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Unlocking UX Success: Internally Marketing Your Research

Learn the skill of internal marketing and see your recommendations come to life.

In the world of UX design, Helpfully understands that you have to evangelize your research findings and recommendations internally as well as with external stakeholders if you want your ideas to be adopted and see the light of day. 

At Helpfully’s Mastering Human Insights conference, Bethany McDaniel, a staff researcher at Mailchimp, shared the importance of knowing how to internally market your research. It’s one thing to be a great researcher, but it’s another to be a researcher who can capture insights and share them with others in a way that will get them adopted at production. Bethany’s talk focused on the importance of basic marketing and utilizing the marketing funnel. 

  1. Marketing 101

Marketing at its core is about persuading someone to do something by sending them the right message. The marketing funnel helps you understand where someone is when they receive your message. The pieces to the funnel are: Awareness, Interest, Consider / Desire, Decision / Action, Loyalty. The funnel represents a customer's journey as they move towards an action or decision (such as purchasing a product). A marketer’s goal is to move a customer through this journey and convert them from a shopper to a buyer. It’s about sending the right message to the right person at the right time and in the right place. 

The Marketing Funnel

  1. Applying the marketing funnel

Break it down like this: at the top of the funnel “Awareness.” The right message is the top insight. The right person - the whole company. The right time - when you can align with company priorities. The right place - an all hands meeting. 

Then you move down the funnel to Interest

  • Right Message: Presentation
  • Right Person: Specific Team/Squad
  • Right Time: Quarterly Planning
  • Right Place: Team Ceremony

You’ve figured out that you need to connect with a certain team or squad to get them interested and invested in the research or problem. Connect with them in a smaller and more intimate setting so you can get them interested. Once you have gained interest, you move on. 

You’ve reached Consider or Desire.

  • Right Message: Tactical
  • Right Person: Project Manager, Designer, Engineer
  • Right Time: Roadmap refinement
  • Right Place: Workshop

If you can get your stakeholders to “desire” that this recommendation become a part of production - you can then move to the Decision or Action part of the funnel. From here it is hopefully time to build the feature! Keep in mind this is NOT always linear! This might happen in many different ways, but it is very useful to understand and start using! 

  1. Building a marketing plan 

If you want to start marketing your research, you need to have a plan. Start with creating a communications plan or comms plan. Use the funnel to start understanding where your team and stakeholders might be coming in and what their context, cares, and goals are. Then use the 4 bullet points - right message, right person, right time, and right place. Think about what you hope to get out of it as well! 

Pro Tip: Draft a ‘comms plan’ outline while creating your test plan. 

  1. Personalize the message

Lastly, you need to learn from the attempts you make in explaining and selling research through Personalization and Structured Experimentation.  Make your message yours! Understand your team. You work with them, you should be able to make the message and marketing personal to you and them. Focus on what your goals are. Then test lots of different ways of marketing. Think again about sharing the right message with the right people at the right time and place. This will take some testing, trial, and error. You might try a stand up meeting vs a one on one session. See what works. 

As a researcher, you need to make sure people know about your research and care about it! Focus on what you’ve found, don’t get lost in the weeds, and remember what the stakeholder, your team, and your clients are hoping to get out of the research.

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