It's Not Voodoo. It's Tag ManagementWhat if I told you that you could harmonize the facets of your fragmented marketing technology stack? What if I said you could more easily share customer context across those technologies? What if you could add, remove and change the technologies you use, without involving the IT department? Sounds like voodoo, right?

The tag management system (TMS) is a software-as-a-service application that applies tags (HTML and JavaScript snippets) to your web-based technologies. It allows marketers to configure what tags go where, instead of requiring software developers to make those changes by deploying code. Tag management is typically used to apply web analytics snippets and remarketing tags, but can technically inject any HTML or JavaScript onto a web page. If you don’t understand what a tag management system does, I suggest reading this well written overview on

Tag management is underutilized and undervalued, which means the opportunity to create a competitive advantage is huge. Many digital marketers don’t even know what a TMS does. I want you to understand how a TMS can fundamentally improve your marketing technology stack, increasing your agility and adhering to best-practice architectural principles.

Adopting tag management has three significant benefits for digital marketers, helping you perform the aforementioned voodoo:

  • Increase agility, by empowering digital marketers to control their own their destinies
  • Create a more flexible architecture, by loosely coupling your marketing technologies
  • Democratize customer data to create a more accurate, holistic customer profile

Increase Your Marketing Agility

Let’s say that your CMO asked you to figure out how to understand the number of website sales coming from which channels. You aren’t collecting the right data to answer him, so you’ll need to change the web analytics JavaScript snippets on your website. What are the steps you’ll need to make this happen?

  1. Make a change request to the web development team.
  2. Wait for the product owner to approve the change request.
  3. Politic your change towards the top of the backlog.
  4. Wait for the development team to implement and test your changes.
  5. Once in production, analyze your new traffic data to make sure it’s what you need.
  6. Doh! You need another change. Return to step 1.
  7. Answer your CMO weeks (or even months!) later.

Even if your software development team uses an Agile methodology, multiple forces prevent you from getting done what you need to get done in a timely manner. You need to know the answer yesterday, not six months from now. This arduous process simply won’t cut it anymore.

The TMS empowers the digital marketer to make changes, just like this one, without waiting for the development team or a change approval. If you understand the basics of web development, you won’t need any technical assistance. You can test and launch your tags in a matter of minutes, getting you the information you need sooner. It’s a configuration change, not a coding one! This is fundamental marketing agility, created simply by adopting a tag management system.

Loosely Couple Your Marketing Technologies

Technology architects and software developers (at least, the good ones) use the phrase “separation of concerns” to describe how to build loosely coupled, flexible and maintainable software. It means that every facet of the technology should do exactly what it’s intended to do and nothing more. For example, the code that changes a button color shouldn’t be in the same place as the code that reads from a database. The tag management system allows you to architect your marketing technology platform, using the same “separation of concerns” principle.