Market User Experience Over User Technology
Work from home has been such a fun yet educational experience for me. Each day, I see people post videos and DIY tutorials on their social media handles of what they have been up to at home. It’s refreshing as well as intriguing. So, I decided to make time for some fun activities myself and wrapped up work a little early.
I spent the day watching some of my favorite shows online. For those who are new to me and my work online, I somehow love watching Disney Hotstar. Before you jump to conclusion, it is to keep track of what the learning minds today are being exposed to, as I am extensively active in the pre-school learning domain. It helps me gain perspective as a marketer. What started off as a half-day at work, soon turned into me scribbling important notes on my daily diary.
The in-app advertisements of two online learning apps caught my attention. While they both work on the same principle of making learning easier for children, I decided to download both the apps on my phone to explore which one was better. Let’s first discuss what is the role of technology and then we’ll come back to the apps.
My idea of technology
Technology has been one of the essential sources of relief during times of crisis and unprecedented situations. Be it a natural calamity or a human-made disaster, such as the present global pandemic COVID-19, technology has played a pivotal role in ensuring that we can breathe a sigh of relief. (I’m referring to more than just Facebook or Instagram here.)
Being in the marketing profession myself for several years now, I feel that it has become an inevitable part of our personal and professional lives. Technology leads the way for business, education, and relationship continuity.
However, marketing has become chaotic. This is because the focus has now moved to sell the technology instead of selling the experience. I am confident that it should be the other way round for industries to boom once again.
Let’s continue my initial observation
Coming to my initial discussion about the learning apps, both of them offered quite a different experience to me. Both of them had similar features so I do not have any complaints regarding that. But I felt one to be more holistic and personalized. For example, it took the registered child’s name and gave instructions. “Zara, scroll right and tap on the red button.” This is exactly the connection a child needs with the app to develop interest in the subject. Moreover, it has child-friendly sound effects and bright colors to keep them hooked. The other one was a little dull without this enhanced experience opportunity. While the subscription rates for both the apps are similar, I will definitely recommend the first one to my friends and family.
I decided to take the discussion forward with my colleague, whose daughter is still young. She instantly caught on and agreed to what I was saying. Adding to the discussion, she spoke of how app cab services also function on the same technology, yet provide such varied experiences. Personally, we prefer Ola because of its convenience, pocket-friendly rates, and has effective in-app features.
To answer the question of why marketers must prioritize user experience, my example clearly shows how my experience decides what I wish to use. My comfort is my priority, and that is what has created a strong sense of brand loyalty in me.
I’m glad I caught on!
When I did a little more thinking on this subject, I understood that the biggest reason why we often fail to focus on experience is because we try to convert traditional product solutions to adapt to the digital era. In the process, we focus on technology and overlook experience, an integral part of the selling process.
Consider a situation when you need to buy a new mobile phone. There are several options available in the market. While one brand may only tell you about the features they provide, the other may give you a virtual tour of the phone, offer you a free in-store trial, and experience the product. Which one would you pick? Yes, it’s obvious to opt for the latter.
Why should we focus on experience?
Couple of days back I discussed my notion with an interesting person who is a Data Scientist. He sips technology everyday like a perfectly brewed Americano with a dash of milk in it and I promptly asked him, “Why should we focus on user experience when we are anyway investing time and resources into providing new technology with every product?” So, he explained to me that we are merely providing a solution to customer problems. Consumers buy products to make their tasks easier. For example, people buy a washing machine so that they don’t need to hand wash the clothes. But they develop customer loyalty when a washing machine is user-friendlier. Technology is only a tool to solve customer problems, who are indeed retained by exceptional experience. Well that definitely seemed impressive!
Let’s take the example of restaurants since I love food. I always believe that more than the dishes we order, we pay for the ambiance. Customers are ready to pay exorbitant prices for a lavish dinner at Taj Bengal, but they will not pay the same price at the street corner’s momo joint. It is because they are paying for the experience, luxury, and comfort.
One of the greatest pioneers of all time to have successfully done this is Steve Jobs. He added beauty to technology and repackaged convenience. If you don’t believe me, look deeper into why Apple became the world’s first trillion-dollar company, even after selling such expensive products. Just imagine!
With that food for thought, I would like to summarize that no matter how advanced our technologies become, everything will fall short if the user experience is not addressed. Human needs include the overall look and feel to be guided through a seamless experience