We put a lot of effort into establishing relationships with our customers, through which we receive detailed feedback on our Dynamic Tag Management (DTM) solution. Over the next few months, I’ll share some tag management user experiences, beginning with one from Jason Thompson at 33 Sticks, a boutique analytics consulting company. 33 Sticks has helped its clients generate meaningful data through the deployment, maintenance and utilization of various systems.
What was the first type DTM implementation you worked on? Any myth-busting moments?
The first DTM implementation was part of a full-scale reimplementation of Adobe Analytics and Target for a large, multinational, solar power company.
During the reimplementation, we discovered the popular myth that deploying a TMS allows organizations to cut IT out of the picture is not the most effective way to manage tag deployment. While many organizations may choose that path, the ones that are the most successful (and who glean the most value from their TMS) are the ones who use the system as a tool to empower IT groups to become stronger analytics technology partners with the marketing groups. Instead of pushing IT out, a TMS gives organizations the ability to better speak their language, increase operational efficiencies, and increase data integrity in partnership – not without – the IT group.
How long did that first implementation take versus planned timelines?
The end-to-end timeline for the DTM implementation was aggressive at two months. Typically, our planned timelines for the implementation without the use of DTM are estimated in the four- to six-month range. While we don’t believe that all implementations of that size and complexity can be done in a similar timeframe, we strongly believe that through proper planning and with strong internal partnerships and timelines, when compared to traditional implementations, traditional timelines can easily be cut in half.
How did your experience with DTM compare to other TMS products?
We have had experience with several other TMS solutions. DTM compares favorably with all of the industry leaders from an ease-of-use and platform robustness point of view.
What has been the most significant workflow change you’ve seen companies have to make using DTM?
The largest process change has been centered around the project lifecycle. Historically, new project requests would have to be submitted, evaluated, prioritized, added to a release calendar, and then several months down the road, the updated tracking requests would be released to the production team. With DTM, companies still take the same steps to ensure high-quality code is deployed; however, the speed to market is greatly accelerated due to increased efficiencies achieved through a centralized analytics repository and a robust data broker layer.
Are your clients prepared for changes to their organizations that a TMS requires?
Not necessarily. One of the biggest challenges organizations face is around the evolving ownership (or perception of ownership) of data. While we often see IT organizations closely involved with TMS projects, the ownership of the platform often tends to live within a digital analytics organization. This often causes unnecessary tension internally. In addition, organizations are often unprepared to staff the management of a TMS solution once the initial deployment has been completed.
How has DTM changed your relationship with your clients?
As an agency that is primarily focused on providing complex analysis, site optimization strategy, and data-driven business advisory services, having access to a solution like DTM has allowed us to have many more conversations with our clients about what we are going to do with the data rather than how we are going to get access to the data. When executives invest in a high-end solution like the Adobe Marketing Cloud, they assume that the data will simply be readily available to inform and help drive the business. With a solution like DTM, that assumption can become a reality.
Were there any “gotchas” in the process?
A potential gotcha that lies in wait is when organizations don’t invest time in proper documentation. DTM provides methods to document all changes within the platform as well as ways to neatly organize rules and data. Secondarily, thorough documentation drives how [DTM] works – the inputs, outputs and transformations that occur are critical. Without proper, in-depth documentation, the optimal end-state will be very difficult to achieve.
What advice would you give clients looking to get started with DTM?
We’ve got five key points:
- View DTM as a powerful tool that can help you achieve a robust (and maintainable) digital analytics ecosystem and not as a “reach around” of existing deployment processes.
- Get buy-in from executives, IT, project management, and development teams.
- Spend most of your time architecting a solution that can scale over time.
- Be prepared to spend money on smart people who can properly manage and maintain your TMS.
- Don’t stop with deployment of an analytics solution; utilize DTM as a foundation upon which you can build a world-class analytics ecosystem.
Using the fabled crystal ball, how do you see the TMS market evolving over the next few years?
As companies begin to adopt the idea of a common data broker, we see the TMS market evolving to become the central hub that serves the entire digital analytics ecosystem. While the industry has long talked about “breaking data out of silos”, the reality for many organizations is that their data remains as siloed as ever. We see the TMS marketing evolution moving to a point where the leading vendors will tackle this problem head on by providing robust tools that enable a true centralized data repository but also providing much-needed thought leadership, guidance, and education.