Listen and you will hear the crystal-clear sounds of success at HARMAN International. Although you would expect great results and audio from legendary HARMAN brands, including JBL and Harman/Kardon, in this case the amplification comes from a set of strategic digital marketing technologies that include Tealium iQ. HARMAN uses Tealium iQ to manage tagging requirements and build a unified data layer for an expanding ecosystem of digital marketing solutions. Leveraging these best-in-class platforms and applications, HARMAN is on track this year to boost its e-commerce revenue by over 100 percent. “Using Tealium iQ opens the door for HARMAN marketers to implement more timely and creative campaigns than ever before,” says Jeremy Myers, manager of global e-commerce analytics at HARMAN. “As digital marketing moves toward a model of immediacy, we need agility to go live with our programs in just days or hours—not weeks or months. Since deploying Tealium, we’ve reduced tag setup from two weeks to 15 minutes. Eliminating tag-related bottlenecks opens up unprecedented opportunities for our marketing groups to build both revenue and brand awareness.”
For more than 60 years, HARMAN innovations have set the pace for audio and infotainment systems for the consumer, professional, and automotive markets. Today, the company equips more than 80 percent of the world’s luxury cars and it’s the leading equipment provider to world-class sports stadiums, including such iconic venues as Yankee Stadium and the O2 arenas in Berlin and London. On the consumer side of the business, the HARMAN Lifestyle Division creates professional-quality audio products for the home, vehicle, and people on-the-go. Recognizing the opportunity to drive more revenue in the B2C segment as well as increase brand awareness across all markets, HARMAN recently expanded its investment in e-commerce, launching a project to build out a more robust digital commerce solution. “HARMAN has long been recognized as a leader in product quality and technical sophistication,” says Myers. “But many of our products are embedded solutions that don’t inherently garner brand awareness. And, of course, we have to differentiate ourselves within a very crowded field of highly promoted consumer electronics brands. So our objectives with this project were to drive e-commerce revenue as well as brand awareness for all areas of the business.” Myers points out that streamlined tag deployment was foundational to project success. “Early iterations of our e-commerce structure required hardcoding third-party vendor tags. That process took weeks and considerable IT resources. Five or ten years ago, marketing worked to a 12 month calendar. But digital marketing opportunities develop and change frequently, so we need agility to turn on initiatives at an accelerated pace. We can’t afford for tag deployment to be the bottleneck in launching revenue-generating campaigns or for problem pixels to decrease web site performance.”
The HARMAN e-commerce team evaluated four leading tag management solutions. Myers cites the following key factors in the company’s decision to use Tealium iQ:
“We also talked at length to reference customers,” Myers adds. “We made our selection based on those discussions, the architecture and functionality of the Tealium iQ solution, and the business acumen of the Tealium team.” HARMAN currently uses Tealium iQ to manage more than a dozen tags on several web sites, including akg.com, harmankardon.com, infinityspeakers.com, and jbl.com. Tags managed through Tealium iQ include BizRate, DoubleClick, Google Analytics, Smarter Remarketer, and many more.
“I can deploy a new tag in 15 minutes,” Myers reports. “Recently, our search engine marketing agency in EMEA called with a request to deploy a new tag for a remarketing campaign. Twenty minutes later, their pixel was live and they launched the campaign. In the past, that process would have required writing up a ticket for IT to work at a sprint. Then we would have had to load and add the tag to staging, make sure it was firing correctly, and push it live — a process that took a full two weeks if the timing coincided with IT development sprints. If IT had a full slate or the tag was particularly complex, it might even be four weeks before we could go live. That’s a lot of missed connection opportunities. “I used to spend about 10 percent of my time on tag deployments. Today, I can add a new tag to our site as fast as I can write an IT ticket. Factoring in the staffing hours we previously spent on tag deployments, I’d estimate that the Tealium solution paid for itself in under four months. And, more importantly, we’re consuming fewer resources on secondary tasks. IT and e-commerce staff each have more time to apply to strategic, high value-added projects.” With the fast relaunch of its lifestyle web sites, the HARMAN e-commerce team is achieving both revenue and brand awareness goals. Myers continues, “We’re also building awareness across all HARMAN brands. Brand promotion is especially important in our automotive segment. For example, brand awareness helps dealers succeed in selling the Harman/Kardon sound system to purchasers of BMW vehicles.”
“Tealium iQ serves as a gatekeeper for all of our tags, making it easy to audit tags without going back to IT,” Myers says. “We use Tealium’s Web Companion to investigate specific pages directly from the browser. That’s simpler and more useful, for example, than doing a view source on the page. View source tells if there’s code there but not whether it’s firing correctly. Tealium eliminates all the hassle of adding and removing tags and it’s very user-friendly, even down to the color-coding of changes. That may sound like a small thing but it saves time and it’s extremely useful in versioning.” Tealium iQ also enhances the user experience by enabling faster page loads and minimizing delays in delivery of full-page functionality. Myers emphasizes the importance of the Tealium multi-CDN architecture, which ensures that clients’ tags are served from a zone of peak performance: “Fast, global tag delivery is fundamental for an international business. We’re working on e-commerce launches in Brazil, India, Russia, and China and we’re confident we can maintain needed performance. Another Tealium benefit is data ownership. It’s essential that we control the data points that get passed along to vendors and not allow harvesting of private or sensitive information for unspecified use.” In summary, Myers says that Tealium met all expectations, including 1) marketing self-reliance, with reduced requirements on IT resources to deploy and manage tags; 2) faster time to market, shrinking tag implementations from weeks to hours or minutes ; 3) reduced page load times; 4) no server downtime to slow tracking; 5) fast ROI; and 6) enhanced revenue and brand awareness opportunities. “Tealium iQ is helping HARMAN e-commerce achieve the immediacy of action required for successful digital marketing,” Myers concludes. “We have new agility to move on opportunities and to incorporate new technologies. Tealium’s data layer will also help us unify our online marketing applications and minimize effort and risk in future update processes.”
HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets premier audio, visual, infotainment and integrated control solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets. With leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity Systems®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson®, the company is admired by audiophiles, musicians and the entertainment venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of approximately 16,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported sales of $5.3 billion for the twelve months ended June 30, 2014.