If a tag management solution is the framing of your dream house, the data layer is the foundation upon which your dream house will be built. However very few people get excited about laying a foundation, especially the people writing the checks, so how do you sell your boss on making the investment needed to deploy a solid data layer foundation?
A well designed data layer has a long list of business benefits but we think these four will help sell your boss:
Increased Speed to Market
Typically, when a new marketing or analytics tag needs to be deployed, one of two things needs to happen, either development resources are required to code the tag directly into the site templates or development resources are required to code the logic for the tag within a tag management system (TMS).
This process can take several months and can have a tremendous opportunity cost considering the time spent by the project team as well as the cost associated with not having the tag being on the site, possibly delaying critical marketing campaigns or product launches.
The goal of a well architected data layer is to provide you with all of the necessary data elements that you will need now and in the future. When a new tag needs to be deployed to the site, the amount of development work will be greatly reduced as all of the necessary data will already be available directly via the data layer allowing for new marketing tags to be deployed much quicker and for project work to be completed in a more streamlined and native process.
Reduction of Development Costs
As a non-development resource will typically be the one responsible for the configuration within the TMS, an immediate cost savings can be realized as the need for development resources for all new tagging projects is reduced and often removed.
We’ve worked with clients across multiple verticals that have seen tag deployment timelines go from several months to a few weeks (often less). Not only has the time to market been greatly improved, it has been done with less use of the highly valuable development teams which have been able to focus their efforts on large site improvement projects instead of tag deployments. In addition, our clients have been able to take the budget that was previously set aside for tagging projects and reallocate it to other key areas of the business.
Greater Agility and Flexibility
Without a data layer, you are limited to using the data that is native to the page. This can prevent you from deploying a vendor’s tag through you TMS as the data they require may not be readily available.
We have worked with several large retail clients that were interested in performing Proofs of Concept with new potential marketing partners and pilot programs with existing vendors. Prior to implementing a data layer, these clients often had their hands tied when it came to these activities. If the data that was needed to run their pilot programs was not available, then they couldn’t leverage the TMS that they had in place to deploy the vendors code. Often, these pilot projects would be deprioritized, meaning a longer wait until any potential value could be realized, or worse yet, outright cancelled.
Having access to a proper data layer, provides tremendous flexibility when it comes to quickly piloting new marketing vendors, allowing for quicker decision making which in turn leads to quicker realization of value generated by deploying proven marketing technologies.
Improved Data Integrity
User adoption is a huge concern for any analytics practice and having data that can’t be trusted is a top reason why analytics often sees low adoption within an organization. Without a data layer, or with a data layer that is not properly designed and implemented, the integrity of the data collected by analytics platforms and marketing technologies is often called into question.
Implementing a data layer using industry best practices and proven development methodologies provides you and your vendors with reliable and accurate data. You can be assured that the data you are relying on to make both immediate and long-term decisions for the business is solid.