The tag-management industry is growing rapidly, as tags are critical to gathering data about your customers. Now, the best tag-management systems can unite tagged data in one place - automatically.
The tag-management space is certainly getting red hot.
Last summer Adobe acquired Satellite to bring tag management into its marketing cloud. Then, BrightTag hired Forrester's Joe Stanhope shortly after a $27 million strategic investment from Yahoo Japan. And Forbes named Tealium one of America's most promising companies, while the Digital Analytics Association recognized them as Best New Technology of the Year for their audience discovery and digital data distribution platform AudienceStream. Now, after raising $40 million in its series B, Ensighten has swallowed up TagMan, the first company that was out of the gate with a tag-management system. So what's all the buzz about tag management? Is this a bellwether sector for the rest of the digital marketing industry?
Industry analyst Forrester's new study argues that the need to enable digital data integration will drive investments in tag management. It's the early days for tag management, but the industry is growing rapidly because it's not so much about tags, but about the bigger challenge of using digital data. In fact, Ensighten chief executive (CEO) Josh Manion says the word "tag" doesn't even appear in his company's name because he wants to "fundamentally change the way companies collect, own, and act on all of their digital data in any digital touch point in real time."
Where does tag management fit in the data picture? Here's an example someone shared with me recently: He had gone to an antivirus product's website, read the reviews, and bought the software. In the days that followed, however, he suddenly began to see banner ads from that same software maker whenever he visited CNN, ESPN, and other favorite websites. The software maker knew he had visited its website, but not that he already bought the product. They were retargeting him with banner ads at unnecessary cost and no purpose. Tag management fixes this problem.
Most marketing teams struggle with the volume, velocity, and variety of digital data generated every time someone touches the brand. You need insights from the data. You need to understand cross-channel behavior and run predictive "what if" scenarios to improve the effectiveness of your media mix. Tag management can create a foundation to make it easier to use multichannel marketing analytics for these purposes. Here's the story:
I started this column by asking if tag management is a bellwether for the digital marketing industry. I believe the answer is a resounding "yes." And, it's clear that the best tag management systems can be a foundation for building those elusive, one-to-one relationships with customers, while using marketing analytics to further improve your marketing decisions about how, when, and where to relate to them.
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Pelin Thorogood, a high-tech innovator and analytics executive, is chief strategy officer (CSO) of Ensighten, the global leader in omnichannel data and tag management. She also continues to serve as chief executive (CEO) of Anametrix, an Ensighten company. Pelin's career highlights include leading the go-to-market strategy as chief marketing officer (CMO) of WebSideStory (acquired by Omniture/Adobe), and extending Peregrine Systems' enterprise software business (acquired by HP) into Web-based applications as head of product marketing. She was named one of the "20 Women to Watch" in sales lead management in 2011 and 2012. Pelin holds a B.S. in Operations Research, Masters in Engineering, and MBA degrees, all from Cornell University, where she also serves as Executive-in-Residence for the Johnson Graduate School of Management. Follow Pelin on Twitter @PelinT.
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