Tags, tags, tags.  We hear a lot about tags these days with the proliferation of new tag management platforms.  Here at Adobe we have a new tag management platform, Adobe TagManager, that we launched just last fall and customers are beginning to dip their toes into this new world.  Tags are a topic of conversation with customers who are concerned about whether a page or site or site section is tagged or if the tagging is correct or even if the tagging is working.  Some feel that tagging should be like flipping a light switch.  To them, the workflow looks something like this:

At first glance it looks like tags are an afterthought, and sometimes that is the case. However, in the vast majority of cases, tags are relegated to the world of the tactical.  Somewhere between font size, background hexadecimal, and the mis-sized left navigation, tags seem to come up.  This is not an afterthought as much as it is a misunderstanding of what tags represent to the company.

Tags are like tires on your car.  You need to make sure they have air, get rotated and replaced when they are worn, but when you can’t get to an important meeting because you have a flat tire, tags become crucial to you.  When this happens tires are about transportation.  Tags are the same way.  Tags are tactical, but a tag management platform isn’t about tags it’s about data.  It’s about getting the data you need and having confidence that it’s accurate.  Tags are like tires when you are sitting in that meeting with senior managers who are incredulous about the data you are showing them.  They can’t believe there is a drop in conversion last month, or that visits to the new site section are really that low.  It is during those times where you want to know that your strategy for managing data collection is bullet proof, scalable, and is giving you accurate results.

The reason that tags don’t easily fit into the diagram above is that data is fundamental.  It is strategic.  Data management belongs with questions about the platform you are deploying on or the server stack you are using.  How are you going to make data collection something that is extensible with tools and features that your site may have in the future?  How are you going to create a strategy that is agile with the needs of the business?  These are the questions that tag management can help answer.  These are data management questions.