There has been a lot of debate around user experience (UX) and
marketing lately. Some people argue that UX is a part of marketing and
vice versa. Others argue that UX and marketing perform overlapping
functions. Whether this is the case or not, we have to accept that UX
and marketing are both crucial to the success of any online business
today. In an effort to discover which is better, this article will
attempt to get into the details of marketing and UX to be able to give
an accurate conclusion if UX is better than marketing.
Definition of modern marketing and the similarities between marketing and UX
To be able to discover if UX is better than marketing, we must first
understand what marketing is. Contrary to popular belief, marketing is
more than ads and sales. As a discipline, marketing involves thorough
market research in an effort to identify what would be valuable,
desirable and useful to consumers. Modern marketing strategies and
practices also call for participation during product and service
development in an effort to ensure that the resulting products and
services meet their target value propositions.
Today, marketers are involved in every step of production of goods and
services from sourcing raw materials to testing products and services
and offering feedback. When you look carefully at the role of modern
marketers today, it is similar to user-centred design. It is also
important to understand that desirability and emotional design have
always been part of marketing years before user experience became an
important part of online business success.
Advertising, promotion and placement are equivalent to users designing
for ”findability”, trust and persuasion. Furthermore, the term
conversion which is popular in UX comes from marketing. Long before
internet businesses became popular (in the 1980s), there was a
marketing revolution characterised by a strong shift away from pushing
the sale of existing products/services to customers, to fulfilling the
real customer needs through innovation and research. Since then,
marketing has been more about fulfilling the needs of customers as
opposed to simply increasing sales. In modern marketing, the marketer
assumes the role of a customer advocate in business. This is the very
essence of UX.
Differences between marketing and UX
The fact that modern marketing is similar to UX in many ways shouldn’t
be taken to mean that the two aren’t different. The main difference
between UX and marketing lies in the unit of analysis and scale of
operations. For instance, marketing is more concerned with abstract
consumer characteristics and product features in a broader
perspective. On the other hand, UX gets into the finer details.
From these differences, it is accurate to conclude that UX and
marketing compliment as opposed to being in competition with each
other. It is hard to say which one is better for the sake of promoting
user satisfaction or increasing sales. The same argument can be used
in the case of finance and accounting disciplines. You can’t say one
is more important than the other when managing money in a business
setting since both have roles to play.
Although both UX and marketing have definite roles to play, it is
important to recognise the conflict between the two. First and
foremost, some marketing roles overlap UX roles i.e. both are after
customer satisfaction when you consider the role of modern marketing.
It is also important to recognize the fact that both marketing and UX
may pursue conversions at the expense of ultimate positive
This is usually the case when both marketing and UX are used to
persuade users into believing something they shouldn’t believe.
Marketing and UX can also used to earn trust on something that is
untrustworthy. Rogue marketers and site designers pose a serious risk
because they use the two to persuade and earn the trust of consumers
on products and services which aren’t as good as they are portrayed.
Return on investment (ROI)
In regards to return on investment, UX tends to offer a better ROI in
the long-term especially in the case of online businesses. In fact,
marketing without UX is regarded as ”wasted effort” in online
business. It is also important to note that UX without marketing may
not do any good for your online business because people will have a
hard time finding your site.
From the above information, it is accurate to conclude that UX and
marketing complement each other. Although their roles may overlap
sometimes, business owners stand a better chance of succeeding when
they consider using them both.