Digital success is a relatively new concept in marketing, especially when one thinks that the Wide World Web was first tested in 1990. It’s taken a few years for businesses to catch up and embrace the idea that a website could be useful to their customers, and therefore their growth too. As surprising as it sounds, there’s a factor that is essential to digital success, and that is very new to the business strategy: Users. Building your solution to meet users’ needs and behaviors is key to the success of your strategy.
As users are the core of your customers, digital success relies on the ability to maximize users’ patterns of interactions and decision-making using digital technology as a medium. While user-centric strategies are part of the everyday marketing approach, understanding the importance of user testing and user behavior in a technical and non-marketing environment is an ongoing process that requires specialist skills.
User-Centric Trends Are Not New
By placing the user at the center of their strategic input, marketers are producing new trends and approaches to reach the ever-evolving user. Some have even chosen to make the most of the users by inviting influential social media users, vloggers and bloggers to promote the business online. Getting influential users on board is easier than it sounds, especially as in the case of bloggers or vloggers, all you need is to mail them a sample of your product. However, this kind of user-tailored campaigns works best for B2C beauty and household products as well as fashion retailers. Additionally, the past decade has shown an increase in the use of mobile marketing. The reason for it is that users are becoming more and more dependent on mobile interactions to find the closest shop, buy the latest trends or book an appointment. There’s nothing new about keeping your digital presence responsive and mobile-friendly. But there are still companies that have not made the move towards a mobile-accessible design. The role of marketers is to deliver the right message, at the right time and on the right platform to the right users. Without user knowledge, there can be no marketing success. This argument is valid outside of the marketer domain too.
Even outside of the marketing interest, users remain a key element to the success of the technology. Indeed, the backbone of software development is beta testing and user involvement. After all, each software product has to be developed with the end user in mind, whether it is a customer, an employee or the audience of large clients. Developing a product that doesn’t respond to the needs, desires and specification of the user is the certain path to failure. Including users in the development phase and the testing phase is the best way to gather feedback, identify issues, and improve the products to meet their expectations. Naturally, this process requires solid and efficient communication with the building team, stakeholders, users, and project managers. Agile methodologies or SCRUM methods, for instance, encourage a development process that develops multiple versions of the same products as a result of interactions with stakeholders and end users.
You Need People Who Can Create Around Users’ Needs
However, implementing an Agile method is pointless if you don’t work with the right kind of user-centric roles. You need people who can build a solution that combines the users’ needs and the stakeholders’ wishes. In the digital world, you will find that individuals with professional graphic design skills and programming knowledge are best-suited for the tasks. Why these two? Because the graphic designer is the person who creates the public front end for your product, whether it is a website, an app, a digital tool, etc. As such, the front end needs to be understandable and user-friendly, as well as aesthetically pleasing. The programmer is responsible for the back end of your solution and making sure that it performs just as the user expects.
You Need People Who Understand Your Users
Naturally, you need to keep an eye on how users behave when they use your solution. Running user feedback meetings is helpful, but users may not find it easy to explain how they struggle with a solution or to identify issues. Thankfully analyzing their behavior can provide the answers you need. Digital solutions, from websites to apps should focus on simple indicators that show how users interactions with the tool. For a start, identifying popular user paths, which is the flow of pages and pieces of content that users follow the most. If you work with Google Analytics, this is called the behavior flow report, and it provides helpful information about how people use your digital tool or website. More importantly, it highlights performing paths and areas where your visitors or users tend to bounce off, therefore offering a palette of improvement suggestions.