Last week Forrester published Understanding Tag Management Tools And Technology. The new research couldn't have arrived at a better time; by any standard, 2012 has been a banner year for tag management as the market momentum I wrote about at the end of last year continues unabated. JavaScript tagging is the instrumentation technology of choice for a wide variety of digital marketing and analytics solutions, but managing tags over the long term is an expensive, time-consuming, and error-prone endeavor. Ultimately, tag management systems (TMS) help provide control, flexibility, and efficiency to ensure the efficacy of digital intelligence. Ever since the enthusiastic reception of Forrester's inaugural report on tag management, it's been abundantly clear that deeper and ongoing research on this topic is essential. I've been bullish on tag management for the past couple of years because it's one of the rare technology solutions that truly addresses a pervasive challenge for practitioners. But I'm hardly alone; tag management is top of mind for several other important constituencies:

  • Forrester clients. I've been blown away by my clients' accelerating level of interest in tag management. This topic was almost completely nascent just a couple of years ago, and now it comprises a significant proportion of my client inquiries, meetings at events, and consulting engagement discussions.
  • Investors. Continuing the trend from last year, capital continues to flow into tag management. Multiple vendors have secured financing rounds this year, including BrightTag and Tealium. Additionally, I'm regularly fielding calls from CEOs and venture capital firms to discuss the tag management market and prospective investments.
  • Vendors. As with any early-stage technology market, enterprising vendors and entrepreneurs see opportunity in tag management. In Forrester's original report on tag management, we identified five key vendors, which has grown to 15 vendors in the new report. And the surge isn't over. I expect more vendors to enter the market in the coming months.
I'm really excited about this report because it delivers:
  • An updated look at the tag management vendor landscape. The rapid growth of tag management brings an explosion in vendor options. This report not only updates the landscape of vendors offering standalone, full-featured tag management systems but also provides a more detailed breakdown of their commercial and technical characteristics. This is designed to provide readers with the information they need to go beyond the marketing hype to differentiate vendors and develop their own vendor selection shortlists.
  • Data from TMS users. The report features the results of Forrester's first global survey of tag management users. Tag management is so new that we have previously lacked data from practitioners to validate anecdotal insights and market buzz. This data is crucial for understanding users' motivations, buying requirements, TMS usage patterns, and the benefits of tag management. Readers should leverage the data to validate their TMS requirements and expectations.
So, what did we learn? There's a tremendous amount of detail in the report, but the key takeaways are:
  • Marketers struggle with complex digital marketing and analytics environments. Customer intelligence and interactive marketing professionals look to tag management systems to help them execute and analyze digital marketing activities in a challenging environment that continuously changes, requires a diverse array of site instrumentation, and lacks rigorous internal processes.
  • Tag management systems deliver on the promise of efficiency. Users expect a wide variety of benefits from tag management systems, but ultimately, tag management systems deliver process efficiencies by reducing the effort, resources, and time required to add, edit, and remove tags from sites.
  • The early-stage TMS market offers many vendor options. The young TMS market comprises a broad vendor landscape, giving buyers a wide spectrum of price points, feature sets, and technical options to choose from and match to their own requirements.
Tag management is maturing quickly, and the next 12  to 24 months will be a critical period as the market moves towards adolescence. Forrester will remain engaged in the TMS market and will provide ongoing updates as the vendor landscape and best practices evolve. If your company is pursuing a tag management solution, we'd love to hear about your experiences or answer any questions you may have. 
Finally, I'd like to extend a huge "thank you" to the vendors who participated in the report and to all the TMS users who completed the survey. We appreciate your support!