First off, user experience design is not the same as or similar to marketing and vice versa. Actually, many times UX professionals even work against marketers and the last ones also go against the first ones sometimes. Personally, I already had a tough relationship with a marketer who wanted to sell at any cost and disregarded my UI/UX considerations, but this is part of the job and we need to understand both sides to accomplish a successful project.
Yes, they have points in common. To an extent, both have an ultimate goal of increasing conversions or keeping current users faithful to the service/product, both help the business and both need a deep analysis of the human behavior to draw a good strategy. They do not exist without people's input. But they have many (and important) distinctions regarding the ways to achieve these mutual goals.
Users VS Metrics, Satisfaction VS Revenue - It's a tough balance. And they MUST work together in order not to jeopardize the other.
Let's first understand the concepts:
User Experience (UX)
Consists of researching the users' behavior and improving the experience they have by creating the best, most intuitive, easiest-to-use interface, where the flow is consistent and clear (and just an addendum, it does not apply only to web and mobile interfaces, this can be applied to the installation of a product, for example). The primary goal is to design with the user in mind, which eventually leads to the secondary goal (and kind of primary to who is paying the bill): to improve the conversions or keep users faithful to the service/product by providing a pleasant experience.
“User Experience encompasses all aspects of end-user interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”
It's basically the art of selling. The main goal is to increase conversions and consequentially, increase the revenue. In order to do that, marketers have to persuade people to buy the product or service, they use seducing ads, many times hiding important information and exaggerating the qualities.
“Marketing is a question of persuading, seducing and attempting to manipulate people into buying products and services.”Wally Olins
In summary, both must understand the people psychology, but marketing treats people as potential customers and it is not much concerned about their experience - more about selling -, and UX treats people as users and cares about their satisfaction. And that difference is problematic.
When the problems start and how they should help each other
UX endlessly states that good user experience should not confuse or trick the user, it should give all the information to the user and always provide clear instructions and paths so the user can choose what he wants to do with a full understanding of the content and consequences without surprises or frustrations.
UX should never take advantage of the lack of or misleading information. These strategies are often in marketing to try to trick users with the ultimate goal of SELLING - nothing wrong with selling, we need it, but there is a thin line between white-hat selling and black-hat selling.
The marketing campaign with a heavy selling goal can jeopardize the user experience by applying dark patterns. Dark patterns are strategies that aim to persuade people into doing something they don't fully understand and may not even consciously want to do it.
Examples of that can be: adding the user to a mailing list without consent (which is now illegal in many countries of the world, such as the whole Europe, USA, Brazil, etc.), seducing user to buy a product without more information to a rightful and thoughtful decision, making customers to buy extended warranties or upselling products without proper or misleading information of them, etc.
Dark patterns are a polemic discussion. Sometimes it's hard to say if something is or isn't a dark pattern, and people can have different views - it's a thin line separating dark patterns and good patterns.
Regardless of marketing strategies, developing a project that does not take into account the user can bring more harm to the company image than conversion. If the user has a bad experience before or after becoming a customer or falls short of what is promised when trying to use the product or service, or if they has somehow been deceived or has not given consent for some kind of extra service, they can get frustrated and the efforts to attract and keep a user will be wasted and will not have a sustainable return.
Even worse, this can create a bad reputation that will be difficult to reverse. The loss of irresponsible marketing without taking into account the user experience can be immense and leave damages of difficult and expensive repair.
At the same time, the UX professionals need to understand the company and its goals. They need to understand what intrinsic value the company wants to pass to the user, who is the target audience, and develop an interface that matches that without damaging the user experience.
And for that to happen, it's essential to have clear communication between both teams to express the objectives that the marketing team works with and how is the planning of those goals. Thus, the UX professional can offer the most viable options according to the information given by the marketers to obtain the desired result, always, of course, respecting the basic concepts of UX.
Basically, they must complete each other. UX should help marketers to make users convert more without making UX mistakes. Marketing should help UX professionals to understand how (and where) to lead the user to the desired goal by communicating the values of the company’s products and services.
Are you looking to work together with designers?
Hire an elite team of designers to help your marketing agency to avoid UX pitfalls. Pengreen Design is among the Top Web Design Agencies Of 2020 according to DesignRush.
Get a free consultation with us and discover how we can work together. We also offer special conditions for design outsourcing.