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 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)searchdiscovery.com.