PUT YOUR DATA WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS

Using your tag management system for real-time data syndication

By Brandon Bunker, Sony Electronics Senior Analytics Manager

Fresh water. Fossil fuels. Data.

In the past five years, data has quickly vaulted to being one of our most valuable business and personal resources. Everyone collects it. Everyone protects it. And everyone wonders just what exactly to do with it.

Optimized customer interactions lead to lower turnover, higher margins, and increased satisfaction.

Most major companies are in agreement: data should be used to optimize customer interactions. However, this is much easier said than done—and it gets said a lot.

The few companies that are leading in this endeavor see lower turnover, higher margins and an increase in satisfied customers. The companies that don’t may soon find themselves drifting toward an island of irrelevance.

"We must be able to break down data silos to truly get value out of our data. While tag management software has made data collection much easier for large companies, data collection is not enough."

My Data Silo Story

One day, I needed to buy a pair of men’s shoes. Of course, I searched on Google for men’s shoes and clicked on the first website that came up. I browsed the shoes and ultimately selected an economical, yet suave, pair of shoes. However, when I added the product to the shopping cart, a product recommendation engine asked me if I would also like to purchase a bra. I was immediately distracted and ended up abandoning the purchase.

Ever curious, I analyzed the data being sent to the recommendation engine. Sure enough, gender was not in there. That day, I learned that data collection does not do you any good if it is locked away in a silo.

We must be able to break down data silos to truly get value out of our data. While tag management software has made data collection much easier for large companies, data collection is not enough.

In digital analytics’ ancient past (like 2006), you paid large amounts of money to set up an FTP to syndicate or transfer your data to different software tools for analysis. Not only is this costly, but it also hinders the ability to analyze data in real-time. On a large retail site, waiting even a day for your data collection results can cost you thousands of possible conversions.

As the head of analytics at Sony Electronics, I knew we couldn’t delay our customer interaction optimization due to slow data syndication methods. We needed a smarter way to get our data to the places we needed it most.

Working with enterprise tag management software company, Ensighten, we engineered a method to syndicate our data in real-time. Utilizing Ensighten, we built a rich data model and a control for latent data. Our data layer contains a JSON object from the eCommerce Server, Ajax responses from 3rd party systems, and data scraped from the page. We then mapped the data to different third party systems, using Ensighten to control when our calls fired. Ensighten allowed us to fire some calls immediately like Adobe Test&Target or delay a call to wait for a critical piece of data.

This quickly opened the door to new ways of optimizing our customer experiences at Sony.

Use Case #1

While analyzing our website, we found that some users were landing on product pages that had no inventory. In the past, the real-time inventory was only available via an AJAX data feed that loaded on the page.

Using our tag manager, we syndicated the product inventory status to many different systems, including Adobe SiteCatalyst and Adobe Test&Target. Not only did this make reporting easier, but it also allowed us to serve up alternate customer experiences with Test&Target.

"Using these tools, we were able to limit users landing on product pages without inventory and, ultimately, sell more products because of this effort."

Using these tools, we were able to limit users landing on product pages without inventory and, ultimately, sell more products because of this effort.

Use Case #2

Recently, my business approached me with a challenge to increase the sales from our customer service chat engine. When I popped the hood of our chat engine, I discovered that it lacked the rich data needed to keep the engine running smooth. Under the current setup, our chat agents were unable to target users based on behavioral data.

A Diet Coke and 10 minutes later, we had used our tag management system to syndicate our entire web analytics to our chat engine. Sales via our chat engine increased almost immediately.

Content is king. Data is the emperor.

While recommendation, personalization and predictive engines are useful, they will distract your customer if they aren’t fed relevant data.

For a customer, this could be the difference of being recommended a pair of men’s shoes or a women’s bra.

For your company website, this could prove the difference of truly unlocking the power of analytics.

About the author:

Brandon Bunker is the Senior Manager of Analytics at Sony Electronics where he manages web and predictive analytics, tag management, direct marketing analytics and A/B testing. With a long history of creating value for brand and e-commerce sites, he passionately seeks out new ways to find insights from web and marketing data.

About Pointmarc:

With offices in the greater Seattle area, Boston and San Francisco, Pointmarc is a digital analytics consultancy deeply dedicated to helping clients fundamentally transform their marketing by realizing the promise of data measurement and reporting technologies.