Your product design and your marketing campaigns are probably much more interconnected than you think.

The flip-side of the recency effect (as discussed in “Cancellation as a Feature”) is the primacy effect, which also plays heavily into a user’s overall impression of a product. Managing the process, “start” to finish, has started to evolve into its own space, called customer experience. But when your job is to simply create great UX once someone is a customer, it can be difficult to figure out where a user’s experience begins and what a user’s context is once they get there.

I’ve seen increased focus on the onboarding process—which is hugely important—but, to understand what the context is right then is crucial. So, what happens before that? Signing a contract? Talking to a salesperson? Completing the purchase online? Product research? Content consumption?

Yes to all of that. But, how did they first find you to get to the content and become a customer?

It’s an AdWords ad. It’s a banner ad on another site. It’s a recommendation from a trusted friend. It’s a shoutout in someone’s keynote. It’s a billboard. It’s a cold call.

The first moment of exposure to your brand is where UX starts. As a UX designer, users don’t come to me as a “blank canvas”; not only do they have existing ideas about how a product like this should work in general, they’ve also accumulated brand interactions.

Just like you bring your past relationships and initial social media stalking to your first date with someone, so, too, do users bring plenty of baggage to their first interaction.

Has your sales process been annoying, and the user became a customer in spite of it? Did you use spammy ad or email tactics to bring someone in? Was your billboard ugly? Did the word-of-mouth recommendation come with its share of caveats?

UX and marketing are interconnected and symbiotic. The user’s experience once a customer should align well with their brand exposure beforehand. Not only will that keep your brand’s personality consistent, but it will also allow you to understand when users are setting up false expectations before becoming a customer and rectify that. No matter how great your product is, you certainly want to limit disappointment in paying customers.

Further, UX can inform marketing in managing expectations and limiting spammy or annoying tactics. No one’s ever going to call your product “user-friendly” if you’re not “visitor-friendly” to start with.

The halo effect kicks off upon initial exposure to your brand. Make it awesome.

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January 24, 2014 — Leave a comment — In Blog, UX