Situation and Business Challenge
A large American university offering accredited online PhD, doctorate, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in numerous disciplines had made a considerable investment in an Adobe suite of products for digital marketing, including Adobe Experience Manager for content management, Adobe Target for A/B testing and content personalization, and Adobe Analytics for visitor and event tracking.
The university was excited about the Adobe product suite’s capabilities, such as complete customer profiles, behavior tracking from first visit to enrollment in university courses, and the ability to create customized marketing segments and target them with personalized content and offers. However, the implementation frustrated the analytics, marketing and IT teams — who shared ownership of the Adobe product suite — and left them feeling that they were not realizing the promised value. Specifically:
- The analytics team was concerned that Adobe Analytics had been implemented incorrectly and did not trust the data and reports it generated. In addition, the team had to rely on IT for making changes to analytics tracking, which inhibited its ability to test and resolve discrepancies or collect new data.
- The marketing team was unable to utilize Adobe Target for content personalization and measurement, as targeted campaigns are dependent on analytics to inform segmented marketing groups. Consequently, marketing campaign data and conversion tracking was not integrated with the business.
- The IT team had difficulty keeping Adobe Experience Manager up-to-date due to Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target being intertwined with the CMS code. Their instances were two versions behind current releases.
The organization had elected to install Signal’s Tag Management Solution (TMS) to make the data collected and shared between the website and various technologies in the digital marketing suite simpler and easier to manage, as well as improve conversion tracking across email, search, and social media. However, this required moving the Adobe Analytics code into Signal TMS, which was roadblocked by the entwinement of Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target with Adobe Experience Manager.
In order to realize the value of its digital marketing and analytics investments, the organization needed to untangle the dependencies and reconfigure its analytics solution. Several consultants from AIM Consulting’s Data & Analytics practice were already working with the analytics team on other projects, and based on the growing partnership, the company turned to AIM for help.
An AIM analytics developer worked across the analytics, marketing and IT groups to craft a solution in five phases:
- Comprehensive audit of analytics solution and dependencies: AIM interviewed stakeholders from all three groups to understand how the product suite is used, and the analytics goals for each of the products. AIM then reviewed the code, implementation and data collected from all three products, documenting and packaging the audit to serve as a roadmap for how tags would need to be set up in Signal.
- Complete the Signal TMS implementation: AIM then moved the analytics code from the CMS, where it was under the control of IT, to Signal TMS. Then, using the internal audit as a guide, AIM augmented Signal TMS with more data points and events on the website that needed to be tracked. At this point, Signal TMS and Adobe Analytics were fully under the control of the Analytics team.
- Finalize code transfer, clean data and test: AIM then transferred Adobe Target code from the CMS into Adobe Target, cleaned up data integrity issues, and, in conjunction with all teams, thoroughly tested each product of the suite to ensure it was operating properly.
- Perform product upgrades: With the code detangled, AIM upgraded the three Adobe products to their latest versions.
- Integrate Adobe Target and Adobe Analytics: With the suite up-to-date and functioning optimally, AIM helped the teams to realize one of the original intentions behind the investment — using Adobe Target in conjunction with Adobe Analytics so marketing teams can run, A/B test, and measure conversions for personalized content campaigns.
After meeting these major milestones, AIM helped the analytics team further mature their web analytics by adding more data points to the solution, largely related to behavior tracking on the website. Additionally, AIM lowered the organization’s data hosting costs by approximately $80,000 annually by eliminating large stores of redundant data across the three groups.
AIM helped to significantly raise the confidence and trust level of data among the analytics and marketing groups. With marketing and analytics now controlling their own data, workstreams and campaigns, management is far simpler, with IT free to pursue other projects. Functionality is vastly improved, with the Adobe products now performing optimally on their own and as a suite, with Signal TMS playing a vital role in management and conversion tracking.
The organization is utilizing the power of four times the data as before — all clean, organized, and accessible to the right teams. Analytics and marketing are seeing the results of their testing and personalization programs within their web analytics tools end to end. Marketing has complete customer profiles, from first visit to enrollment, and can create specific segments using any data point and target them with personalized content and offers. The organization is finally leveraging the value of its investment in data and analytics for digital marketing.