UX for B2B Brands: What happens next?
At the core of the best user experiences is a mindset, an approach to problem solving that thinks holistically about the entire experience. The best experiences, regardless of how technically advanced or simple they are, consistently and accurately answer one question; "what happens next?"
So what does all that really mean?
A client recently asked about incorporating mobile into a marketing campaign.
During our discovery process, we learned that a recent eMarketer study of the U.S. business population showed that roughly 28% of C-suite execs used mobile devices and 21% used tablets to gather purchase information. That trend has continued to increase over the past few years, resulting in an increasing number of mobile optimized web properties.
In actuality, our client's email and brand.com statistics were reporting mobile viewing around 10% of the total audience, far less than the aggregate industry trends, placing the need for a full fledged mobile program in question.
Is our audience really there? How much do we need to optimize for? Is our marketing spend going to justify the return?
Our recommendation opted for "smart" integration. The core elements of the campaign would be optimized for mobile; making use of standards-based design and development methodologies, ensuring consistent delivery across multiple devices, leaner production costs for the project and an overall tighter budget and spend of marketing dollars.
The approach consisted of email and direct mail marketing working in concert with a registration (lead capture) form on their corporate website. The email and registration page would also be optimized for the mobile web and he direct mail would also incorporate the use of a QR (quick response) code to enable rapid, in-hand, sign up for the program.
The addition of mobile optimization evolved our approach to planning the campaign. The recipients of the marketing materials now had multiple options for engaging the new program. Users could view an email on their desktop, tablet or mobile device, scan a QR code with their smart phone, or enter a URL within a browser. The new approach allowed users to engage the content in several ways; but multiple touch points, on multiple devices, meant more room for error in the seamless delivery of the campaign.
As we entered the planning stage of the project, diagramming the entire brand experience became paramount to ensure we optimized for every angle.
This method integrated the use of mobile directly into the user experience of the entire campaign. Not only from a digital perspective, but from a holistic brand perspective as well; maintaining the visual integrity of the brand across print, digital channels and devices while delivering a clean, intuitive and pleasant brand experience.
Special attention was paid to the creation of mobile-optimized versions of both the email and the registration page. The visual design and fluid development approach delivered a more pleasant reading experience of the content; as well as an optimized, intuitive experience as the user moves through the registration process regardless of how they access the content (mobile or desktop).
So how can I apply this knowledge to my B2B brand?
1. Know who's looking. Perform due diligence to learn where and how your audience is digesting your content to ensure that the time, energy and cost associated with the additional work is worth the investment.
2. Think it through. Put yourself in the driver's seat and walk though the steps. Where are the pitfalls? What doesn't make sense? Where could you find frustration?
3. Sketch it out. Drawing, sketching or diagramming user experiences can reveal problems and opportunities that writing simply can't. Diagramming the experience can assist in communicating the solution's complexity, scale and details.
4. Answer the question. "What happens next?"
Andrew Schultz is an Associate Creative Director at Garfield Group. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn. Garfield Group is an agency focused on delivering measurable business results to a client roster ranging from small startups to industry powerhouses. Positioning brands for maximum growth, Garfield Group applies innovative, strategies to drive objectives and surpass expectations through branding initiatives, digital campaigns and targeted offline tactics. For more insights from Garfield Group, visit The Lab and follow up on Twitter @garfieldgroup
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