Posted to Hilary Smith's blog on October 20th, 2014

How to Leverage New Media & User Experience in Your Digital Marketing

Since the launch of the Kindle back in 2007, the publishing industry has changed forever. The explosive growth of ebooks has been ongoing and in 2011 digital books outsold print for the first time on Amazon. Although outside of this online marketplace, paperbacks and hardcovers are still outselling their electronic counterparts, this is still a strong indicator of a rapidly growing trend that demands our attention.

Given our modern technology, practically everyone has a smartphone, tablet or other handheld device that they use to communicate, work and play everyday. This is our mobile online audience for marketing today. The digital age has already arrived and we need to embrace it before we are blurred out of this valuable new media picture. We need to utilize things like user experience and big data to leverage our digital marketing campaigns to be effective in this marketplace.

PICTURE THIS - User Experience = UX

UX developers (UXD or UED) have actually been around since the late 1940’s when they effectively used it to bridge the gap between humans and machines. Today, UX has evolved into a method of enhancing customer satisfaction by improving interaction with consumers through their use of computers, which are now mostly handheld devices.

User experience is about the customer’s entire episode with our business, that process as a whole and not necessarily a simple sales transaction. The way that people interact with brands has changed as fewer people are visiting brick and mortar storefronts and opting to shop online. It’s not enough to tell people that we have a product that they want or need, now it is about an experience. This is how today’s UX designers are successfully operating.

Think of it this way: recalling Amazon as mentioned above, most of us can shop almost mindlessly on their website knowing exactly how to search for our item, click it into the shopping cart and check out using PayPal. We might purchase an extra item just so that we can reach the price plateau needed for free shipping. This type of model shows UX design and development at it’s best.

BIG DATA on our small screens

Terms like big data and the internet of things, are often confusing, sometimes difficult to fully define or comprehend. Simply put, the internet of things is everything being placed online and big data analyzes huge amounts of information that help us better understand our customer and their behaviors. Moving past all things on the internet, big data is much more daunting but also extremely valuable. Which begs the question, who is using big data and why?

The easiest way to understand the masters of big data would be to look at retailers, especially grocery chains. Nationwide stores like Safeway employ a loyalty program called “Just for You” where they offer their customers personalized deals with the use of their club card. Someone completely unfamiliar with marketing might think this was designed with the consumer needs as the top priority, but most would know that the opposite is actually true.

With their club card in hand, customers at Safeway have sharing their shopping habits, coupon usage, spending patterns, the locations, days and times when they are in stores. By effectively analyzing this data, the grocer’s big data team can make important decisions about staffing, product placement, discontinuing items that aren’t selling and even keep an eye on the competition.

By understanding our consumers more effectively and making their customer experience simpler, we can streamline and improve our own operation. In the long run, we will all save valuable time and money.

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