UX and CX, So What’s the Difference?

Dave BarbellaArticle


a.k.a. CX, moving beyond UX into the full Customer Experience

User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX), at a glance, might seem like the same thing. A user is a customer, and a customer is a user, right? It’s true, they are, but there’s a deeper strategic definition we consider in the marketing agency world.

It’s about understanding both the performance and effectiveness of individual products & assets, along with how they all collaborate for the seamless and well strategized ecosystem that is the sum of them all.

Let’s touch on UX – User Experience:

We look at the user experience of each of our marketing assets and ensure they capture their intended audience and lead them through the converting goal: A sale, a contact, a collection of info, or move them forward to the next step in their customer experience (you may now be seeing the bigger picture, via that last statement).

What are our marketing assets?
Some examples would be:

  • Inbound and Outbound Marketing items
    • Social Media, Blogging, Podcasts, Whitepapers, eBooks, Email Marketing, SEO, SEM PPC, SEM Display Advertising, Print Advertisements, Radio and TV
  • Website Properties
    • Full Websites (larger in scale), Marketing Microsites, Landing Pages (lead generation, or tailored landing for your marketing items)
  • Relationship Building and Followups
    • Post-first-touch emails, and display advertising to keep you top of mind in your customer’s experience

Now, the above can also be an example of a customers journey. Imagine they see your latest social posts (as they read it, they are “using” it) and maybe they’ll click through to your Landing Page or perhaps they’ll do so when seeing your promotional Email. In each of these marketing assets,  is a specific User Experience in terms of the copy, content, creative etc. that strategically leads and entices the user to engage and continue the user along their customer journey.

Once we’ve received them on our Landing Page, we have a crafted User Experience to convert them (to whatever our goal is). Then the Customer Experience journey (again, it’s coming together…. In the journey) continues as we increase the relationship with followup touches and communications that keeps the customer engaged (and not overdo it which risks annoyance).

There’s a good chance this next summary isn’t needed anymore, but since we’re on a roll together, why not put a bow on it.

How it all comes together

The Customer Experience / CX is the seamless, consistent, and tactically strategized ecosystem of all assets and properties working together in branded harmony. Each complimenting another with consistent messaging and presentation.

User Experience, is the individual strategy of copy, content, presentation, and functionally applied to each item with the over-arching strategy of the full Customer Experience umbrella.

Ok, I admit, this is still the surface. The Customer Experience goes deeper into the business process, and environment of the company represented (there needs to be a clean and clear strategy driving, executing, and fulfilling on all of this).

Surface level or not, understanding the importance of the individual User Experience, in concert with the overall Customer Experience journey, is a necessary core competency….. if together, we are to succeed.