UX Vs. Marketing: Can The Opposites Attract?

The User Experience (UX) is still a “field in evolution.” Research shows that UX and marketing have directly opposite fundamental core values.

The prime purpose of marketing is to sell to its customer, while on the other hand main function of UX is to serve the needs of the customer. One campaign, one application, or one digital product simply cannot do both.

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Marketing is selling

Marketing is the art of persuasion. Basically it is a strategy for positioning and advancing products or services to the ultimate consumers. Marketing is not done to build better products or experiences, and it also does not work on a service philosophy. Thus marketing is done in order to persuade, seduce and attempt to influence people into buying the products and services.

On the Contrary User Experience is serving

If the objective of marketing is to create value for the business, then the aim of user experience is to create value for the customer. It is generally defined as a user’s outlook towards a brand, system, or service. UX is concerned with an emotional or behavioral aspect of the brand. UX practitioners do things like create user personas and journey maps, regularly test digital creations with users in order to discover their needs and help them accomplish tasks in the most suitable and effective way possible. UX also about conducting research, building personas, and monitoring user environments. These elements give a clear understanding into a company’s brand perception, performance, and any trouble areas that need some sort of fixing.

Building a rich and healthy UX not only determines a more effective campaign, but it can also strengthen a company’s social culture, increase its digital foot traffic, and make way for a higher return on investment (ROI).

Example of the Failure of Branded Apps

Since both marketing and UX try to realize their goals through understanding human behavior, it’s easy to see how the two are becoming complex. Recently, several articles have been published on the convergence of marketing and UX. Some people suggest that UX should be a subset of marketing and there are many informational pieces on how to use UX design for marketing purposes. However, it is previously seen that consumer applications considerably fails when they try to perform the various functions of marketing. To understand this better let us take an example of the study conducted by Deloitte on failure rate of branded apps

  • In this study it was seen that 80% of all branded apps are downloaded lesser than 1,000 times.

  • That only 1% of all branded apps reach 1 million downloads.

  • The main reason for these Branded apps are performing so poorly is that it cannot serve and sell all at the same time.

    Branded apps that are successful do not ask the questions like, “How can we use this app to increase the brand affinity?” On the contrary they ask the questions that are very user-centric like: “What do our customers need, and how can we best serve them?”

    Some marketers argue that all apps must be useful and they ought to serve a need or they shouldn’t exist at all. There are two questions UX departments ask when tasked with building a branded app:

  • Why will a consumer download this particular app

  • Why would they continue to use it?

  • If the answer to any of these questions is not service-based, then there is no need to develop the app at all.

    Market research has revealed that launching an app for marketing purposes will harm the brand and will not create brand affinity if it is not completely service-based during its first three versions. The only metrics to judge the success of the app are how many stars it receives and how many people download it. It’s no surprise that many branded apps with a marketing prominence have turned to gamification.


    While the core values of marketing and UX are not compatible yet they are main assets to a company if they are managed wisely and in good balance. They will certainly be required to work in conjunction with each other because they share the mutual interests of understanding human behavior and building brand loyalty. Companies should look at creating separate Marketing and UX divisions that equally provide value to the brand from different directions. Both of them need their individual leadership, equal budgets and they must maintain a healthy competition.

    Marketing functions creates revenue for the subsequent two quarters, but having a sound digital application that provides great service will help generate revenue for the following two years. Effective UX is its own form of marketing and can reduce the amount of time it takes to promote and market a brand.