How you can leverage UX design processes for your digital acquisition marketing strategy

This article outlines some of the overlaps between UX and marketing and practical exercises.


Rosh Ghedia

3 years ago | 4 min read

You may have heard the phrase “marketing and design are different sides of the same coin.” This couldn’t be truer than it is today due to the digital phenomenon that is changing our world and the abundance of touchpoints influencing every customer’s decision.

UX design and digital acquisition marketing both follow an iterative process, with the needs and wants of customers being at the heart of it.

Understanding how to apply a design thinking process to marketing strategies and campaigns is just as important as creating robust measurement goals and multivariate testing when designing, which is so prevalent in acquisition marketing.

Although some processes and deliverables do vary, there are major overlaps and commonalities between the two disciplines. The double diamond model below from the design council shows the divergent and convergent processes involved in developing design solutions.

I will not be covering all the overlapping categories between UX and marketing as there are many, however, I have highlighted the ones I will be below, which can be applied to improve acquisition marketing efforts.

The Double Diamond model showcasing UX Design processes
The Double Diamond model showcasing UX Design processes

Discovering the problems that need to be solved

Digital acquisition marketers and designers both critically evaluate what the business and users need by asking questions to clarify why help is needed and for who. It is paramount to understand what problems are important for the business to solve and how much they are willing to spend to solve them.

Agreeing on KPI’s and other performance metrics at this stage is crucial to understanding what success means in the short and long term, and what strategies can be used to get there. We can form hypothesises at this stage of what potential outcomes could look like.

In addition to scoping out the landscape using competitor analysis and social listening tools, it is important for digital marketers to speak to real users to build empathy and understand their goals, motivations and pain points to advertise to them in a compelling way.

Whether it’s through contextual inquiry or interviews, digital marketers can get a better grasp of how to angle their content for different user groups, which channel strategies to use, and how they can run more effective campaigns by truly understanding what users value through direct conversations.

As we are selling to and designing for users, we also need to use the correct research methods to ensure we get useful research to solve the right problems. Although certain changes through testing can be made quickly in acquisition marketing, consistently promoting messages which don’t resonate with users could potentially harm the brand.

Therefore, conducting qualitative user research and mini user tests on campaign variables such as ad copy, headlines, images and long-form content could help construct better ads before launch.

Defining how to solve problems through UX mapping methods and a storyboard

When defining who to advertise to or building products and services for, UX mapping methods can help build empathy with the user, understand the situation(s) the user is in, and how the product or service can be integrated into their day. For digital advertisers, this can help to create content hooks.

For example, inclusive design highlights permanent, temporary and situational disabilities one might have in any given day. By understanding that a mother with a new-born baby might have a situational disability of having only one arm at her disposal, digital marketers can demonstrate how a given product can be operated singlehandedly.

Understanding a day in the user’s life through an experience map

An experience map can help envision what the user does within a specific time period, the tasks they carry out, and the emotions they experience throughout.

An experience map template
An experience map template

Understanding the true emotional state of the user through an empathy map

An empathy map can help really resonate with the user by diving into what they might potentially say, think, feel and do. By writing specific user quotes under each section, advertisers can use them to create content buckets to fit into an overall strategy.

An empathy map template
An empathy map template

Identifying what problem the product, feature or service is solving for the user through a storyboard

For advertisers, a storyboard can help pinpoint the exact problem at hand and therefore what ad messaging can be used to show users how to solve it.

A storyboard template
A storyboard template

Developing ideas

At this stage, both acquisition marketers and designers can run design studios (ideation workshops) with a handful of participants and use creative techniques to help them ideate. Crazy 8’s is one technique where 8 ideas are sketched in 8 minutes.

For performance marketing, this could be about specific variables to test and prioritise e.g. images, keywords, behaviours and themes to cover for different user groups. By running a timed brainstorming session, both disciplines have the capability of exploring a wide set of ideas, providing feedback and creating a shared vision to move forward with.

Delivering the results and iterating

Digital marketers are able to generate multiple combinations of ads rather quickly, conduct A/B tests to optimise their campaigns quantitatively and invest more in ad permutations that best resonate with their audiences.

However, performance metrics should also be measured qualitatively through user testing as this could provide more insight into why ads may or may not be working. After testing and iterating on designs, it may also be beneficial to conduct a retrospective with team members to identify what you should do start, stop and continue doing.

For more examples on how you can leverage UX processes to your advantage and see them in use, you can read my case studies at

Thank you for stopping by!


Created by

Rosh Ghedia







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