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For a Better Customer Experience, Make Your Buying Process Less Efficient



For a Better Customer Experience, Make Your Buying Process Less Efficient

We ordered Domino’s pizza last weekend.

I know, I know. But hang with me for a moment.

Do you know the scene in the movie Reality Bites where they order Domino’s pizza and Lelaina, played by Winona Ryder, asks, “Do they take checks?”

The last time I ordered Domino’s, that movie was a year old. That’s right. It’s been 28 years.

In the mid-1990s, apps, websites, and pizza trackers didn’t exist. Someone would hang a Domino’s magnet showing its menu on your doorknob, and you’d take it inside and attach it to your fridge. On that menu was … wait for it … pizza. Large or small. 11 toppings. Thick or regular crust.

In 1995, ordering Domino’s pizza was an inherently efficient transaction. I called, ordered the number of pizzas, and specified the toppings. Thirty efficient minutes later, the pizza arrived at my door.

Domino’s became known for that – average, efficient pizza.

@Robert_Rose delivers a #ContentMarketing lesson after he orders @Domino’s pizza for the first time in 28 years via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

So last week, after three neighbors said we were “missing out,” we ordered Domino’s. I approach the 2023 experience with a 28-year-old expectation for the Domino’s customer experience – an average, efficient pizza.

Domino’s iPhone app stepped up on the “efficient.” The menu has expanded to include chicken, tater tots, sandwiches, pasta, salads, and desserts plus five pizza crust options, but the app got me through all those choices efficiently. I ordered a few pizzas and went a little wild by ordering the cheesy tater tots (don’t judge). The GPS-suggested delivery address was spooky in its accuracy, and away my order went.

Less than 30 minutes later, Domino’s average, efficient pizza and tater tots arrived at my door.


The ‘right’ way to buy

When I shared the experience with the friends who recommended Domino’s, they scoffed. “You didn’t do it right,” they said. “You have to customize and always ask for double cheese. You need to add garlic. The basic tots are fine, but the cheddar bacon tots are killer.”

I was fascinated. They indicated the “meh” experience was somehow my fault. I had manifested the suboptimal experience because I didn’t take enough time to order.

I don’t necessarily disagree. But my experience with Domino’s is a great lesson for B2B marketers who facilitate complex sales.

Can friction be a good thing?

Over the last 20 years or so, marketers have worked hard to reduce or remove friction in the buying process. You may have implemented digital technology that said it would “remove the friction from the customer journey.” You’ve streamlined your websites, thinned the product pages, and provided sales enablement scenarios so tightly scripted as to eliminate any ability for a sales rep to “read the room.”

But B2B products and services are complex. Your many “toppings” and “sides” can differentiate your solution or at least make it more contextually valuable to a customer. For example, “marketing cloud” and “marketing hub” technology products offer so many choices. Whether it’s HubSpot, Oracle, Salesforce, or Adobe, their clients haven’t a clue of all the components in the complete package.

Balancing the B2B customer’s journey presents a challenge: How do you offer customized choices without overwhelming the customer?

You introduce friction that may slow down – or pause – the buyer’s journey and provide value that ultimately enhances their overall experience.

Introduce friction to slow down buyers so they appreciate customized choices without being overwhelmed, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

I’ve seen a few successful methods used by B2B companies.

Use content-generated data to tailor and prioritize

Many B2B companies use first-party data to get personal rather than to help them target a solution for the person. They focus on the data fields that capture the who and almost ignore the buyer’s why or what.

A smarter B2B content marketing strategy tags data with attributes so you can refine the suggested solutions or highlight unique features that will prompt the customer to pause and become aware of that unique combination.

Default feature packages can differentiate

I learned this lesson the hard way. As the CMO of an enterprise web content management company, I believed one of the greatest features was our flexible approach to content translation and localization. Our customers couldn’t dream up a scenario that we couldn’t meet. We thought it removed friction because if a customer asked, “Can you handle our translation and workflow process,” we would confidently say, “Yes.” However, the brand continually lost customers to solutions with only one translation and localization method.

It turns out customers – on the whole – sought an alternative because they were dissatisfied with their translation and workflow process. They wanted to learn the competition’s default way of doing it rather than make their existing technology bend to their perceived bad process.

By recommending options with verbiage, such as “many customers choose this,” “recommended for you,” or even “editor’s choice,” you slow the customer’s decision, but you also provide easier ways to make their decision.

Sustained audience engagement: Marketing after the transaction

What I call the “dead zone” presents a fantastic opportunity for B2B content marketers to slow the process. The dead zone occurs after the customer says “yes” to your solution and before and/or during delivery and implementation. Emotions run high on both sides. Remember, the endpoint for marketing and sales is the beginning point for the new customer. So the elated sales side usually says, “Leave the customer alone. Don’t slow things down.” While the buyers, though usually happy, can be uneasy. They may lose the “new-car-smell” happiness well before they use the product.

Slowing down by adding friction to this process can actually help. During the dead zone, thought leadership can sustain engagement. Experiences can help the customer get ready, learn, prepare, and generally understand how they can get the most out of what they just bought.

More than upselling the vinyl mats or undercoating for the new car, valuable content marketing experiences enhance the customer’s experience to prevent second thoughts or a lack of enthusiasm when recommending the brand to their peers.

Slower can be easier

Your overall goal should not streamline the buyer’s journey so efficiently that you miss opportunities where the customer could benefit from a pause. In my Domino’s experience, the app was remarkably efficient. It took me through identifying the delivery location and scheduling a delivery time before it even asked what I wanted. Then, the super-efficient configurator zoomed me through the process. Pizza. Big. Thin Crust. Pepperoni and Onions. Tots. Checkout. Done.

Your overall goal should not streamline the buyer’s journey so efficiently that you miss opportunities where the customer could benefit from a pause, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

When I selected the first three attributes, it could have replied, “Whoa, did you know that many of our customers in your area say ‘double cheese’ really makes their pizza special?” What if it recognized I hadn’t ordered in a while and offered a welcome-back special, using the most popular orders as a default? I would have had to pause to learn about that package, but perhaps I would have purchased more.  Or maybe I would have made more enjoyable choices.

Remember, sometimes your customers don’t know what they want exactly or have preconceived notions that don’t match the optimal experience. You and your major competitors may offer almost the same thing. But you can differentiate by slowing down the buying process to make it easier for the customers to understand the combinations that make your solution better for them.

As you double down on creating more valuable customers who stay longer and evangelize more loudly, remember it’s better to slow down and delay the right decision than speed up the wrong one.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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Take back your ROI by owning your data



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Other brands can copy your style, tone and strategy — but they can’t copy your data.

Your data is your competitive advantage in an environment where enterprises are working to grab market share by designing can’t-miss, always-on customer experiences. Your marketing tech stack enables those experiences. 

Join ActionIQ and Snowplow to learn the value of composing your stack – decoupling the data collection and activation layers to drive more intelligent targeting.

Register and attend “Maximizing Marketing ROI With a Composable Stack: Separating Reality from Fallacy,” presented by Snowplow and ActionIQ.

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About the author

Cynthia RamsaranCynthia Ramsaran

Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries. She was a writer/producer for and produced thought leadership for KPMG. Cynthia hails from Queens, NY and earned her Bachelor’s and MBA from St. John’s University.

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Revolutionizing Auto Retail: The Game-Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai



Revolutionizing Auto Retail: The Game-Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

In a groundbreaking alliance, Amazon and Hyundai have joined forces to reshape the automotive landscape, promising a revolutionary shift in how we buy, drive, and experience cars.

Imagine browsing for your dream car on Amazon, with the option to seamlessly purchase, pick up, or have it delivered—all within the familiar confines of the world’s largest online marketplace. Buckle up as we explore the potential impact of this monumental partnership and the transformation it heralds for the future of auto retail.

Driving Change Through Amazon’s Auto Revolution

Consider “Josh”, a tech-savvy professional with an affinity for efficiency. Faced with the tedious process of purchasing a new car, he stumbled upon Amazon’s automotive section. Intrigued by the prospect of a one-stop shopping experience, Josh decided to explore the Amazon-Hyundai collaboration.

The result?

A hassle-free online car purchase, personalized to his preferences, and delivered to his doorstep. Josh’s story is just a glimpse into the real-world impact of this game-changing partnership.

Bridging the Gap Between Convenience and Complexity

Traditional car buying is often marred by complexities, from navigating dealership lots to negotiating prices. The disconnect between the convenience consumers seek and the cumbersome process they endure has long been a pain point in the automotive industry. The need for a streamlined, customer-centric solution has never been more pressing.

1701235578 44 Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai1701235578 44 Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

Ecommerce Partnership Reshaping Auto Retail Dynamics

Enter Amazon and Hyundai’s new strategic partnership coming in 2024—an innovative solution poised to redefine the car-buying experience. The trio of key developments—Amazon becoming a virtual showroom, Hyundai embracing AWS for a digital makeover, and the integration of Alexa into next-gen vehicles—addresses the pain points with a holistic approach.

In 2024, auto dealers for the first time will be able to sell vehicles in Amazon’s U.S. store, and Hyundai will be the first brand available for customers to purchase.

Amazon and Hyundai launch a broad, strategic partnership—including vehicle sales on in 2024 – Amazon Staff

This collaboration promises not just a transaction but a transformation in the way customers interact with, purchase, and engage with their vehicles.

Pedal to the Metal

Seamless Online Purchase:

  • Complete the entire transaction within the trusted Amazon platform.
  • Utilize familiar payment and financing options.
  • Opt for convenient pick-up or doorstep delivery.
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Hyundai’s Cloud-First Transformation:

  • Experience a data-driven organization powered by AWS.
  • Benefit from enhanced production optimization, cost reduction, and improved security.

Alexa Integration in Next-Gen Vehicles:

  • Enjoy a hands-free, voice-controlled experience in Hyundai vehicles.
  • Access music, podcasts, reminders, and smart home controls effortlessly.
  • Stay connected with up-to-date traffic and weather information.

Driving into the Future

The Amazon-Hyundai collaboration is not just a partnership; it’s a revolution in motion. As we witness the fusion of e-commerce giant Amazon with automotive prowess of Hyundai, the potential impact on customer behavior is staggering.

The age-old challenges of car buying are met with a forward-thinking, customer-centric solution, paving the way for a new era in auto retail. From the comfort of your home to the driver’s seat, this partnership is set to redefine every step of the journey, promising a future where buying a car is as easy as ordering a package online.

Embrace the change, and witness the evolution of auto retail unfold before your eyes.

Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

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How to Schedule Ad Customizers for Google RSAs [2024]



How to Schedule Ad Customizers for Google RSAs [2024]

It’s no wonder that responsive search ads have steadily grown in popularity in recent years. Through Google’s machine learning capabilities, RSAs provide a powerful way to automate the testing of multiple headlines and descriptions to ensure a closer match to user intent. The benefits are clear: RSAs mean broader reach, better engagement, and improved performance metrics.

However, all these benefits come at a significant (but reasonable) cost – they can be extremely difficult to manage, especially when it comes to updating ad copy to promote limited time offers.

I know this firsthand – I work with several ecommerce clients with promotions that constantly change. Not too long ago, I found myself going through the consistently tedious process of updating a client’s RSA headlines and copy. As I was making the changes, I thought to myself: “There must be a better way to update this ad copy. I shouldn’t have to use find and replace so many times while pausing and enabling my ad campaigns.”

After expressing this to my colleague, Jordan Stambaugh, the two of us agreed there must be a better way. But we’d have to make it happen. A few weeks later, we put that idea into action and created a more efficient process for updating RSA ad copy on a scheduled basis. If you want to try this process for yourself, just keep reading.

Responsive Search Ad Customizers 101: Basic Options & Execution

Before diving into the process of scheduling automatic updates for your RSA customizers, it’s essential to understand some key Responsive Search Ad fundamentals.

First, you can customize three main options within RSAs: the Attribute Name, the Data Type, and the Account Value. Each of these plays a vital role in personalizing your ads:

  • Attribute Name: This is essentially the identifier for the customizer. It is how you’ll reference the specific piece of information you’re customizing within the ad. For instance, if you’re running a promotion, you might name an attribute “Promotion.”
  • Data Type: This indicates the kind of data the attribute represents and it determines how the information can be formatted and used within the ad. Common data types include Text (for plain, non-numeric text), Percent (to represent percentage discounts), Price (to denote monetary values), and Number (for any numerical value).
  • Account Value: This is the default value for the attribute that you set at the account level. It acts as a fallback if more specific values aren’t provided at the campaign or ad group level.

For example, if you wanted to promote a 10% off discount using RSAs, you’d use the “Discount” attribute, a data type of “Percent,” and an account value of “10% off.” Then, when someone is searching for products, Google would test automatically inserting a copy regarding a 10% off promotion into your ad.

Once you’ve set up the right customization options, you can start to format your RSAs with customizers.

Here’s how:

  • Start by typing in {
  • Click on Ad Customizer then select your attribute
  • Google will populate your attributes that are already uploaded
  • For a simple offer, use the “Default text” attribute as a catch-all. This will ensure your ads run smoothly if Google can’t pull the right messaging from your RSA feed



How to Schedule Your Ad Customizers with a Feed

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s cover how to schedule your ad customizers.

Just follow this three step process:

1. Create the feed

Start by creating two sheets: The Parent sheet, and the Child sheet. The “Parent” sheet will act as the primary data source, while the child sheet will pull data from the parent sheet.

We’ll start by building the parent sheet. After opening the sheet, start by renaming the active tab to “Promotions.” Don’t skip this step, it’s crucial for referencing this range in formulas later on.

In your “Promotions” tab, head to the top row and label columns A, B, and C with the headers of your ad customizer attributes. For example, you might have “BrandSaleHeadline” as your attribute in column A, “text” as the Data Type in column B, and “Shop the Collection” as the Account Value in column C.

Once your headers are in place, move to cell C2. Here, you’ll input the expression =lookup(today(),F:G,E:E). This formula will play a key role in dynamically updating your RSA customizer based on the current date.

Next, go to columns E, F, and G, which will be used to manage your scheduling. In these columns, you’ll list out the different values your chosen attribute might take, alongside their corresponding start and end dates. For example, under the “BrandSaleHeadline” attribute, you might schedule various promotional headlines to appear during different sale periods throughout the year.

Here’s how your sheet might look:

Now look back at the first 3 columns on your sheet. They should look like this:

Now create a second sheet. We’ll call this sheet the Child sheet. It’s going to automatically pull in data from the parent sheet you just created, and will be the one you link to Google Ads later on.

Columns A, B and C will be almost identical to the child sheet, but we will be using a special formula later so we can automatically populate this. So, start by labeling Row 1 Column A “Attribute,” then the next column as “Data type,” then column C as “Account value.” 

Then go to C2 and use this expression to populate the right account value from the parent document: =importrange(“[PARENT DOCUMENT URL HERE]”,”Promotions!C2″)

Your sheet should now look like this:

We recommend adding a date range with default text for any days you’re  not running a promotion. In the example above, we have “Shop Our Collection” appearing as default text.

2. Input attributes

Once you have your feed created, the next step involves inputting your attributes into the Google Ads platform. This can be done either manually or through a bulk upload.

For the manual approach, navigate to “Tools & Settings” in your Google Ads interface, then go to ‘Setup’ followed by “Business Data.” Here, you’ll find an option for “Ad Customizer Attributes.” Click the plus sign to add your attributes. It’s crucial to use the same attribute names that you’ve established in your Parent Google Sheet template to ensure consistency and proper data synchronization.



Alternatively, if you prefer the bulk upload method, again head to “Tools & Settings.” This time, select “Bulk Actions” and then “Uploads.” For this process, you only need to upload columns A to C from your template. 

Be aware that it might take some time for your uploaded attributes to be reflected in the business data section of Google Ads.

3. Set up an automatic schedule

At this point, you’ve almost finished scheduling your ad customizers. Navigate to Tools & Settings, then Bulk Actions, then Uploads, then click the Schedules tab at the top. Select your Child Google Sheet as the data source, and share your Google Sheet with the appropriate email.



And there you have it – Google will automatically pull in the data you populated in the sheets into your RSAs.

Common Challenges When Scheduling RSA Ad Customizers

When we test these sheets with our clients in the wild, we’ve uncovered five common challenges. Be on the lookout for these issues – solving them before they happen can save you a lot of trouble down the line.

Not scheduling your upload when the site changes 

The first and most significant hurdle is the mismatch between the scheduled data upload and website content updates. For instance, if the Google Sheet is set to upload at 11 am, but the website changes occur at 3 pm, there’s going to be a discrepancy where the wrong message could be displayed for several hours, or new messaging could appear prematurely. Conversely, if the website updates happen before the scheduled sheet upload, outdated promotions might linger until the new data is imported. Synchronizing these schedules is crucial; it’s best to align them so updates occur simultaneously.

Skipping QA during a message change

Another pitfall is neglecting quality assurance (QA) during message updates. It’s vital to regularly check the business data section to verify that the correct values are in place post-update.

Issues with the IMPORTRANGE function

Then there’s the technical aspect of setting up the IMPORTRANGE function correctly in the Google Sheets template. The ‘child’ template must reliably pull data from the ‘parent’ sheet. If this function isn’t configured correctly, data won’t be imported as needed.

Not sharing access of the Google template for automatic uploads

Pay attention to your access permissions for the Google Sheets template. Google will prompt you with the email address that needs permission to access the ‘child’ sheet for automatic uploads. Overlooking the sharing of your sheet with this address will prevent the system from working.

Having date range gaps in your parent sheet

Lastly, a common oversight is leaving date range gaps in the ‘parent’ sheet. Every single date must be accounted for without overlaps. A practical tip is to have an ‘evergreen’ backup message ready, scheduled to run continuously, ideally through the end of the year, to cover any potential gaps.


Leveraging Google Sheets in conjunction with Google Ads to schedule RSA ad customizers is a game-changer for managing dynamic promotional content. This process not only streamlines your workflows but also ensures that your ads remain relevant and up-to-date, reflecting current promotions without the need for constant manual intervention. 

By adopting this method, you’ll save significant time and effort, allowing you to focus more on strategy and less on the minutiae of ad copy updates. Give it a try and experience a more efficient way to manage your RSAs, keeping your campaigns fresh and engaging with minimal hassle.

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