Even as UX design and user research are becoming a more prominent focus in today’s leading companies, it can still be tough to get executive leadership onboard with user research-related initiatives. We know the struggle.
How To Use Feedback To Develop Brand ExperiencesJune 12, 2018
Leading UX and digital marketing experts gathered for a lunch and learn event in San Antonio, Texas featuring keynote speakers from SapientRazorfish: Carina Moncivais, Senior Client Partner, Publicis.Sapient (formerly SapientRazorfish) and Bretagne Abirached – Associate Creative Director Experience, SapientRazorfish.
SapientRazorfish is one of the world’s largest digital agencies with a focus on business transformations backed by a client-centric, experience-led approach. Some of their clients include USAA, T-Mobile, Mercedes Benz USA, Marriott International, among others.
Marketing is Not Just About Brand Awareness Anymore
To kick off the presentation, Carina Moncivais explains how marketing is no longer simply about brand awareness, but rather “a brand purpose that creates a deep connection between a company and its customers.” (Moncivais) Marketers can no longer tell customers what they want. Now, customers tell marketers what they want, why they want it, how they want it and where they want it.
Customers are guaranteed to return to your service/product if their experience is positive.
Not only that, they have the potential to be your biggest advocates. User experience and user research is what really provides brands that edge which enables them to ensure customers leave happy.
In the following clip, Bretagne Abirached talks about what user research really means and what role it plays in brand building. In the words of Kim Goodwin, she defines user experience and user research as follows:
“Professional designers must design financially viable products, services, and environments that meet the practical, physical, cognitive and emotional needs of a wide range of people”
Gathering User Feedback
User research: User research focuses on understanding user’s needs, motivations, and behaviors through observation and task analysis. The research helps us understand the context within which specific user groups want to engage with a brand.
Why Conduct User Research?
You are not your user. You may be one of them. But you can’t speak for everyone. Conducting research allows us to create empathy for our users and understand key needs, motivations, pain points, and behaviors.
Some Benefits Of User Research
Allows for a deeper understanding of your audience, which is essential to building usable and desirable products
Ensures your product solutions align with user needs and behaviors (utility)
Validates ease-of-use (usability)
How To Get To The Why
You must ask questions to gain context. The what, when, who, where, and how can be gained from various ways that don’t necessarily involve speaking directly to your customers. We can start to get that context from analytics, surveys, or marketing segmentation research. But to get to the “why” fundamentally, to be able to gain empathy towards your customers, user experience design or user centered design is the key.
The Two Types Of User Research
Gives direction about what a product should be by outlining why and how someone uses it.
Lets you know if your product is matching user needs and expectations.
Key Types Of Research
Benefit: Surveys provide the best opportunity to talk to the largest number of people for the least amount of money
Limitation: We often learn about problems but the why they occur. It can be difficult to get the responses
Benefit: In-depth interviews are one of the most rich research methods, allowing for deep insights into motivations and behaviors
Limitation: These projects can be long and costly. Additionally, based on your customer base recruiting a representative participant pool can be difficult
Benefit: Usability testing is a generative testing tool that evaluates how easy it is for users to interact with a product across key heuristics
Limitation: It can be difficult to fully understand why a user is having issues, especially when leveraging remote, unmoderated testing tools
Understanding The Mindset Of The Customer
A representation of a group of users created by conducting user research and synthesizing into one or more archetypes to aid in design. Personas help guide decisions about product features, navigation, content hierarchy, and interactions.
Customer Journey Maps
These illustrate a range of needs, behaviors, motivations, interactions, and pain points customers have across time and space. Customer journey maps help identify key touch points and areas of opportunity across the brand experience.
How To Get There
There are four pillars that help brands utilize what they’ve learnt from the user research and “improve” their brand strategy.
We make sure our clients’ have concrete goals in mind – these need to be measurable, specific, actionable, timely and results based
Addressing any disparities between the technology that the clients use and those that the agency they’ve hired uses – the alignment is important in terms of cost, time, and effectiveness
Visionary clients who have a concrete and clear idea about the problems they face as a business, and potential solutions make this an easier process. Brands need visionary leaders to make the effective transformation
It is very important to have a detailed plan laid out for all parties involved. What is the preparatory work that needs to be done before proceeding with the steps, what are the steps, who all is involved, who is accountable for what, what is the timeline for these steps, and so on.
We ended the session with a Q&A with the speakers along with a three leaders in the tech space here in San Antonio: Ayon-Wen Waldron, Exec. Director of Marketing at ArchPoint, Jess Garza CEO at Earth Class Mail, Angela Bartels, VP of Marketing at Qualaroo.
Here are the questions, please watch the videos for responses.
Q1. How do you convince clients that user research is an important part of brand building?
Q2. When a company pivots in its brand strategy, what does that look like?
Q3. What happens if your segmentation/persona data is not aligned with the story of your company?
Q4. Do you recommend doing persona research before market segmentation research, or vice-versa?
Q5. Who owns user research – marketing or product? How do you manage the ownership?
Q6. What percentage of your marketing budget should be applied to research?
Q7. How much feedback is “enough” feedback?
Q8. How do you deal with a non-linear customer, customer lifecycle, and/or buyer journeys?
Q9. How often do you recommend updating your personas?
Q10. How do you address the challenge of different technologies between clients and agencies?
Q11. When do you know how to add a new persona?
If you have questions about the talk and/or the Q&A, we would be happy to get them answered! Just put them in the comments below and we will get back to you!
This post originally appeared on UsabilityGeek.
This post was written and contributed by Alex Birkett of Hubspot.
Understanding the steps users take as they interact with your brand and how they feel along the way is crucial to managing in today’s digital experience landscape. A customer journey mapping tool gives you the ability to put yourself in a customer’s shoes and see what the end-to-end experience is like. By visually representing this process, you can begin to understand which of your company’s touchpoints bring joy and which cause frustration for the customer.
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