Tag management technology company BrightTag changed its name to Signal on Tuesday and rolled out an “Open Data Platform” for marketers to link disparate data collection sources such as CRM, email, DSPs and DMPs. This comes on the heels of a small acquisition the company made just days ago of Signal, an email and SMS marketing platform.
But get one thing clear: “We’re not a marketing stack,” said Marc Kiven, founder and CRO of Signal. “We’re the data foundation that helps make their stacks better.” Joe Stanhope, who joined BrightTag as SVP of marketing from Forrester Research in March, said the company’s marketer clients maintain an average of 17 systems.
“That’s a lot of technology and when you spread it out across different channels and touch points, it’s even more complex,” he said. “What we’re trying to do with the Open Data Platform is sit between all this data and technology to make them work better together.”
It’s become increasingly challenging to differentiate between the capabilities of a data management platform (DMP), attribution technology and the tag management system (TMS), particularly when all systems, in one way or another, codify and track data signals cross-channel.
“My view is that tag management will become part of a larger play around digital marketing tech and data management, but will certainly not be going away anytime soon from a user perspective,” said James McCormick, senior analyst at Forrester Research. That said, “I have yet to see a vendor which has grown with a single focus on tag management really make a leap away from the space.”
Tag managers will remain a viable technology, whether standalone or as incorporated into a larger stack, because of its original purpose – make it easy and near real time for users (and their third party systems) to ingest data and fire off messages or campaigns based on the fact.
The promise of the technology is that it provides better measurability “because you are collecting and synchronizing data from all touch points,” Stanhope said.
Shopping startup and BrightTag (now Signal) customer Rue La La, for example, uses Signal Fuse (the Open Data Platform) and TMS sister tool that speeds up data collection and subsequent segmentation and targeting for marketers.
Using such a product, “Rue La La was able to increase conversion rates by 10 percent in a key retargeting campaign to reactivate lapsed customers, which is a significant challenge for e-retailers,” said Eric Sherman, senior manager of acquisition marketing for Rue La La.
Because it’s a challenge to keep flash sales customers coming back for more deals over a longer period of time, it needed a way to integrate real-time Web data with the CRM record to then feed back to its retargeting vendor. Because so many customers access Rue La La from their mobile, the company needed a super-fast system to track actions and tailor messaging for win-backs on the fly.
“We’ve been up and running these tests with Fuse for a few months now and are excited by the results we’re seeing,” Sherman said. “We’re very much a culture of testing and learning” and TMS technologies make that more of a possibility.
Signal has more than 100 employees and recently raised a $27 million growth round from Yahoo Japan. There has been continuous consolidation in the TMS space, most recently with Ensighten’s acquisition of TagMan.