Are Templates a Real Time Saver?


by Rudi Shumpert, Director, Strategic Services – Satellite

Your website is not unique. You have invested large piles of money, time, & resources to create a web site that is just like every other one on the planet. You do not spend time on creative, instead you look at what your leading competitor site is doing and copy their design. You take the money set aside on differentiating your company, soak it in gasoline and light it on fire.

Sound like your business approach?

No?

Yet in almost every conversation about different TMS vendors the how-many-templates-do-you-have metric is tossed around like a badge of honor; as if the sheer number of pre-defined, non-custom, rigid scripts is something to be proud of.

Template Time

This knife has 432 different things (not really, I made that up) with sharp edges to cut things.  And yet every single one of these tools is a poor stand-in for its real equivalent. Lousy scissors are not scissors when you need scissors. A 1/16″ wide screwdriver tip is useless when you’re building a skyscraper. Your business isn’t an erector set; it’s the real deal. You need real, full-sized, enterprise-grade tools. Miniature stand-ins won’t cut it, and truth be told, you’ll just throw them away when you get to real work.

Why does this matter?

My frustration is genuine. When I was on the consulting side of the business, I had the opportunity to work with most all TMS vendors on projects that ranged from a few hundred to a few thousand hours.  One of the most frustrating things that would happen on nearly every project was false expectations from the client about how easy utilizing the templates would be.  In all of those projects, we actually NEVER used a single template for a client site. In real-world use, they were simply not flexible, powerful, or durable enough to meet our needs.

Every template or predefined framework we evaluated was either over-engineered and tried to do too many things, or was not able to be easily modified by the end user. All of this is great to feed hungry consultants who survive off of more service & support hours, but if the goal is to give the client a flexible framework that is supposed to actually deliver on the promise of streamlining their workflow and processes, then a template-driven approach is not for you.

I hear what you are thinking.  You think that I have been drinking too much of the Satellite Kool-Aid. While it is delicious, the truth is this comes from my experience in the real world, like the following use case of something simple like adding Google Adwords conversion code to your site.

Satellite Implementation Steps

Step 1.  Copy the entire code snippet of the Google Adwords conversion code.  That’s right, all of it.  With other tools, you need to worry about converting this tag to the raw javascript, parsing out all of the account id’s, and making other modifications to make a template work. With Satellite, just copy the entire code.  (Sample code here)

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 10.32.29 AM

Step 2.  In Satellite, select the appropriate rule that represents the user action you want (like a conversion) and paste your AdWords tag into the third-party tags section, just as you got it from Google.

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 2.53.28 PM

Step 3.  Save & Publish.  Done in less than 5 minutes.

That’s all there is to it.  Sure, we could have built out a library of templates to support the numerous tags & marketing pixels.  Instead, we created a system that allows you to tailor your implementation to meet your needs. The Satellite Tag Management Solution uniquely allows you to create a robust implementation of nearly any digital intelligence tag or script without having to make modifications of any kind. The only technical expertise required for this deployment is a mastery of ctrl-c & ctrl-v.

StackoverflowUsed with permission from Geek & Poke

This approach is a real time saver when updates to scripts are made by the vendors and you are able to roll out the changes independent of a new version of a template to be created, tested, & deployed.  You don’t have to take just my word for it, ask actual clients about their experiences with a template-driven approach. Ask your consulting agency how often they use templates on other client sites.  Ask your marketing agency about the reliability of the pixels when the scripts have to be modified to be shoe horned into a template.

The frustration of wasting valuable (and sometimes very expensive) time trying to put every website in the one-size-fits-all approach is what led me to the Satellite team.  Evan’s post, No Secret to Satellite’s Success, highlights this by pointing out that our team is made up of real-world practitioners and stakeholders who have spent vast amounts of time on a variety of client sites, solving real world problems and working to improve real business process.

If you have any questions or would like to see a real time, live demo of how Satellite can help you with your digital measurement & tag management initiatives or to schedule a demo to see all of the features, email me rudi(at)searchdiscovery.com.


About Search Discovery

Search Discovery is a digital intelligence company that empowers organizations to make better, dynamic and transformative business decisions. We're focused on delivering results for our clients through digital analytics, SEO, digital media, and technology.


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