Tag management is the gateway to the long awaited goal of unified marketing, allowing marketers to fully integrate data and technology to drive relevant, cross-channel interactions in real time.

But there is still some uncertainty around what tag management actually is, and what marketers should be looking for in a tag management tool.

Almost all digital marketing technologies require the implementation of tags. These are snippets of code used to collect visitor data and provide key functionalities such as advertising. Manually implementing and controlling these tags is a huge challenge, especially given the dizzying pace with which the marketing technology landscape is expanding.

Tag management provides the solution.

By implementing a tag management system (TMS), marketers can take over the management of disparate technologies, prevent IT bottlenecks and increase campaign agility. Moreover, due to its strategic position in the data flow of the technology stack, tag management plays a vital role in the standardisation of customer data, making it a foundational component of any unified marketing strategy.

So what are the five key factors marketers should consider when implementing a TMS to achieve the ultimate goal of unified marketing?

Ease of use

The primary purpose of a tag management tool should be to give marketers control over the tagging process, freeing up in-house IT and tech resources so marketers, should look for a solution that is simple to use.

With a TMS, marketers should be able to seamlessly manage technology, deploying new vendor tags and update or remove existing ones accurately with point-and-click simplicity.

Vendor neutrality

Ideally, a TMS should work seamlessly with all vendors rather than being restricted to proprietary solutions.

This allows marketers to integrate their existing marketing technologies as well as choose new solutions from independent point providers.

Moving from one marketing vendor to another can be very challenging, and when tag management is bundled along with other services, this can be even more problematic.

Vendor neutrality should be a high priority when choosing a TMS.

Demonstrable ROI

Tagging manually is time-consuming, with the gap between the request and implementation of a tag often taking weeks or even months.

When IT staff are tagging manually, they’re distracted from more strategic initiatives, making it a costly process for the business. With a TMS, tags are typically implemented within the same working day, reducing the cost of tagging and resulting in a shorter time to market, which positively impacts campaign agility, performance and ROI.

Before choosing a tag management tool, marketers should assess how this will apply specifically to their business and the time-saving they can realistically expect.

A multichannel approach

Multichannel marketing is essential in today’s mobile first society, meaning mobile tag management should be a top priority when choosing a tag management tool.

Tag management can be used to manage mobile sites and applications, as well as kiosks and other digital channels. Therefore cross-channel tag management is a vital vendor provision for marketers that have mobile marketing capabilities or are looking to implement these in the future.

Unified marketing

Tags are the connective tissue linking applications and data sources together and as tag management becomes more widely used, marketers are seeing its benefits in easily integrating data and marketing applications.

An effective TMS, alongside a data layer, should allow marketers to drive more relevant and timely cross-channel interactions, and develop a unified view of customer data, enabling personalised, real-time marketing.

As marketers increasingly seek to centralise control across all channels, the role of tag management is increasingly important, evolving from a niche position within the industry to become the central nervous system of digital marketing.

In addition to looking for a solution that is simple to use and vendor neutral, enabling a cross channel approach and delivering demonstrable ROI, marketers should choose a tool that enables them to seamlessly integrate technology and data providing a truly unified view of their customers.

For more information, download our report published in association with Tealium entitled ‘The ROI of Tag Management‘.