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?


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 116″ 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)