Q&A: Webtrends Alex Yoder on Analytics and Independent Tag Management, Part 2

In part 1 of this two-part interview, Alex Yoder, CEO of Webtrends, discussed his company’s current success and what’s happening in mobile analytics. In this installment, he talks about the importance of an independent tag management system and what he sees happening in the space overall.

Q: Both Coremetrics and Omniture have recently announced their Tag Management Systems (TMS). Why hasn’t WebTrends built a TMS?

A: I speak to many, many clients who feel trapped by their current vendor, simply because that vendor’s tag is on their site and the client is concerned that it will be too difficult to retag. I call this method of customer retention “trapping”—in essence, you get the tag on the site and then trap the customer with escalating costs, poor service and support and unfulfilled value.  I truly believe that, if all vendors were evaluated without the preexisting tag in place, we would win every time.  I am fine competing in a world where the customer can change vendors freely if they are not getting value from the solution and would challenge my competitors to do the same.  Our retention would be high and our new customer acquisition would be higher.  I therefore believe that it is imperative for Tag Management Systems to remain an independent third party, otherwise, the customer is left with the vendor’s tag management system and the same problems as before.

Q:  Why do you think large Web Analytics vendors are entering the Tag Management space? Is this a trend, or is there something more to this shift?

A: First off, because they can now charge a fee for a Javascript tag when they couldn’t in the past.  Secondly, because they are deathly fearful of having to compete in a market where the customer maintains the right to change vendors if they are not providing value—this is not consistent with their customer retention and support practices.

Q: What do you think are the benefits of working with an independent tag management system?

A: You are simply letting the fox watch the hen-house.  As a customer, you remove any opportunity to maintain control of the value that you receive from the various solutions.  You set yourself up to be trapped again.

Q: Tag Management is a really hot space right, with many companies entering the market. What do you think the market will look like 12 months from now?

A: Probably a few more vendors in the space and significant growth in usage.  Standardization, consolidation and simplification of the tag is a great concept and ads value to the customer, as well as easily being able to try new and different solutions without involving development.

Q: If TagMan clients were to try one Webtrends product, which solution do you feel would best compliment what they get with Adobe and IBM?

A: Tough to say. Webtrends Optimize is truly a next generation platform that drives significantly better results with less effort.  Combine that with Webtrends Segments and you get truly individual visitor behavioral analysis that a marketer can easily create segments on the fly and push them into Optimize, targeted email, or ad serving.  Of course, neither company really has a solid solution in mobile, or social analytics, so we have a lot of them using Webtrends and this would be a simple place to start.

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