UX Matters in Marketing Communications

By Pam Didner

When marketers create outreach communications, they tend to focus on clever copy, beautiful images and compelling content. However, none of this will matter if it isn’t backed by great user experience (UX). To increase engagements and conversions on your websites—or to meet your communication objectives—the clever copy, beautiful images and compelling content all need to be structured logically. UX is what ties everything together. Yet it tends to be overlooked by marketers.

Keep in mind that UX is distinct from CX—the customer experience. UX is defined as how users interact with your products and what they receive from those interactions. It is just one component of the overall customer experience, which encompasses all touch points users encounter with your brand.

For example, good and intuitive UX helps users:

  • Find information quickly
  • Complete tasks effortlessly
  • Interact with your brand, content and products easily

Seamless CX, on the other hand, helps users:

  • Have a pleasant interaction both online and offline
  • Feel positive about the brand

In the field of marketing, UX is often stressed as part of a website launch or mobile app design. UX designers do extensive research, testing numerous wireframes and mock-ups. They make agonizing trade-offs and work through kinks and back-end challenges to facilitate the process for customers looking to make a purchase, complete a task or find information they need.

Customers come to bank websites and use the apps for a variety of different reasons—UX designers need to anticipate their needs and organize information to meet those needs. With mobile devices becoming an indispensable part of our lives, UX should be another element to consider when you design your customer journey as part of your marketing campaigns or sales outreach.

Here are some ideas that marketers can use to incorporate UX as part of their planning:

Think about email marketing holistically.

Most enterprises (banks included) use standard email templates for their email outreach. Marketers tend to worry most about where to source content and what content to use to fill out the templates. Content selection is indeed important. But it’s also important to think through the UX, from the time customers receive the email to when they click on the content to the landing page.

On the landing page, you need to take into account what you want them to do, such as download gated content, sign up for a new credit card, or contact a bank employee to apply for new loans. The consistency of the UX, from beginning of the email to the website—and even the follow-up steps—needs to be carefully thought through and tested out before emails are sent.

Expand print to digital.

Most banks still use print brochures and pamphlets to showcase their financial products and services. These content pieces are strategically displayed so that people waiting to be served are likely pick up and peruse brochures and pamphlets. But most of us don’t do that anymore, because we stare at our phones when we wait in lines.

That doesn’t mean print materials shouldn’t be displayed strategically at bank branches. Print still works well and is wonderful for sharing information with potential customers. The information, provided at the right time, can certainly help prospects make decisions.

To make the most of print content, marketing managers should digitize it. Digital content doesn’t mean uploading the PDF format online, then calling it done. This is where UX comes in.

  • Can you make that brochure interactive with necessary links?
  • Can you modify the brochure so that it acts like an interactive landing page?
  • Can you incorporate the brochure into a mobile app that your branch personnel can easily pull up to do a show-and-tell of your financial products?

Print brochures—read in a linear fashion—are one dimensional and offer only one-way communication. Clickable and browsable, digital brochures are two dimensional and provide two-way communication. (You could even make a digital brochure three dimensional, if you wanted to add VR elements to it.) Again, UX matters when you digitize your content to create a seamless CX.

Optimize sales training.

With the acceleration of technology, UX also plays an important role in training tellers, sales reps and branch managers. Sales training is often product-specific, and as such, it can capitalize on the product messaging and content created by marketing. Frontline staff are then prepared to expand on the foundational UX offered through digital channels.

Again, if you are planning to create interactive sales training, UX plays a critical role, especially in role playing and situational conversation simulations. An intuitive UX can help your salespeople remember the key points and complete the training faster.

The dominance of smartphones and tablets has elevated the role of UX and design. The ramifications of that have spread to every corner of a consumer’s life: consumer electronics and goods, store layouts, furniture, even medical devices. In marketing communications, UX is as important as content, workflow, functionality, layout, and components.  User experience transforms your customer experience. And that experience matters in the digital age.

Pam Didner is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of the books Global Content Marketing and Effective Sales Enablement. Pam specializes in sales, marketing and external communications consulting, keynote presentations, corporate training and workshops. Email: pamdidner.com.