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Microelements: The Marketing/CX Muscle You Didn’t Know You Needed

By Shashi Seth

If you’re looking for more ways to level up in marketing and customer experience, come see what we’re building for you at

When people interact with brands, it’s because they want something—either to learn something, do something, buy something, or go somewhere.

A marketer’s reason for being is to find out what people want and demonstrate that their brand can make it happen. Take yourself for example. You’re reading this blog post because you’re searching for new information. As someone who builds products for marketers, my mission is to educate and help enable you to do your job better.

I’d like to do so by calling attention to something that many marketers might not pay as much attention to as they should, yet it can be a vital aspect of an asset or campaign: the microelement.

Digital microelements are details—subtle animations, design, and microcopy—that expand on pure functionality to help people get what they want from an interaction with a brand, either by making it easier, more enjoyable, or more fulfilling.

Microelements can offer useful instruction or clarification. Think: a snippet of text below a form field letting you know to, please, keep your password between 9-13 characters. Or they might provide a visible feedback loop, like a button that changes color so you know your click was recorded. They might even offer accountability when something goes awry, to the tune of a self-deprecating error page to diffuse your annoyance after following a dead link.

Microelements go beyond what people want from a brand interaction to deliver what they expect in addition—like how you wanted that link to take you somewhere and expected some explanation for why it didn’t. In fact, many UX designers say that microelements can actually change people’s habits as they interact with brands, raising their expectations and inspiring marketers to continue reaching for that next rung.

Whether you’re marketing to a prospect, serving a customer or anything in between, small-and-mighty microelements are what transform simple interactions—transfers of information, actions taken, transactions completed, and moves made—into true experiences. And that’s music to a marketer’s ear, as each experience is an opportunity to reinforce value, infuse personality, and evoke emotion.

But a microelement’s true magic is the ability to deliver the unexpected, helping marketers reach higher still by building experiences that surprise, delight, and reward the customer—even as their expectations grow.

And they’re growing. According to Gartner’s latest Customer Experience in Marketing survey, 82% of B2B CMOs and 76% of their B2C counterparts expected to compete mainly on the basis of customer experience in 2019. As a marketer, you’ve likely heard it said that experience is the new brand. So, if people interact with brands because they want something, you can bet your marketing stripes—as I’m betting mine now—that that “thing” is an experience. The good news? You’ve put on some microelement muscle to help you climb to the top.


If you’re looking for more ways to level up in marketing and customer experience, come see what we’re building for you at