User experience designers aim to ensure that users who interact with products or systems can accomplish what they need to do, and do so with minimal frustration and decent levels of efficiency. Marketing folks aim to communicate value of the same products or systems so that user experience designers have someone to design for. While there’s a lot of tension between these two sometimes-competing practices, they really must work together if we’re working to understand and design the full user experience.
Arguably (and many of my colleagues are happy to argue this point), marketing and user experience design are two sides of the same coin. To an extent, both practices focus on and design for specific groups of people. It’s just that marketers are strategizing and designing for not-yet users. Almost users. They get us our users. When they’re doing their jobs well, marketers have a deep and important understanding of the people who will soon be using our products.
And yeah, yeah – I know marketing is at its core selling or persuading, but in order to persuade someone to do something, their needs must be very well understood.
I’ve encountered a lot of friction during my time on smaller UX teams, particularly when marketing and UX have to fight over features or interactions (pop-up newsletter signups, anyone?). When instead, we should have been focusing on the people we were aiming to serve as people on a journey. From not-yet users to full blown power users.
Having some deep analytics on our users and not-yet users would have been incredibly valuable for bridging our communication gaps during these marketing vs. UX fights. I now work in consulting rather than on a product team and don’t run into these kinds of battles as frequently, I do still try to keep up with what tools and research methods are being used these days by marketing and product teams.
And there are so many cool product analytics tools out there these days. Our friends at Pendo sparked this particular recent interest of mine, because I would have killed to have access to something like this back when I worked in StartupLand. While it definitely has a distinct marketing taste, the value for UX designers is undeniable.
Here, for instance, are a few things it does (mostly) out of the box:
- Captures user activity and behavior. It’ll show you features folks are using, how much time they spend in your application, trends over time, and aggregate results across accounts, users, and custom segments. Similar to Google Analytics, but a lot friendlier.
- Provides visibility into how features are being used and by whom. This can be incredibly powerful when trying to convince a team that deadweight features need to be nixed.
- Funnels and paths help you understand the user journeys, as well as help identify ways to streamline the journeys in order to make life easier for users (and of course help with the bottom line!)
- Conduct polls and surveys in-app
- And a lot more cool stuff you can find on their website.
I’ve written plenty about the importance of analytics in supporting a well thought-out user experience, so I’m curious — what other tools are you using these days? And are they bringing your team value? Do your marketing and UX teams work in harmony or discord? The world needs to know!