Are Tag Managers Turning Their Backs On The Tag?

MakeCloudTealium became the latest tag management system (TMS) provider to pivot away from pure play TMS on Wednesday when it released a tool designed to help companies link their various standalone marketing technologies.

This puts Tealium on the same path as other TMS providers (like BrightTag, which renamed itself Signal and rolled out an Open Data Platform on Tuesday) positioning their technology as a neutral data layer that connects marketing tools from different vendors, making them operable together.

“TMS as a category belies the value of these tools,” said Andrew Jones, industry analyst at Altimeter Group. “Yes, it speaks to their original value proposition of making it easier to manage and implement tags and that’s not going away. But the ability to sense customer behaviors in real time, and to act on them…is why we’re seeing a shift in emphasis.”

Qubit, another company that could be classified as a tag manager, rolled out recently a suite of “digital intelligence” apps and now positions its technology as a Digital Experience Management (DXM) platform. In an interview with AdExchanger, the company said it has “built a technology stack that’s focused on driving incremental revenue by improving metrics,” combining Web and mobile analytics, A/B testing and personalization.

TMS have become a cornerstone of marketing and Web analytics systems. Some of the most common integration points include marketing automation, email and retargeting systems, Jones said. Tealium currently has 693 digital marketing vendor tags configured with its tool.

“There are thousands of applications in the marketplace and it got to the point where you needed a foundational data layer,” said Jay McCarthy, VP of product marketing for Tealium. “The data layer provided by the TMS frees up and allows these systems to work together more effectively.”

So are Tealium and its peers really enabling clients to make their own marketing cloud, or, connect third-party system tags, as they claim?

“We’re careful to make sure people understand we’re neutral in the whole process,” McCarthy said. “We’re a big proponent of the marketing clouds (like Oracle and Adobe) but no one cloud vendor is going to be everything to everyone. There is always a critical missing piece where they may have to go grab best of breed.”

Tag managers also work alongside attribution vendors, rather than against them, “since they know they can turn on their solution very fast and get immediate results,” he said. For instance, it’s not unusual for Tealium to be brought in alongside a Convertro instance.

In other words, tag management is like the grease that keeps the wheels spinning. “I would say we compete (more) with in-house projects where people are building big data warehouses and a bunch of different solutions on top. We compete with complacency around that or people who are doing a lot of heavy lifting.”


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