Why Free Tag Management is Good for Enterprise TMS Vendors

 In Tag Management

The year was 2000, and I was working in Washington, D.C., fresh out of college (James Madison) for a Y2K remediation software company (remember Y2K?). Ready for a change, I decided to move to San Diego and interviewed with a company called WebSideStory (now part of Adobe via Omniture). WebSideStory was disrupting a pre-existing industry called web analytics, which at that time relied on log files and batch processing to create reports about web site behavior. The JavaScript tag was born and the industry quickly pivoted to a real-time analytics space where multiple vendors flourished. Then one day, a company called Google purchased Urchin, a small web analytics company, and you’ll never guess what they did. They started giving analytics away for FREE!

NO! This couldn’t be! How will we all survive? How does one compete with FREE? Well, as it turns out, this couldn’t have been better for the enterprise players in the analytics space. In fact, today the analytics industry sits as a $5.1B software-as-a-service (SaaS) vertical (source: Gartner, Enterprise Software Markets, 2013) and is growing hand over fist (the Adobe Marketing Cloud grew by 14 percent to $290.1M for the three months ended Aug. 29, 2014, compared to the prior year, according to SEC filings).

The reason for this phenomenon is this: free products help to educate the market and create demand for enterprise technology. Sweet!

Fast forward to 2011, I interviewed with a company called Tealium. This time, I was joining forces with old friends who had seen this movie before. Once again, we went ahead with the goal of disrupting a pre-existing industry called tag management. Not longer after, a company called Google launched a free tag management product, and Adobe quickly followed suit via an acquisition of a technology called Satellite from Search Discovery, a marketing agency.

NO! This couldn’t be! How will we all survive? How does one compete with FREE?

History is indeed repeating itself and as we have all learned, free solutions help to educate the larger market and promote a technology graduation process that starts with free, but usually ends with a paid enterprise system depending on needs. The reason for this is a combination of advanced capabilities, better vendor integration, and enterprise class support, just to name a few. Time and again, we have seen prospects try out a free solution, only to come back to us for enterprise service and functionality.

2014 was an insane year here at Tealium; you’ll see our recap soon. We welcome all of the free players in the space and thank them for helping to educate the world on the merits and importance of tag management. This market, as many do, will end in the shape of a barbell, with a free provider on one end and an enterprise vendor on the other. Adobe, of course, won the analytics battle as the enterprise vendor. If they can beat out Google, isn’t it ironic that they may end up representing the free tag management part of the barbell this time around?

We’re thrilled to be providing best-in-class enterprise tag management and look forward to an even bigger breakout year for the space in 2015.

Happy New Year from all of us at Tealium!

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