There are two different approaches to gain business success. One worked in the recent past and the other works in the digital present.
In the recent past, FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) products dominated the market and determined business principles, user behaviors and the mindset of successful entrepreneurs.
One of the core challenges of that time was to find ways to sell millions of goods in a world of high competition, distribution barriers and expensive promotion. To overcome this gap, marketing became the key concept to ensure success.
To make a profit in the marketing age, you had to operate in the right way, using the basis of marketing methodology: the 4Ps (Product, Price, Promotion, Place). For example, it wasn't enough to have a recipe for a tasty drink to conquer the market. You had to create attractive packaging, work on the distribution to stores, choose the right price to compete with other drinks and ensure remarkable above and below-the line promotion to generate demand.
This was a standard way to conquer market share─ consumers get a desire for the product by a “tasty” ad, and, at the local store, they notice the product in front of them once more on the first shelf, right at eye level, surrounded by POS (point of sale) advertising at a glance. They put the product in the basket and... voila! Mission complete!
The digitalization of the world has completely changed the rules of the game. Digital products differ from FMCG because they have the capability to be easier and faster, adapting to the growing customer expectations and needs. Digital products also have direct distribution and don’t need mediators or expensive offline logistics. Digital products can serve customers directly from any place in the world. All you need is a good internet connection. Digital promotion is also accessible to everyone through social networks and content aggregators even in the absence of an advertising budget. Digital pricing models have become so advanced that you can make a profit without even selling a product, for example from third-party advertising or commissioning. This generates a wide range of product opportunities for customers to choose from.
Which products will the customer choose? The one that solves their problems in the easiest, quickest and most pleasant way, of course. The lack of a delightful experience often creates a gap on the product’s path to digital demand.
This way, an experience becomes the main differentiator in the digital age. It doesn’t mean that marketing is no longer needed, but, at the end of the day, it will not save your digital product from an unpleasant user experience.
The main difference between being a successful entrepreneur in the marketing age and digital age is to switch the focus from selling to delivering a valuable experience. What was efficient to bridge the market gap a few decades ago has now become a waste of time and money because of digital disruption. Instead of conquering the market share, we should make our products a significant part of our customers’ lifestyle using the power of design.
Accordingly, we must use different tools to achieve that. Instead of marketing methodology and the 4Ps comes the three pyramids of the Financial UX Design methodology. Instead of perceiving customers as targets to manipulate and make a profit, we develop a brand new mindset of treating users as friends and serving their needs.
There are many who seem to adapt well to this ideology, having posters on the wall saying “we have now become a user-centered company” and using UX, CX and Design thinking as buzzwords in marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, these are often just empty words that are not based on cultural shifts or actions. In such cases, UX is used just as another marketing tool because it's trendy.
Maybe this can attract media attention, but it will not help create a demanded digital product. An experience approach doesn’t help if you are stuck in the mindset of the marketing age. Users easily detect such tricks and express their concerns through social media platforms.
Throughout the years working with multiple financial organizations, we have ensured that true success in the digital age is guaranteed only if the company is open to the new rules of the game and eager to work hard on implementing them. If you want to gain success in the digital age, you have to adapt an experience mindset, centered on user needs, feelings and behaviors.
It all starts with ourselves. Only by switching from a marketing mindset to an experience mindset can it be possible to create a business culture that's able to use the power of design to bridge the gap between failure and success.