While tag management has proven to be an invaluable tool in the past, its future in the world of digital data distribution seems even brighter. Once known for its ability to manage and update website tags, tag management now represents the ability to collect, refine, segment, and standardize digital customer data before distributing such information to digital marketing vendors. Now, the average tag management system (TMS) allows companies to address their data integration challenges and gain better visibility of customers across channels.
According to a recent study conducted by Forrester Consulting, a division of Forrester Research, 94 percent of respondents believe data integration to be the next step in the evolution of tag management. "The Evolution of Tag Management" report, commissioned by Tealium, polled 142 digital marketing decision makers in the U.S. familiarity with tag management across a variety of industries to explore the growth of tag management systems as "digital data distribution platforms" that encompass the three essential Ds: discovery, definition, and distribution. The survey reveals that, in 2013, marketers plan to spend an average of 9.2 percent of their budget on tag management, a year-over-year increase of 35 percent, highlighting this method's ROI potential.
The following statistics examine tag management's evolution and how companies plan to use such tools as they move forward with their data integration efforts:
- When it comes to the primary benefits of tag management systems, improved quality of analytics implementations (74 percent), improved marketing agility (69 percent), and better website performance (63 percent) outweigh all other resulting advantages.
- The most critical characteristics in tag management systems are ease of use (74 percent), scale and performance (72 percent), and privacy compliance (40 percent).
- Nearly two-thirds of respondents agree that tags are an ideal tool for collecting and exchanging data, thereby allowing the TMS to more effectively manage this exchange of information between visitors and digital marketing vendors.
- Seventy-two percent of those who view tag management as an ideal method for distributing digital data already have data integration projects in place at this time.
- When rating the most important data capabilities from tag management systems, a managed service for collecting and segmenting data (64 percent) and a clean source of actionable data across all touchpoints (61 percent) rank the highest overall.
- While 96 percent of respondents are currently experiencing problems integrating their online data, lack of IT resources (53 percent), data quality (48 percent), cost (46 percent), and lack of expertise (37 percent) are the primary reasons for such struggles.
- Respondents expect customer data initiatives to develop a better view of the customer journey (80 percent), generate improved customer retention (73 percent), and enhance the cross-channel customer experience (68 percent).
- For 56 percent, marketing owns and manages the firm's TMS, while 86 percent say that marketing currently or will own the company's customer data initiatives.
Key takeaway: As companies continue to struggle with integrating and leveraging digital data to improve marketing, tag management has clearly emerged as a critical component for success. Tag management allows companies to focus on defining the data, making it discoverable, and distributing the information to key platforms and technologies, thereby enabling marketers to be much more responsive to changing needs within their business and their consumer base. However, as marketers gain more technological control, they must be sure to nurture their ties with IT, for there will always be functionalities beyond the scope of the average marketing professional's expertise. Just as data integration aims to incorporate customer information from various touchpoints, organizations must be sure their efforts reach across departments, bringing marketers and IT professionals together on their journey toward success.