Moving From Digital Marketer to UX Designer
How to apply your skills and experience to UX design.
If you have worked in a digital marketing position, you have more than likely either worked with a UX designer, or acted like one without knowing it.
Like most people, I learned about UX design by working with a designer through my marketing position. I got more excited by her job than my own, and it reminded me why I got into marketing in the first place.
I thought that I would be solving problems and get to be creative at the same time — yeah, it wasn’t like that. You know what is? UX design.
I realized that if I had known about UX design in college, I would have taken that path rather than marketing. Well, it’s not too late. Not for me, and not for you.
There are skills from your marketing position that you can apply to UX design that will make learning and performing a lot easier. You are essentially adjusting and adding to a skillset that you already have.
There is no need to start over.
Research is a huge part of both marketing and UX design, neither would be able to perform well without it.
Marketers have to research their industry, competitors, customers, and more in order to create and execute conversion efforts.
UX designers have to conduct competitive and user research before touching pen to paper in order to construct the best user experience.
The researching methods used by marketers are generally the same as those used by UX designers. Focus groups, user interviews, surveys, looking at competitors’ websites/products are methods used by both marketers and designers.
Understanding the target audience
Understanding your target audience is essential in both marketing and UX design.
The process generally starts out the same. You determine your target audience/users’ demographics and psychographics as well as conduct interviews to develop personas.
Where the fork begins is what you’re trying to learn about your target audience/user. Marketers try to understand what motivates the target audience to convert, while the UX designer tries to understand the user’s needs, wants, and goals.
Asking ‘so what’ when it comes to content
Marketing tends to involve a lot of writing. Whether its copywriting, web content, social media posts, or blog articles, marketers are supposed to ask themselves ‘so what?’. Every piece of content, every word, should have a purpose. No fluff.
If you include the fact that your company was founded in 1910 on your website, you have to know why you’re mentioning it. If you don’t know why, you get rid of it.
User experience design is similar.
If you include a feature, there needs to be a reason why. No fluff. Not only is this important to keep things decluttured, but you have to use your resources wisely rather than waste them on features that serve no purpose.
Wearing a lot of hats
If you have worked in the marketing department of any company other than a mega-corporation, you should be familiar with wearing a lot of hats.
Paid ads, SEO, social media management, content creation, writing, internal communications, email campaigns, and even UX design all fall under the marketing umbrella. Companies without endless resources often have a small marketing department where all of these duties fall onto very few people.
With UX design being a much newer field, it has even fewer resources allocated to it. You will often see job postings for UX designers that includes all the duties of a user researcher, UX designer, user interface designer, graphic designer, and developer (yeah, try to avoid these jobs).
More often than not, you will at least be expected to do some interface design along with your normal UX design duties.
Ability to present and defend your choices
One of the most difficult and most important parts of marketing is being able to present and defend your choices. If you fail to do this, your projects will more than likely be shot down by the higher-ups.
Something that you find in marketing that you will also find in UX design is that everyone thinks that they know how to do your job better than you.
It is your job to explain your design decisions effectively and to be prepared to defend them. Resources are limited, and you need to prove why you need and deserve them.
Once you get the ‘okay’ from the higher-ups, you’re going to have to work with other stakeholders.
In marketing, you may have to work with other marketers, salespeople, developers, and others depending on your project. You have to be able to effectively communicate with other departments to achieve your collective goal.
UX design is mostly the same in regards to whom you’ll be working with, except you will primarily be working with other designers, including user interface designers, as well as developers.
In both fields, you cannot finish a project without mutual understanding and cooperation between departments.
Ultimately, the bridge from marketing to UX design is short and strong, you’re just building on and adjusting skills that you already have.
Chances are you’ve built a user persona before.
Chances are you’ve worked on a website.
Chances are you’ve considered the user experience before, even if the goal was for a conversion.
Chances are you have the foundation that you need to understand UX processes and concepts quickly.
In my opinion, user experience design is all of the best parts of marketing, plus more creativity and purpose. While marketing is for the company’s benefit, user experience is for the customer’s benefit, and I find that to be much more motivating.
Digital marketing and UX design are close enough in methodology that you can use 100% of the knowledge that you have gained from studying and/or working in the marketing field. You will more than likely have to work with the marketing department as a UX designer, so you will be able to empathize and communicate more effectively than other designers.
I’ll leave you with this. The time that you have spent in marketing has not been wasted. It has been time spent laying the foundation for your UX design career.