User Experience Pro Kyle Lacy, OpenView Partners
Storytelling Innovator Series

Interview: OpenView’s Kyle Lacy Talks User Experience in Modern Marketing

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The Innovator Series is back with a bang.

This week, we have Kyle Lacy, head of marketing strategy and overall UX expert at OpenView Venture Partners, a venture capital firm focusing on software and tech. At OpenView, Lacy and his team create and distribute content that drives digital marketing and sales success for companies across the globe. Previously, Lacy led the global content marketing team for ExactTarget and the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

In our interview, we talked about ways brands can deliver an exceptional user experience, the importance of analyzing user data to connect with audiences, and how Europe parties harder than America.

As marketers turn more and more to technology to communicate with their audiences, how can they make sure not to lose the ability to communicate?

I think communication in the marketing sense has to be personal. So as marketers start using more and more marketing automation, more technology, getting more customers, and expanding services and offerings, data is probably the most important component of personalized communication. Your ability to manage very specific data points around action that your customers or consumers are taking is extremely important to personalized communication in general.

The best quote I’ve ever heard and I use all the time [from David Walmsley] is, “We must move from numbers keeping score to numbers that drive better actions.” I think that’s the essence of great marketing and great communication—your ability to create better action on behalf of your brand.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received about how to create a great UX?

There are a couple of things. One thing that I learned here at OpenView is persona-based UX. If I am a CMO, I’m going to want to see different pieces of content for a CMO. It goes back to the original comment, which is creating personalized content.

At a higher level, the best piece of advice I ever received about UX is to make it responsive. It still pains me that all Web interfaces are not responsive. It’s so easy to do, and it’s detrimental if you’re not doing it.

Which brands offer the best user experiences? What makes them stand out?

From an app perspective, the best user experience that I’ve ever received is the Delta Airlines app, and the Chase Bank app. However, it’s interesting because the Chase website is the worst thing on the face of the Earth. So, you can tell the user style and that’s what’s being made into a certain thing—not necessarily a bad thing, but Delta and Chase from a mobile app perspective are probably the best.

In terms of a website, it’s about 11 years old but Google’s is still very good. I would argue that all of their software—analytics and AdWords—needs work. But from a search perspective, their UX is great.

I’ll give you one more. Warby Parker has a great UX. Very easy to use, great use of white space.

What are the first steps marketers can take to correct a brand that offers a poor user experience?

First, look at your analytics and your keymaps. Check out what the hell people are doing on your website. You should have been doing that already.

Go to a company called UserTesting, and have them analyze your website. They do hands-on UX testing with millions of people and give complete feedback for what you should change and what’s confusing to a mobile user.

When we rebuilt our last site, we did both those things. We looked at analytics on where people were clicking and what needed to be redesigned, and then we used user testing to test the new designs and change the site based on the feedback. Like, “I couldn’t figure out how to subscribe,” or “That button doesn’t look right.” That kind of stuff.

What are some of the best methods for ensuring that marketers serve their audience and not themselves?

Number one is clean data. You can tell that it’s all going back to data.

Number two is an actual stack that works—so software that works together and has integrations between each other, not ones that stand alone. Software that stands alone and isn’t integrated is old and will die in the near future.

The third would be user-generated content. You have clean data, your systems are working effectively so you’re actually communicating with people the way they want, and then you’re allowing them to create content for you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create your own content, but it means that you should allow your customers and users to create stories as well. You should have a mix of both.

You’ve written two books for dummies. Twitter Marketing for Dummies and Social CRM for Dummies. If you were to write a third book for dummies, what would be the topic and why?

That’s a great question. Without researching, it would definitely be either User Experience for Dummies or The Customer Journey for Dummies. They’re kind of the same thing…

What have you learned from your time traveling the world presenting at conferences?

Everybody has the same problem. Doesn’t matter if you’re in Germany or Salt Lake City or Sydney, Austrailia—everybody has the same issues when it comes to technology and marketing. It might be different levels, but it’s all the same.

Also, after-parties are way better outside the United States.

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