How I came up with the topic?
From my experience working in the UX field for many years, I have run into ?”marketing-driven” products for countless times. The stakeholders of these products seem to focus more on “wowing” the customers rather than whether the customers can actually use the products. On the other hand, we UX designer people care so much about how people will use our products with ease, but the products we create might not sell very well. I have been wondering where the right balance between UX and marketing is and also whether other fellow UX people have the same problems and could share some experience or have any solutions to the problem.
Key points from the unconferenced session:
The problem with overlapping roles and unclear line between UX and ?Marketing seems to be fairly common (almost every one who joined the session shared similar experiences).
2 types of problems we identified during the discussion:
- Marketing stepping in at lower level design (e.g. information?design, UI design), such as changing layout borders to pink colour just because it would look more wowing, or making some information vague so that the product sounds more appealing to the users to drive more signups. These kind of changes to us UX people are just horrifying.
- Marketing sold to the clients and promised the sky before the products or designers even know. And the scope and timeline is just extremely unrealistic.
Why is it like that?
We discussed why to try to find the root causes of this and how to cope with them.
- Goals are not aligned – Marketing and UX usually focus on different things.
- KPIs – Marketing’s KPI seems to be short-term (to sell) while UX more of long-time (to engage).
One possible solution is that UX could step in to help Marketing to sell better (e.g. review the experience of customer buying and improve on it). As an?entry to?lower-level design, A-B testing can be a good way to justify and back UX’s opinions (although it takes ?quite some effort and time to do so).
Could it be because Marketing are not sure what UX is all about?
- Maybe we need to redefine what UX and Marketing do in the organization, starting from the very top level (company’s goal).
- “Who’s your daddy” move – We might have to identify who the key decision makers of the Marketing are (the daddy). Approaching them first to discuss the redefinition, directions, goals, and share understandings.
When the Marketing promise the sky to the client and get back to us with unrealistic timeline
- One way to cope with this is probably to just tell them to the face that we can’t deliver the sky, and show them how the outcome turns out as we said so that they can start to learn (although not recommended to repeatedly do this all the time).
- 1-hour daily meeting across all departments – one person said that his company is doing this and it greatly helps share understanding across all functions by discussing what’s really happening face-to-face rather than each team working in their own silo.
All in all, it seems that *communication* is the root cause of such Marketing VS UX imbalance. Not knowing what UX actually is is probably a typical cause of why Marketing stepping into product design decisions or selling the sky to the clients beforehand. Identifying the right “daddies” and approach them to collaborate on redefining the right balance between the two sides for your organization should be the best starting point in fixing the root cause of this problem.