Tech viewpoint on UX versus marketing
A view from Anthony Franco

Tech viewpoint on UX versus marketing

More than three-quarters of agencies identify user experience as the biggest shortfall client-side. One explanation is that UX is still evolving. Another is that UX and marketing have fundamental values directly opposed to one another.

The primary function of marketing is to sell – the aim of UX is to serve.

If the goal of marketing is to create value for the business, UX’s objective is to create value for the customer. Since both marketing and UX advance their goals through understanding human behaviour, it is easy to see how the two become convoluted.

History has shown that customer applications fail miserably when they try to perform marketing functions. Eighty per cent of all branded apps are downloaded fewer than 1,000 times. Just 1 per cent of all branded apps reach one million downloads.

This divergence is illuminated by the abysmal performance of the Pampers Hello Baby Pregnancy Calendar app. Its primary failure was the requirement for users to share on Facebook. Most women didn’t want their pregnancy details broadcast.

The app received poor ratings and critical comments.  One reviewer even said: "This app must have been designed by a man." It is no longer available.

Conversely, Domino’s Pizza’s mobile app has more than six million downloads and accounts for 35 per cent of pizza sold, according to Mobile Commerce Daily. Its average rating is five stars, with very positive reviews. The Domino’s brand is enjoying unprecedented growth and success.

Pampers, already doing well in its industry, was trying to sell to its users through a marketing campaign disguised as a helpful app. Domino’s, performing poorly, placed its efforts in service and delivered an app that provided a useful, usable and desirable experience.

History has shown that customer apps fail miserably when they try to perform marketing functions

Branded apps perform badly for one distinct reason: they cannot simultaneously serve and sell. Branded apps that succeed do not ask the question: how can we use this app to increase conversions or brand affinity? Apps must never be used like a marketing campaign.

By contrast, UX asks two questions: why would someone download this app and why would someone continue to use it? If the answer to either is not service-based, then there is no need to build the app at all.

There are only two measures that should matter for an organisation when building an app: how many stars it receives and how many downloads it gets.

Marketers, appropriately, are measured on building awareness, lead generation and increasing wallet share.

These measures are in stark contrast to the value UX brings to an organisation. Until marketers are primarily measured on building customer satisfaction and loyalty, UX will remain incompatible.

Anthony Franco is the founder of EffectiveUI. For more details, visit The SoDA Report

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