30 September 2008

The marketing view of user-centred design

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User-centred design becomes user-driven innovation when you are dealing with businesses in Central and Northern Europe, and customer-centric marketing when you deal with people working in marketing and branding.

Yet these concepts are not at all the same, and share only superficial similarities.

Case in point is this article from Marketing Daily. Some excerpts:

Combining [qualitative and ethnographic] research, data analytics and sales engagement is a proven approach to building actionable personae that informs hyper-targeting and hyper-messaging for optimal campaign results. […]

The best marketers listen to what audiences think and feel about the brand’s products and services. Smart brands collect and use this learning to build brand promises that are both different from competitors and optimally relevant to the customers they want to attract. […]

A radically customer-centric approach helps identify the likely highest yielding channels through better understanding how customers collect information about competitive products and services. […]

The best technology marketers understand that radical customer-centricity results in more efficient, effective, revenue-generating marketing campaigns.

It is a distressing article that doesn’t contain a word about the value of the products and services themselves.

Frankly I am appalled that this old and dated premise – first you develop a product, then you market it – is still so much alive.

User-centred design is just about the opposite: first you understand the “market”, then you develop the product or service based on this understanding. If you do it that way, the actual “marketing” becomes a piece of cake, as products and services are conceived from end-user needs to begin with.

UPDATE: Apparently, I started a controversy.

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