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Peter Ramsey on focusing on profitability and investing in UX during a recession
Product State Q&A
Peter Ramsey is the founder of Built for Mars, a UX consultancy and community for designers. He is also an Entrepreneur in Residence at early-stage venture capital firm Creandum. He was formerly the founder and CEO at Movem.
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EC: Now that ‘growth-at-all-costs’ is out for most tech companies, how do you make the case that investing in UX should be priority?
PR: If you cannot just pay to acquire new users, you need to get better at keeping the ones you do. UX — that reduces churn — often lowers your customer acquisition costs.
It's a play on efficiency.
I published a presentation made on exactly this topic: ‘The ROI of investing in UX during a recession.’ Here are some highlights:
Focus on profitability — invest in UX
Increase conversion trends:Lower customer acquisition costs, by having a higher-converting onboarding process.
Decrease churn: Stop users getting bored quickly. Demonstrate your value early.
Increase margins: People pay more for better products. Higher LTV.
Obsess about the core — invest in your core product team
Obsess over the core user experience: When was the last time you created a new account? Or gave it to your parents to try? This should be the whole team.
Refocus on what’s wrong today: Pressure to release new major features leads to technical debt. This is when you should be tidying up what exists.
Don’t lose users: Care more about why people stop using your service.
EC: What are some UX trends that product and design leaders need to pay close attention to?
PR: I'm not sure that there are many UX 'trends,’ because UX is typically anti-fashion.
i.e., Stuff that people found awkward to use 3 years ago, is probably still awkward.
I actually think that UI goes through fashion trends, but UX is fairly grounded in psychology and human behaviour.
That said, there are broader trends that provide insights for product leaders.
EC: What should Design leaders seek when hiring UX Researchers?
PR: UX, as a role in general, is both more specialized, and more broad.
Everyone should have a basic understanding of UX, in the same way that developers all unskilled on basic SEO 10 years ago.
Developers, product managers, CEOs, and investors should all be thinking about UX. That gives the company an incentive to hire someone particularly specialized, to lead the initiative.
So when hiring researchers:
What knowledge and experience do they have in your space?
What knowledge and experience do they have with users in a similar cohort to yours?
Like financial analysts, people often cover a particular industry, UX researchers should go super niche on one topic. (i.e., FinTech).
“UX — that reduces churn — often lowers your customer acquisition costs.”
- Peter Ramsey
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