How UX is changing the future of digital marketing

UX – users become humans

It is clearer than ever before that digital marketing firms who fail to fully consider UX (user experience) risk being shuttled sideways into contemporary irrelevance.

This is because the internet has become overcrowded. For too long opportunistic marketers, web developers and cyber cowboys have overpopulated virtual space, creating excess noise for the consumer and neglecting the core concerns: ease-of-use and personalisation.

In some ways it is inevitable that we find ourselves at this juncture. The primary concern of marketing after all is to convince consumers to part with their money; a goal which in itself is never going to make for a positive user experience. In 2016 however most consumers have become wise to this, weary of it, even if they are so unconsciously; what they require instead is for web designers and web developers to provide them with the things that they want.

Don’t despair

But digital marketers should not despair; they are not on the cusp of irrelevance. By embracing the philosophies of UX it is possible to both shed the old paradigm and to enjoy greater success. Used properly UX will increase conversion rates and help ensure digital marketing strategies that are more relevant, more targeted and less abrasive than ever before.

But this cannot be done without a great deal of hard work, commitment and specialist knowledge. In fact, a successful user experience can only be achieved by cohering all of a digital marketing firm’s disciplines: SEO, digital marketing, web development, interface design, content and graphic design must all blend effectively to create a repeatable recipe for success.

As Don Norman, director of The Design Lab at University of California, San Diego and author of the The Design of Everyday Things says, “User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”

A better cyber space

In our view this can only be viewed as a positive step in the evolution of the internet, whether it is the burgeoning Internet of Things or more traditional text, image and video based sites. User experience designers work from a position of proximity to and identification with users and this can help bring valuable insight for digital marketers looking to understand and assist the desires and requirements of their target markets. Perhaps for the first time in history it can be said that a relationship is being framed in which the customer’s needs are paramount.

But it could be said that to even talk about “target markets” is to fall into the habits of old paradigms. User experience teaches us not that the consumer is someone who can be wholly predicted by an algorithm such as one of those promoted by Judea Pearl under the Bayesian network models but is in fact an entity operating in between these spaces as a distinct and individual human being. By providing a positive user experience the successful digital marketing firm can draw these humans out through engagement rather than looking to entrap, charm, mesmerise or, some might say, deceive.

Of course, some firms will hang stubbornly on to the old digital marketing models, but even now the statistics show that they are being left behind. The trend for disruption suggests that soon nearly all the most meaningful interactions will happen across social media, online communities, the Internet of Things and multi-platform sites that successfully tap the user experience.

Like it or not, the only way digital marketing firms is are going to thrive is if they create real value for users.

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