Why Marketers Need a Tag Management System

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databases—there's no unified view and marketers must toggle between solutions to get a full sense of the picture. Built to bring clarity to this chaos, tag management software promises to diffuse the glitch-prone mess of code by unifying all the tags and making them easy to monitor and analyze in a single data layer.

Once implemented, a TMS largely puts jurisdiction over tags into the hands of marketers, who can then use the solution to deploy tags with limited IT involvement. "Deploying a new tag or making a tag modification in a tag management system typically involves very little coding, and marketers can do it themselves. This limits the number of hands that the code touches, which also makes it less susceptible to errors and misfires," Jones says.

Tags are notorious for slowing down Web site load times, especially when there are too many on a page, or they're all firing at once. Often, tags are set up to load before page content, which can also contribute to a significant lag time. Tag management systems, however, serve tags asynchronously, meaning they are loaded at the same time as other content. This ensures that page elements load and display on the front end, regardless of any tag failure on the back end. Otherwise, Jones explains, a broken tag can prevent the entire site from loading, and leave customers staring at a blank page or an error message.

Tag management systems also boost accuracy by constantly parsing code to catch tags that are performing incorrectly or not firing commands at all. "Everyone is prone to human error, and it can be tough for a person to catch a tag that's programmed twice, or notice that one line of code is conflicting with another and causing both tags to fail. Tag management automates all that and either corrects the problem, or masks it on the front end until the back-end issue can be resolved," Jones adds.

Choosing the Right Tag Tools

Even the most basic tag management solutions can make a major difference for marketers by bringing a level of organization to data management that's otherwise tough to attain. Ensighten, for example, worked with Sony when the electronics giant realized that its seven-year-old Web site was long overdue for a redesign. Before deploying Ensighten's tag management solution, Sony relied heavily on its IT department to implement any new tags or code, and the marketing team struggled to understand the customer path and track how different campaigns were working.

Ensighten's tag management technology enabled Sony's digital marketers to add tags and new functionalities to the site easily, cut down on costs, and make data management more efficient. Almost immediately, Sony noticed an improvement in data quality, and was able to take advantage of faster collection of data and optimization of marketing campaigns, as well as in-depth psychological and demographic analyses of shopper types. With all of Sony's tags unified across its various digital touch points, content load time and performance improved as well. After just one year, Sony's return on investment was 18 times greater than what the company initially spent on the technology, according to a company statement.

TMS vendors with broader solutions, however, have even more to offer. While the space is still maturing, some players are already a cut above the rest. According to McCormick, they're pushing the boundaries of tag management with solutions that play a "critical 

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