With new tag management solutions (TMS) coming to market, it can become difficult to determine which TMS is the best fit for your organization. A proof of concept (POC) is one way to understand if a solution has the right features, functionality and approach to best serve your needs. A POC gives you the opportunity to see the product working within your environment, and to learn how you would be able to use the solution to achieve your goals. If you feel that a POC is necessary for your tag management vendor choice, below are five factors to consider:
- Define Your Criteria for Success: Tag management vendors today offer a wide range of capabilities. Before you start a proof of concept, make sure you define the specific criteria that will help you reach your goals. For example, if you have a media site, you may need a tag management system that can handle multi-platform tagging (mobile sites and apps), as well as provide detailed alerts when tags are loading slowly to ensure the smooth delivery of content. On the other hand, if you have an ecommerce web site, you may need the ability to easily create multivariate tests on the fly. Without pre-defined criteria custom fit for your needs, vendors can show off a list of functionalities that may look appealing, but actually have nothing to do with helping you achieve your online business goals. Decide up front what you need to accomplish through the tag management system and demand those functionalities from the vendor.
- Make Sure What You See is What You Get: A POC should mirror exactly what you are going to get with the tag management solution. The vendor short cuts and “work-arounds” that are frequently used in POCs and service-oriented models to better show off the solution are often not scalable and eventually break. Make sure that what you’re seeing during the POC 1) directly addresses your needs for the long term, and 2) is something that you will be able to duplicate yourself without a lot of engineering work.
- Be Comfortable With the Solution: The goal of a tag management system is to provide a technology that will allow digital marketers to be self-sufficient in managing all their vendor tags. Look for a company that will enable that self-sufficiency through ample training and an intuitive web interface, including turnkey vendor integration. It’s important to make sure you’re not replacing your dependency on IT with a dependency on a tag management service that requires IT to operate. During the POC, you should be able to see yourself easily using the tool on your own without ongoing assistance from the vendor, or from IT.
- Speak with Customer References: Ask for references and speak with other companies that have recently chosen a vendor after having evaluated multiple vendors. Ask questions about why they chose the vendor they did. If possible, speak with references that have recently made a decision about a tag management vendor. With the tag management landscape changing quickly, old references many times are not up-to-date on the latest features and capabilities in the industry.
- Learn About the Management Team: Tag management is a relatively new and quickly growing field, so the strength of the management team makes a big difference in the product and service. Do your research and find out how long the team has been collaborating and what their background in the industry is. You want to make sure you’re investing in a management team that understands digital marketing and web analytics technology inside and out, is committed to customer service and support, and has a clear vision for the future.
The tag management space is quickly growing, with each vendor touting different capabilities and features. If you conduct a POC, make sure you set it up correctly so you find the solution that most closely aligns with your business goals. This will ensure a long and fruitful partnership with your tag management vendor.