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Category: Best Practices

Interview with Amanda Holtstrom from Opentext at the Canada 3.0 Forum

The Tie that Binds Great Design: Marketers Must Be Conversation Starters (Part 1)

I interviewed Amanda Holtstrom, Senior Product Designer for Opentext, at the Canada 3.0 Forum. We discussed how user experience has evolved as key area of focus for the development and implementation of enterprise (B2B) software solutions.

If you are in the enterprise software business, presumably your company will create products that will provide a solution and resolve a pain point within an organization (CRM, content management, project management software, supply chain, database management, data mining, data analytics etc.). In Opentext’s case, they are masters of content management and create solutions to deal with the massive amounts of
data being produced by modern corporations. As Amanda points out, often times enterprise software will solve a problem for the IT department, but unless those who are expected to use your solution fully embrace this new piece of software, the relationship and the product are destined for failure.

I would guess that someone who has worked for a number of years in a sales or marketing department of a large company has seen quite a few losers in terms of enterprise solutions. Think for a second about where those that failed went
wrong. Implementing enterprise software across a large organization can be a costly and time-consuming affair, fraught with many challenges for the IT department. An implementation gone wrong can be very wasteful for organization, not just in terms of costs but also productivity, morale and losing valuable data. Check out this ArgoWiki
page on some of the most spectacular enterprise software failures in recent

But this post is on what happens before and after the implementation. It is about
communication driving great design, and great design driving user adoption. This is where marketers can make the difference.


Adwords Costs and Quality Score

Dogwalker ad Since Google has built a reputation as the premier search engine based on its ability to display the most relevant search results (on both organic and paid/PPC listing), it rewards advertisers whose ads are most relevant to the keywords they are targeted at. So Google gives every Adwords ad a Quality Score, and the higher your score, the less you have to pay to rank well.

There are three major factors that impact your Quality Score: (1) relevance of the ad content to the keyword you bid on, (2) relevance of the landing page to your ad, and (3) the click-through-rate (CTR) that your ads receive.

Keyword Relevance
When you place an ad through Adwords, it contains several elements that affect relevancy: title, text, and display URL. The more relevant the title, text, and display URL are to the search query, the better Quality Score your ad will receive.

For instance, let’s say you bid on the keyword “dog walkers,” and the title of your ad is “Dog Walkers,” your ad text is “Find dog walkers in your area,” and the URL is “” You will receive a higher quality score because all elements (title, text, and URL) of your PPC ad feature the keywords that you bid on.

Landing Page
Since Google wants its users to find the most relevant pages, even if you are paying to have those users come visit your site, it will also gauge the relevancy of your ad’s landing page. Be sure to develop landing pages that are targeted for each of your ad campaigns – i.e. relevant to the keywords you bid on – instead of linking the ads to your home page, which may be
too general for the specific advertised products or services you’re

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Putting the Social Back in Social Media

My Mum isn’t on Myspace or Facebook. She’s never heard of Twitter. She thinks YouTube is a deodorant stick and suspects that Widgets are things that “certain” people keep in their bedside tables.

With all the proliferation of apps and platforms in the social media space these days, it’s easy to get caught up in the slipstream of progress and forget the mainstream.  The odd Joe the Plumber may have an iPhone and highspeed access, but the majority of North America is still having trouble remembering their ATM PIN numbers let alone their online passwords.

Which is why I have to remind myself on the days when I’m carried away with the possibilities of some new, cool functionality that the majority of the guests and authors who frequent the Community don’t really care so much about the technology — it’s the social aspect of the community that the technology enables that they care about. They’re coming to us to make friends and meet fellow readers and share information on their favorite books and authors.

Community Managers and Authors from Harlequin

Now, this emphasis on the social doesn’t mean that they’ll accept clunky interfaces and awkward, non-intuitive site architecture. But, for my mind, my core tasks as Community Manager are:

  • develop content to meet and exceed their expectations;
  • distribute it using the technology and tools that won’t overwhelm them;
  • and help them form relationships. 

We facilitate conversation in an easy to use, safe and entertaining environment.  And although I’m an early technology adopter and have beta-tested more platforms and services than I care to admit, I need to be mindful that my key audience is much further behind me on the learning curve and remember what all this technology is supposed to be enabling in the first place.