Marketing and UX

In some companies it seems as if the Marketing and UX teams have a rivalry going on. Their fight for turf often hurts the company, and it is important these struggles are taken care of and sorted out.


The field of marketing has gone through a similar evolution as the UX field. They had to fight for acknowledgement and had a hard time justifying cost for themselves. A famous quote from John Wanamaker is: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” I would not say that we UX practitioners are wasting half of our money, but it is hard for other business units to really understand our value. Therefore, we are adding more “hard to count” expenses in the company which means it will be harder to allocate resources.

In the early days, UX was a small portion of a company. It was often embedded in the engineering/R&D department and our focus has always been to understand the users and make products they enjoy. Initially, the main focus was on making things usable, but as Design Thinking grew in popularity, UX has been moving more towards making things pleasurable and identifying opportunities for innovation.

Who is on whose turf?

No questions about it, both UX and marketing are on each other’s turf. Marketing used to own the customer insights and feed this into the company. They reported on trends in the market, including topics such as what products were more/less popular. Through our role as UXers, we take away from the company’s perceived importance of marketing in providing customer insights.

On the other hand, both User Experience and Design Thinking stems from the R&D/Product Design. So this would mean UX should be in charge of improving products and identifying innovation opportunities by understanding user needs. The Marketing field has developed Customer Experience, and one part of customer experience is exploring opportunities for innovation. In this instance, the marketing department has moved into the UX turf.

A path for the future

Within each company, it is important that there is a clear division between the two fields, but also allow some overlap. In my opinion, Marketing should focus on the larger market trends and function like a marketing agency that can aid in product marketing, whereas UX should focus on the R&D, including innovation and enhancing products.

The area of overlap and collaboration is customer/user insights. Even if this is assigned to one or the other, no one should ever truly own it. This information is so critical to a company’s success that it need to be shared throughout the entire company. The only way to achieve this is too burying our hatchets and work together, having regular meetings between the teams where you discuss new insights discovered, initiatives under way, and any potential joint efforts.


Both the marketing and UX field are moving towards each other, and we are infringing upon each other. The fight between us is hurting the company so we have to find a solution to the problem. My recommended solution is to find clear division on some parts, but to always share the customer/user insights, as we can help each other to achieve greater success for the company.

© David Juhlin and, 2017