It’s no surprise that marketing departments are demanding more access to enterprise data and Big Datasets. Also not surprising: Integration is a huge barrier when it comes to using that data, with 96 percent of marketers reporting data integration problems, according to a recent Forrester Survey.
But what may surprise CIOs and other IT executives is that marketing departments are using tag management systems to solve their data integration problems.
The Forrester report, published last month, was commissioned by tag management vendor Tealium to explore marketers’ perspectives on tag management systems. The IT research firm queried 142 digital marketing decision makers who are familiar with the technology and responsible for digital marketing budgets, strategies or selecting suppliers.
Just to be clear, this is obviously a group familiar with and presumably already using tag management to some extent.
Forrester reports four key findings from the survey:
1. Tag management is being used beyond client-side tags. Forrester writes:
“Marketers see its greater value as an effective interface for the collection, refinement and distribution of digital visitor data to digital marketing vendor technologies. We are witnessing the emergence of the digital data distribution platform.”
2. Data integration is a huge problem, as reported by 96 percent of the firms interviewed. And marketers aren’t waiting for IT to play catch-up; they are “leading their IT colleagues in tackling customer data integration challenges.”
3. Marketers are beginning to use their tag management systems for integration projects and to gain visibility into customer behavior across channels. (Maybe if you only have a tag management system, everything’s a tag?)
4. Marketers are spending an average of 9.2 percent of their marketing budget on tag management. “The ROI of the digital data distribution capabilities of a TMS is driving this growth,” Forrester reports.
That strikes me as a lot to spend on one technology, but again, given the survey respondents are pre-disposed to use tag management (how can you be in digital marketing and not use tag management?), maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.
But there’s another interesting finding further in the report: Ninety-four percent of respondents said they see the role of tag management within data integration as “the next step in its evolution.” They also see tags as a means of improving the quality of their data.
“Looking forward, tag management will be at the center of digital data integration strategies. But how will this happen?” the report states. “The majority of marketers believe that TMS has the capability to act as a managed service for the collection and segmentation of data and to be a clean source of actionable data across all digital touch points.”
What intrigues me are the unforeseen consequences. Obviously, TMS operates as a data integration tool only on a surface level--which may be enough for marketers.
For better or worse, marketers are tackling data silos. Forrester notes that this “takes the burden off of their poorly resourced IT colleagues.” So maybe that’s a good thing, since 53 percent cite a “lack of IT resources” as a barrier to integrating online data.