FORTUNE -- The clear separation between consumer brands and business-to-business brands is fast disappearing, with profound implications for how companies plan, develop, design, and market their products and services.
In many ways, this evolution was inevitable. Our smartphone, tablet, and app-enabled age raised customer expectations. Whatever we do at home, at play, or at work, we expect fast connectivity, sparkling content, and intuitive and easy-to-navigate digital tools. The standard is the same for a consumer booking a flight or shopping for shoes, as well as a business buying jet engines or financial services software: The user experience is paramount. The concept of the consumer user as distinct from the business user is gone; everyone is the consumer all the time, which is why diverse companies today place a high value on User Experience (UX), the sum of all interactions with a brand's products and services. Traditionally the domain of consumer brands wooing shoppers on short sales cycles, UX is gaining influence in a wide range of sectors courting rationally minded business buyers.