded­i­cat­ed UX mar­keter role should be added to the team to dri­ve expe­ri­en­tial mar­ket­ing in the dig­i­tal world, expand our oppor­tu­ni­ties, and increase the poten­tial for suc­cess­ful cam­paigns.


Dis­tinct from usabil­i­ty and its evil twin dark pat­terns (think GoDad­dy check out), UX is about more than ease of use. It is about the total user expe­ri­ence in their inter­ac­tion with our prod­uct.

Often a design team role, UX has tra­di­tion­al­ly focused on core prod­uct inter­ac­tions and learn­ings there­from. The range of test and activ­i­ty is huge, for exam­ple the method­olo­gies detailed by Chris­t­ian Rohrer, CDO at MacAfee range over some 20 meth­ods from eye-track­ing to click­stream analy­sis to focus groups.

We need to expand and apply this approach, and the knowl­edge and exper­tise of the UX pro­fes­sion­al, so that this is inte­gral to dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paigns, too. That way we offer greater con­sis­ten­cy of expe­ri­ence across all touch­points at the same time as increas­ing our chance for suc­cess.

UX & Digital Marketing: A Perfect Match?

This doesn’t seem to be hap­pen­ing right now.

In the course of research I spent some time trawl­ing LinkedIn advanced search. While there are more than 4,000 pro­fes­sion­als with com­bi­na­tions of “UX” and “mar­ket­ing” in their job titles these were com­bi­na­tion roles that you often find in dig­i­tal when peo­ple are expect­ed to do every­thing dig­i­tal. I couldn’t find a sin­gle UX mar­keter.

It feels like UX isn’t giv­en the cre­dence it deserves when applied to mar­ket­ing and mar­ket­ing assets or con­verse­ly that UX is mis­un­der­stood by senior man­age­ment. I agree with Justin Kunkel, expe­ri­ence design direc­tor at And­cul­ture, who says in this arti­cle on the adjunct between UX and dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing:

Too often when UX meets dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, the job is prop­ping up a mediocre prod­uct with an effi­cient­ly designed sales fun­nel and some wire­frames.”

Shouldn’t it be intrin­sic or implied that UX is a core con­sid­er­a­tion for any dig­i­tal mar­keter? Arguably so in terms of dig­i­tal user expe­ri­ence but sure­ly this requires a ded­i­cat­ed front-and-cen­ter expert with some lev­el of account­abil­i­ty for ROI?

Experiential Marketing

Expe­ri­en­tial mar­ket­ing is a huge ded­i­cat­ed indus­try in the phys­i­cal world, with both in-house (in-store) and agency spe­cial­ists who focus on opti­miz­ing mar­ket­ing and sales pro­duc­tiv­i­ty with in-store, pop-up, or adver­tis­ing expe­ri­ences (whether sanc­tioned or guer­ril­la). I’m not just talk­ing about pres­sure-pil­ing Per­cy Pigs on the S-bend of the fast lane in M&S – there are wider and more sub­tle com­plex­i­ties to human behav­ior and deci­sion mak­ing.

Expe­ri­en­tial mar­ket­ing in the phys­i­cal world is arguably more tan­gi­ble for devel­op­men­tal rea­sons.

We’re used to mar­ket­ing and being mar­ket­ed to phys­i­cal­ly in a huge range of sub­tle and not so sub­tle ways, from the delib­er­ate scent­ing of the air in a super­mar­ket to the free prod­uct giv­en to us by a bloke in a cow cos­tume in Water­loo Sta­tion. Until recent­ly dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences have had a fair­ly lim­it­ed sen­so­ry appeal in that we main­ly see a dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing asset, or occa­sion­al­ly see and hear.

There’s a whole world of aca­d­e­m­ic research and inter­est­ing stud­ies on dif­fer­ent sens­es and con­junc­tions of sense and emo­tion or expe­ri­ence in mar­ket­ing. For exam­ple, prod­uct that is deter­mined to be mild­ly dis­gust­ing though nec­es­sary, such as bin bags, can neg­a­tive­ly impact the sale of oth­er prod­ucts if they touch them on the shelf, though not if they are just “close to.” The con­nec­tion between smell and mem­o­ry is one we’re all famil­iar with and may know from first-hand expe­ri­ence the feel­ing such a trig­ger can evoke.

These exam­ples and many more are includ­ed in this aca­d­e­m­ic paper “An Inte­gra­tive Review of Sen­so­ry Mar­ket­ing” by Aradhna Krish­na.

Digital Sensory Experiences

Things are chang­ing in dig­i­tal sen­so­ry expe­ri­ences giv­en the increase in wear­able tech­nol­o­gy. There’s wear­able hard­ware that can tune to our bio­log­i­cal rhythms and deliv­er pulse and vibra­tion mes­sages back to us.

3D head­sets like Ocu­lus Rift and Microsoft HoloLens present unique and par­al­lel images to each eye, the same as in real world sight thus pro­vid­ing a more involved expe­ri­ence. There’s even the emerg­ing sub-cul­ture of bio­hack­ing to inte­grate devices and chips below the skin allow­ing touch and response feed­back. The Grind­house Wet­ware Bot­tlenose v0.1 inter­acts with an implant­ed mag­net (or there’s a hap­tic ver­sion) which vibrates in the pres­ence of sen­so­ry infor­ma­tion. Basi­cal­ly – you can feel UV or sonar.

Where A Digital UX Marketer Can Lead

While some of the above may be some way off, there’s still a near future con­sid­er­a­tion of the immer­sive dig­i­tal user expe­ri­ence, beyond sound and (flat) vision. Some­one in your team needs to lead on this.

So how could it work and what would a UX mar­keter lead on?

SEO

Arguably, a bet­ter user expe­ri­ence is the core motive of every search engine algo­rithm update. Just look at few of the big­ger updates of the past five years:

  • Site speed was con­firmed as an eval­u­at­ed search rank­ing fac­tor in the Google algo­rithm in 2010.
  • page lay­out algo­rithm demot­ed sites with too many ads and not enough actu­al con­tent above the fold.
  • We’ve had device rum­blings and warn­ing shots this year already. In a rare move, Google has giv­en advance warn­ing of a mobile algo­rithm launch­ing April 21.

Hav­ing a UX mar­keter work with your SEO and con­tent mar­ket­ing staff could help keep your dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing assets ahead of the curve in terms of search suit­abil­i­ty, mean­ing greater oppor­tu­ni­ty to rank well and less risk of demo­tion by falling foul of updates that focus on UX.

Device Compatibility

Close­ly relat­ed to the above check­ing device com­pat­i­bil­i­ty is some­thing we may adhere to close­ly in a site build process. How­ev­er, this can often be over­looked when it comes to mar­ket­ing assets.

Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing teams are often in a desk­top mind­set, which can lead to cam­paign con­tent that might not work well (if at all) on mobile.

From com­plex inter­ac­tive con­tent that doesn’t ren­der well on a smart­phone, to over­ly com­plex com­pe­ti­tion entry mech­a­nisms, to Flash-based games, a UX mar­keter should be part of the ideation phase to help guide plat­form agnos­tic assets – or at least strate­gies for dif­fer­ence.

Usability

In terms of both gen­er­al acces­si­bil­i­ty and how usable a cre­ative asset is, it’s real­ly impor­tant for us to remem­ber as mar­keters that indi­vid­u­als expe­ri­ence things in dif­fer­ent ways accord­ing to abil­i­ties, age, cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences, and exter­nal fac­tors.

Hav­ing a QA stage which incor­po­rates a usabil­i­ty assess­ment can be the dif­fer­ence between an expen­sive mis­take and a suc­cess­ful cam­paign.

Image Cred­it: Imgur

CRO

Log­i­cal­ly CRO (con­ver­sion rate opti­miza­tion) and UX should be per­fect bed­fel­lows. A crit­i­cal part of the mar­ket­ing aspect of UX, CRO teams can ben­e­fit from greater com­mu­ni­ca­tion and involve­ment in the cre­ative stages of mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy.

Arguably, leav­ing CRO respon­si­bil­i­ty to point of arrival on site is only part of the pic­ture. The oppor­tu­ni­ty to be informed and involved in the cre­ation stage of mar­ket­ing assets that help bring peo­ple to site should be extreme­ly valu­able, par­tic­u­lar­ly for those CRO pro­fes­sion­als look­ing for the total­i­ty of user behav­ior to estab­lish mod­els.

Hav­ing a UX mar­keter informed by CRO should lead to more fruit­ful mar­ket­ing cam­paigns and a greater oppor­tu­ni­ty to under­stand audi­ence behav­ior on- an off-site.

Conclusion

A UX mar­keter role seems like a log­i­cal step in terms of inte­grat­ed mar­ket­ing teams and dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy and media devel­op­ment. Giv­en the improve­ments in cam­paign reach, opti­miza­tion, con­ver­sion poten­tial, acces­si­bil­i­ty, device, and audi­ence suit­abil­i­ty a UX mar­keter can bring an appoint­ment like this should be prof­itable from the get-go.


Do you think it’s time to add a dig­i­tal UX mar­keter to your team? What’s your view?

Nichola Stott

Written by Nichola Stott

Managing Director, theMediaFlow

Nichola Stott is managing director of theMediaFlow; a multi-award winning digital marketing agency combining technical excellence with creativity and a strong focus on SEO. Nichola has worked in digital communications for almost 20 years, with experience in global communications, investor relations, design and more recently before founding theMediaFlow; as head of search partnerships at Yahoo!

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