Customer Analytics

Tag Management: The New Data Foundation for Personalization?

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Personalization has long been a buzzword in marketing circles but 2016 is the year that brands will finally embrace the practice as a “must-have” initiative, according to a new survey by Forrester Research.

Based on spending priorities for digital experience delivery, brands identified their two top priorities as “redesigning the user experience” at 69% and “delivering personalized experiences” at 68% . The next priority in the top five, enabling customer self-service capabilities, falls back at 46%, according to the Forrester report.[1]

When it comes to enabling personalization, firms are gravitating toward three technologies in particular, based on multiple choice:

  • Web content management (60%)
  • Email marketing (53%) and
  • Tag management (51%)

Say again?

That last item wasn’t a typo. While most people know tag management for its ability to ease the bottleneck between marketing and IT over vendor “tag” deployments, many marketers may not realize how quickly the application has evolved to become part of a larger data platform – one that holds the key to fueling strategic personalization efforts across the broadest numbers of touch points possible.

Tag management: The early days

Tag management systems (TMS) were introduced in the early part of this decade to help companies manage the exploding numbers of marketing vendor tags – i.e., data-collecting code snippets — deployed on websites. Initially, tag management was intended to reduce the burden on technical teams by making it easier for them – and their marketing teams – to deploy tags without requiring ongoing software coding. This greatly accelerated time to revenue, improved web page performance and reduced costs.

But tags have always been about the data (more importantly, actionable data), not the just tags. By virtue of its broad integration with the broader digital marketing eco-system, plus expanded data collection into mobile apps and hard to reach “offsite” data sources – including digital advertising, online video, IoT and more – tag management systems have become the foundation for something more. They have become a customer data platform that is primed to deliver rich personalization and insight.

Rise of the customer data platform

A customer data platform, with tag management as an anchor, not only delivers comprehensive first-party data collection and ownership but it also allows for the creation of omni-channel profiles and segments. These can be actioned in real-time across the entire marketing technology stack to create more timely and personalized interactions. These robust profiles make each marketing technology application smarter – from attribution and email marketing to testing and optimization – creating a powerful network effect.

Why is first-party data important? Because it’s the data that you have collected and own about your customers and it’s considered far more accurate and actionable than second and third-party sources.

For all of these reasons and more, it is easy to see why tag management, as part of a broader platform, is now viewed as a top tool for enabling personalization.

Fueling personalized experiences via UBX

This ability to deliver omni-channel data to power in-the-moment experiences is one of the core reasons behind Ensighten’s new integration with IBM’s Universal Behavior Exchange (UBX), which was announced at IBM Amplify in May.

With this partnership, IBM Marketing Cloud customers can leverage the Ensighten platform to easily bring in new web, mobile and omni-channel data sources to help fuel personalized action within their applications. Meanwhile, IBM Customer Experience Analytics clients can use the same UBX integration to enhance their existing journey analysis, providing richer and deep insights into customer behavior.

Interested in learning more? Read the press release about the integration, or visit this page to request a custom demonstration.

[1] https://www.forrester.com/report/Digital+Experience+Technology+And+Delivery+Priorities+2016/-/E-RES132461

VP Marketing, Ensighten

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