User experience at the intersection of marketing, usability and business 15:02 on Saturday

This post is about a moment of clarity I had about user experience and why I think it is important for business. But first, a little about how people experience companies.

Consumers cross roads with companies in many occasions and in many different ways. People and companies meet at various times and places. More accurately, people meet with representatives and representations of companies. To give you some examples, people can come across advertising, websites, products, self-service kiosks, or customer service personnel.

These encounters form the dialog consumers have with companies. To put it in the words of Joseph Jaffe who was speaking in Helsinki yesterday: this is the conversation people have and companies should join. You could also say companies inevitably start conversations by putting out products, services and marketing, and the difference is in whether the companies continue the conversation after the consumers join it. Another Jaffe line Jaffe borrowed from Hugh McLeod, and which I really liked concerns how the conversations get started:

If people would talk to you in the way advertising does, you would punch them in the face. If you talked to people the way advertising talked to people, they’d punch you in the face. (see the original cartoon)

It comes down to the “persona” of the company and how the company discusses with consumers. You probably recognize the kind of person who keeps talking, never stops to listen and is generally obnoxious. Or the person who is quiet and you never seem to get a decent answer out of them. Many companies act like those persons.

The revelation I had this weekend is that I’m interested in how user experience lies at the intersection of marketing, usability and business. (I initially wrote “business strategy” but it might as well be “business tactics”.)

All those little encounters combined, and the way the company converses with the consumers, creates the user experience, or the thing I like to call user experience. Every little snippet of experience created by marketing and the user interface or product designers creates the total user experience — in effect, how consumers experience the company. Which in turn makes user experience (and hence marketing, design, etc) highly relevant for business.

The question then becomes, which encounters are worth financing? Is it better to spend on outdoor billboards, or training the customer service? Is it better to have another month for user testing the product design, or would you rather hire a Hollywood actor to appear in your TV ad? There’s no one answer, of course. But thinking in terms of these encounters and conversations, you can make up these (in my opinion) more relevant questions than “where to spend the marketing money”, for example.

3 Responses to “User experience at the intersection of marketing, usability and business”

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  1. Usability Counts » Blog Archive » User Experience Is The Brand

  3. Joseph Jaffe Says:

    Great post. btw….that quote about face-punching is Hugh Macleod’s (www.gapingvoid.com)

  4. Niko Says:

    Thanks! I vividly recalled reading the quote online, so no wonder I could not find it on jaffejuice.com, no matter how hard I googled…