Although the UX team and the marketing team tend to look at different aspect/facet of the customer behaviour, it still seems to make more sense to be studying the same group of people for a more complete picture of user motivations, expectations and their experience. Why is it then that this is seldom the practice in companies even with well established UX or user-centric methodologies?

Is there too much difference in the theory, methodology, tools, analysis and reporting to results that negates any benefit of the two groups/teams working together?

What is the common practice or experience within organizations these days?

2 Answers 2


Marketing: We want new demographic 'X' to give us their money and/or do this thing. What should we throw at the walls to convince them? Look, shiny! Funny! Cute! Oww! Money! Sex! ... Ok, which one worked? Let's do that one again. We want new demographic 'Y' to give us their money and...

UX: These people from groups A, D, Q, X, and Y have already shown a willingness to give us their money and/or do the thing. Let's entice them to stick around by giving them something they want or need in a pleasant/entertaining repeatable way. Let's identify and fix the things they don't like to do.

Both: We want the people who give us their money and do the thing here to keep paying us and not go do the thing elsewhere. Their money and continued doing of the thing is important to our employment, and it is based on user satisfaction or necessity. We should figure out how to improve user satisfaction, or increase their need to do the thing, while still getting the money. Let's share information in these areas!

Good UX can attract & keep users, but its purpose isn't to find them in the first place, get them in the door, or determine how much they're willing to pay compared to competitors. Marketing's job is to be proactive, experimental, and focused on expansion/profit/customer base.

UX can be proactive in the use of best practices and good design, but is primarily reactive or pre-emptive in terms of customer satisfaction and retention. The chief concern is whether customers are willing to continue showing up, and fixing the reasons they might not.

Another important distinction is that "the user" and "the customer" are not necessarily the same thing. Facebook, for example, has gone off the deep end in pursuit of profitable marketing strategies, selling to non-user third party customers, and making themselves a ubiquitous necessity at the expense of good user experience. "Users" are fed up & ready to leave in droves, but customers & share holders are pretty happy.

I agree there's clearly a lot of overlap, but I think cooperation depends heavily on the nature of the organization. Could be their immediate goals are at odds w/one another.

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    I think (and hope) that UX designers are wanting to be more proactive in exploring and experimenting with designs as well to deliver more innovative products and services to the customers/users. After all, if you do user testing and research after you have built a product, it just means that you could have saved some time and resources to do it before building the product. It is also funny to think that organisations wanting to create an environment of teams that don't have goals that align with one another, and how productive that might be in the long term.
    – Michael Lai
    Oct 16, 2014 at 11:10
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    True, but I'd suggest such product innovation/testing is informed by customer desires & market research. Best practices & design trends can lead to something new, but those are really a combined result of prior failures. Unless you're Apple chances are it's a more reactive process. As for working toward different goals, FB is the most obvious example that springs to mind. UX is awful, apps are buggy & awful, and response to user complaints is awful. But they're worth billions for the moment. Is that sustainable? Guess we'll find out... Interesting question though.
    – mc01
    Oct 16, 2014 at 15:43

I recently watched a case study from Leah Buley the author of UX Team of One. The talk gave me great insight on "what's our engagement model with the rest of the organization?" http://mxconference.com/videos/mx-2014-leah-buley-the-marriage-of-corporate-ux-strategy-a-case-study

Could that help you?

I could not apply her approach yet in my current work but based on her approach I could guide the business analysts and marketing teams into taking design as a serious stakeholder with the help of my managers. Here's one slide I made a screenshot of:

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