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 consumer/user experiences.
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.