Interview with Tracy Hansen, CMO Tealium

3/19/2015
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How has Tealium expanded beyond tag management, and what is the strategy behind that expansion?

Tag management is a foundational element to any digital marketing strategy and it starts to crystalize quickly that it is not just about managing tags on a page, but about managing the data collected across the multiple systems marketing uses to create seamless and effective user engagement and experiences. Our customers have on average 20 or more systems they are using to create user experiences for their customers. Their marketing technology portfolio consists of disparate, siloed systems, collecting information in unique, inconsistent ways making it nearly impossible to create a true integrated program. We solve this problem by harmonizing and standardizing all this data, connecting vendor actions and delivering real-time action based on user behavior. When using Tealium, our strategic approach to data management and our purpose-built marketing solutions to integrate the data across channels—social channels, e-marketing channels, mobile, website— enable marketers to stitch together omnichannel, multi-device data to build a universal, 360 degree profile of their customer. We are changing the data game with point-and-click simplicity. Now marketers are able to see, in real time, the panoramic view of their customers and are able to take action on these customers across different systems immediately. Gone are batch-downloading, backward-looking data management practices that would take anywhere from 48 to 62 hours to be able to take any action on my users. We rapidly evolved from a JavaScript tag management platform to a groundbreaking platform for marketers who need to unify their data across all their systems and create an environment that allows marketers to be far more intelligent and proactive in their investments and programs.

How does Tealium facilitate taking action on the data, in addition to collecting it?

We have incredible examples of how are customers are using Tealium to take rapid action to drive their business strategies. Our customer Ancestry.com, for example, started using Tealium iQ, and then quickly adopted our audience segmentation and action platform, Tealium AudienceStream. They were able to create all the tags across their different entities, collect the data, standardize it, stitch together the information about each of their visitors in their unique profile, and then take action against cart abandoners in seconds. Something previously that took 24-48 hours. Real time is a reality with Tealium’s solutions. Our Connector Library includes over 20 connectors that give even more power to our customers as it allows them to connect to non-tag based systems to share data and ignite action. Whether it’s a CRM platform, a marketing automation system, ad servers, or an email platform, marketers can leverage their unified data across their entire stack, using real-time action to deliver an always-on, always-present marketing approach.

That sounds like something A/B testing and personalization software products do. Do you find yourself competing with them?

Tealium is not a point solution solving one problem with one data source; we are not a competitor of A/B testing or personalization software providers. Tealium is vendor neutral. We power our partners with the richest set of first party data to make their systems work better based on our customer’s business requirements. A/B testing and personalization software collects information unique or distinct to their application, not necessarily an aggregation of data across all of the possible touch points. We are able to transform data across marketing systems to be standardized such that the marketer can bring it together and have a complete holistic picture of the customer and take action in any prescribed system, versus just testing or personalization system. Think of Tealium as Marketing’s Information Backbone. We are a passionate agnostic solution for marketers, and our partnerships across the digital marketing ecosystem demonstrate our commitment to our partners and our customers. It is key for us to be an ally and an enabler of the nearly 2000 different marketing technologies. 

Google and Adobe are both offering free tag management products. How do you compete against these vendors?

We find a large number of companies look at free solutions to gain an understanding tag management, and then come to us when they are ready for an enterprise-class, scalable solution that gives them the support, flexibility, and agility they need. As for marketing clouds at large, we are seeing the creation and evolution of the marketing clouds and noting that our customers, while they appreciate the thought behind these clouds, need the flexibility to choose marketing technologies best suited for their business needs and purposes, regardless of a vendor stack. We also notice that our customers are spread across different clouds, whether they are using on cloud’s CRM, another’s ad server, another’s analytics and they need a way to stitch together all that data and enable action outside of any one stack. Using Tealium’s solutions in tag management, audience segmentation, data collection and management solutions, the marketer is in control and that is incredibly powerful for our customers. 

Marketing clouds promise better and easier integration among the different technology facets. How do you compete with that vision?

The best thing about being vendor neutral is that we work across all marketing technologies, regardless of whether they are part of a marketing cloud or a best-of-breed product. Our priority and commitment is to the marketer; what they need to be successful is our focus. 

What are some of the underlying industry trends that inform your product roadmap and your marketing strategy?

Three industry trends come to mind: data, real time, and content. The first, data - or big data, more accurately - continues to dominate the industry. Marketers are engaged in the dilemma of having an enormous amount of data available to them but it’s not aggregated or usable in any easy way. As a company heavily focused on data transformation and action, we see that this trend isn’t slowing down and is only getting more complex by the day. Marketers need a solution to the problem and an approach that is achievable, today. The second trend, ‘real time,’ is equally daunting for today’s marketer. The definition of real time alone is ambiguous. Some say that real time is the ability to look at data and after a couple of days, take action. At Tealium, we think real time means now. It’s the ability to transform, access and use information right now to drive business value and customer delight. 

The expectation from consumers of an always-on, always present engagement where everything personalized and delivered to them in right now regardless of the device is a marketer’s reality. Our vision of stitching together experiences across mobile, desktop, and in-person is also a reality and we will continue to evolve our roadmap based on how the consumer is adapting to a real-time digital world. Real-time, active engagement across devices is not a new trend in 2015, but the expectations that come with it are exceptional compared to any other year. It’s paramount that brands have a strategy and control around it, and as the shift from desktop to mobile continues to surge, we need to make sure that the data we collect and the way that we work with it is clean, clear and actionable.

The final trend that I’m working through, in our Marketing programs, is content. As a marketer marketing to marketers, trying to break through the noise is our focus. We are a resource for Marketers seeking new ideas and a partner for their innovation and creativity.  Specifically, we are a resource for marketers who need to make the best use of their marketing technologies, data and infrastructure.  

Is in-person data something that Tealium also incorporates?

We have products that allow us to ingest offline data and then correlate it with digital data so our customers have a holistic, 360-degree view of the customer. We work with a number of brick & mortar stores, as well as travel and hospitality companies today who are using their 360-degree views. Consumers want the experience to be seamless, whether checking into a hotel, getting onto a ski lift, or buying something at a department store, and when the consumer arrives at home, they want the brand to know who they are, what their preferences are and have it not matter whether it live, on a smart phone, tablet or computer. 

How does all of this affect your product roadmap?

We are unveiling our revolutionary product vision at our user conference in mid April. Core to this vision is the marketer’s ability to get actionable data how they want it, where they want it, and in ways that drive value. Those who employ a tag management foundation as part of their strategy, who get a data layer in place so that their data is clean and usable, and then take action on that data, will change the game for their company.  Marketers who understand this will win the game.
Megan Headley - Research Director at TrustRadius
Megan champions research at TrustRadius. Her mission is to ensure we gather the highest quality data from authenticated reviewers, and provide useful curated reports for prospective software buyers. Prior to joining TrustRadius, Megan was Director of Sales and Marketing at a media company. She holds MA degrees in Journalism and Latin American Studies from the University of Texas.