Every year, new marketing technology products enter the market. Some products fade fast, while others fill a marketing need and grow into their own. From analytics to ecommerce to A/B testing, marketing and ebusiness products and tools have become more prevalent and pervasive than ever, making the modern marketer’s technology stack an unwieldy web of code and interconnected, yet distinct software products.
As your marketing and ebusiness teams integrate these tools into existing websites, alterations and additions are expected. What may not be expected is the time and energy it may require for your development team to maintain these tags. And as marketing and ebusiness teams grow more agile and responsive to market demands, the pace and frequency of change is increasing.
How big of a problem is this? For digitally focused brands, ecommerce sites or businesses with multiple domains, tag management can be a painful bottleneck. For example, a quick review of www.kohls.com shows tags for an amazing 48 different marketing automation products! In order to get the most out of these tools, Kohl’s needs to maintain the integration between their website and 48 external marketing systems. That means digging into your source code with every update, employing developer assistance, and waiting for that request to be filled. And of course, every tag or call you add to a web page can slow response time. By the time you’ve added 10, 20, or 30 tags, your site can suffer a major performance hit.
Tag management consolidates all the tags from your various marketing platforms into one smart tag. This single tag is intelligent and knows when each other tag is required on a page. When the indicating action occurs, this smart tag includes the correct tag on page load. This way, business and marketing users can make updates efficiently across pages, without involving IT engineering & development resources.
When Should I Use A Tag Management System?
To help you make a smart decision about tag management, our team has identified the seven indicators that can deliver business benefits from implementing a tag management solution. Do any of these describe your situation?
1. Large Team: If you have a large number of users managing tags or you need access rights to change them, having a central system will save time and frustration.
2. Separate Team: If your data business intelligence, marketing, or commerce team is separate from content authors, you have multiple people who may need to edit tags. Again, a centralized hub for these changes would reduce inefficiencies.
3. Slow Page Speed: If your pages are rendering slower than you would like, performance may be hampered by your tags. Each system is likely making server calls independently and slowing your pages. A single container should increase page speed.
4. Multiple Domains/Sites: Managing tags across many sites can lead to confusion, miscommunication and costly mistakes. By reducing the number of people needed to implement and manage tags, you can save time and money.
5. Page Specific Tags: Have a tool that only manages one section or page on your site? A tag manager makes the process of updating individual pages much easier.
6. Frequent Changes & Campaigns: If you are a heavy user of ad networks or launching new campaigns, microsites and landing pages, you are frequently adding to your list of tags. A tag manager will greatly simplify these activities.
7. Long Release Cycles: If it takes you weeks or months to make tag updates today, due to internal inefficiencies or a backlog of higher priority work, tag management is a must.
If your organization fits into one or more of the indicators above, tag management should be on your radar for consideration. And you are not alone. 53% of respondents to a Forrester Research* study highlighted difficulty in managing their site and lack of IT resources as a major issue in trying to manage online data tools. In the same study, improved quality of analytics implementation (74%) and improved marketing agility (68%) were rated as the reasons for going to a tag management system. Increased website performance (63%), which was also highlighted as a benefit, is sure to make your customers happy.
The proliferation of tags on your site is as large as the proliferation of technologies you work with daily. If your ecosystem is growing in complexity, you should consider a tag management system.
How To Get Started?
For many years, developers simply added tags to a site (and often still do). More recently, tags have been managed through Content Management Systems (CMS). A CMS gives authors a managed field that accepts the required tag scripts as each page is created. This approach is still great for a single site or a small number of authors, but it does not scale. In an enterprise application, how do you know which sites need which tags? How do you track where they are placed and where they are needed? What if the person managing the tag is not the content author for that section of the site?
There are currently a dozen tag management solutions available. Some are from enterprise software vendors like Adobe or Google and others are from smaller niche vendors. Work with a systems integration partner that has some experience implementing these tools to help you select the right one for your situation and organization. Have them do a quick evaluation of the potential impact on your marketing and ebusiness operations. And be sure that these partners are familiar with how to structure and manage a marketing technology office with proper governance models, processes and controls. That will help in getting the most benefit out of your tag management implementation.
* Forrester Research: The evolution of Tag Management, 2013