The US Adobe Sum­mit has come and gone, and it’s left us with a lot of inter­est­ing dis­cus­sion to unpack. This week, I thought it would be worth­while to hit on the key points of my pre­sen­ta­tion for Summit—specifically, the way we look at tags and how our per­spec­tive on what “tag­ging” is can impact how we imple­ment our tools and what we get out of our mar­ket­ing technologies.

Tags have always been a deeply inter­de­part­men­tal con­ver­sa­tion, as much a part of mar­ket­ing and busi­ness as they are IT. This game of “tele­phone” that we play inside our orga­ni­za­tions when tag­ging our sites often leaves us with errors, incor­rectly imple­mented solu­tions, fre­quent break­age, and in almost all cases, we only get a frac­tion of our mar­ket­ing technology’s value because imple­ment­ing the most pow­er­ful fea­tures is where the com­plex­ity really ramps up. Dynamic Tag Man­age­ment (DTM) tech­nol­ogy has sim­pli­fied all that. Now mar­keters can get hands-on with the tech­nol­ogy of tags with­out the need for an IT inter­me­di­ary, and more impor­tantly, it’s just as easy to han­dle highly sophis­ti­cated use cases for ana­lyt­ics, test­ing, sur­veys, chat, prod­uct rec­om­men­da­tions, and much more as it is to han­dle the basic use cases.

So the real ques­tion is how does this men­tally free us up to take things to the next level?

Well, let’s look at an iso­lated instance. When we think of chat on our web­site, like sup­port chan­nels for cus­tomer inquiry, today, we often think of instal­la­tion as sim­ply a “tag” to place on the site. But what if we think of chat as an ele­ment of mar­ket­ing? It’s an invest­ment of time and tech­nol­ogy into open­ing a direct line of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with our cus­tomers. A proac­tive approach to chat is not just ask­ing “how can we offer chat as a fea­ture of our site?” How can this chan­nel fur­ther our busi­ness goals? In essence, how can it help us grow? How can we use it strate­gi­cally, rather than it just being there?

The stum­bling block to this appli­ca­tion of tags has always been their setup. When tags are seen as tech­ni­cal chunks added to a web­page, we have to begin with their tech­ni­cal aspects in mind: this tag needs to go in the global footer. This tag needs to go on that page. Highly gen­eral and inflexible.

Now we can flip the script. DTM is fluid—rather than being highly spe­cial­ized bits of code that define the start­ing point of instal­la­tion, now tags are sim­ply tools that become the end­point of instal­la­tion. With DTM, the think­ing turns to deter­min­ing our vis­i­tors’ key inter­ac­tions and our points of con­tact. Which are we uti­liz­ing today?’

In the lan­guage of Adobe, we call these our “last mil­lisec­onds.” They are the crit­i­cal moments of mar­ket­ing. In a split sec­ond, we can make deci­sions about how to alter a cus­tomer expe­ri­ence to be more per­sonal and more rel­e­vant to their needs and our mar­ket­ing goals (which starts to sound a lot like con­nect­ing the dots to the dri­vers of our busi­ness, dis­cussed in my last post.) When we think in these terms, we are mar­ket­ing in con­text, deliv­er­ing tech­nolo­gies, expe­ri­ences, and assets based on deci­sions we make in real-time around con­sumer behav­ior and profiles.

Look at these con­trast­ing views: the tag or tool we want to use has always been the first ques­tion we’ve had to ask in think­ing about imple­men­ta­tion. Now it is the last.

This experience-oriented mar­ket­ing has enor­mous poten­tial for mar­keters, not only because it’s more tar­geted (deliv­er­ing tech­nol­ogy and expe­ri­ence to spe­cific peo­ple at spe­cific times), but because it’s more leverage-able: a good idea of how to use a mil­lisec­ond can be used across the orga­ni­za­tion. The same mil­lisec­ond, in other words, can trig­ger mul­ti­ple tools, cre­at­ing a mar­ket­ing sym­phony rather than the solos we have going on today.

Tag­ging is dead. It’s time to man­age your milliseconds.

So, let’s return to our hypo­thet­i­cal chat win­dow. We want to learn some­thing from these inter­ac­tions through tags… but about whom? Under what cir­cum­stances? Let’s say you’ve dis­cov­ered that peo­ple on iPads com­ing from Google paid search ads have a strangely low con­ver­sion rate. Let’s cre­ate a rule in DTM to engage that spe­cific seg­ment with chat when they land on the site.

Through chat, we dis­cover that peo­ple are hav­ing a hard time nav­i­gat­ing and search­ing our site. Using the very same rule that trig­gered chat, we can then set up a mul­ti­vari­ate test on any and every land­ing page for this seg­ment, chang­ing the posi­tion­ing, orga­ni­za­tion, and styling of our site’s nav­i­ga­tion and search fea­tures. We then see that these users imme­di­ately start using search to find related prod­ucts to the ones they are land­ing on. Again, using the same rule (the same mil­lisec­ond of a user com­ing in from Google on an iPad to any page of the site), we decide to place a box with prod­uct rec­om­men­da­tions of sim­i­lar prod­ucts with high user review rat­ings on the land­ing page. Con­ver­sion goes through the roof. Cel­e­bra­tion ensues. And we never touched the site itself a sin­gle time—DTM han­dled all the delivery.

In this exam­ple, we iden­ti­fied a sin­gle mil­lisec­ond in our busi­ness that was key for a group of users. Using that sin­gle mil­lisec­ond, we deliv­ered three new expe­ri­ences, each build­ing on the last, to bet­ter engage and sat­isfy our users, meet their needs, and drive growth in our busi­ness. In most busi­nesses we work with, these aren’t just three tools, rather there are three depart­ments that rarely see each oth­ers’ work. This is the magic of DTM and the magic of the mod­ern dig­i­tal marketer.

Get started with DTM.