“The way I would describe an enterprise-level taxonomy is that by definition it’s anything in marketing, so it’s not just tracking code, even though it’s a very common use case,” said Christine Reges, Director of Solution Consulting at data governance firm Claravine, at the recent MarTech conference.
Essentially, a taxonomy is a structured set of naming conventions. “It could be applied to product catalogs, digital assets, your asset management tool,” she added. “This is a defined definition of the data you want to capture.”
The benefits of implementing a marketing taxonomy have far-reaching implications for how marketing assets are distributed with improved personalization, as well as ensuring that data used in assets is privacy compliant and even brand safety.
“The benefit of having a defined marketing taxonomy is that the data points you define up front are then leveraged into cross-functional marketing tactics and optimizations, or even just for performance and optimization analysis. “, Reges said.
“Each asset has a ton of fields associated with it, metadata so to speak,” said Michael Shearer, Senior Director, Digital Innovation and Strategy for Claravine. “And so it’s this mapping of fields and values, not just in each asset, but across these different assets.”
The interconnect allows marketers to measure the effectiveness of campaigns, content, coupons, catalogs, and other assets.
“When you’re able to normalize and connect these things, you can do so much more with your marketing,” Shearer said.
“It’s more than just normalizing these data points,” Reges said. “You are able to optimize all of these different points that you are collecting now. The data is further enriched and then additionally it is the insights that you get from the data.”
Shearer added, “When everyone is working from a marketing taxonomy, then you’re going to be more nimble because you don’t worry about what values to put in place. These things are predetermined. They’re ready to go, you apply them, and you can move on. Thus, you create a culture of agility and collaboration.
Transformation and new regulations
A reliable marketing taxonomy also helps an organization navigate the integration of new technologies, which has become a greater need in recent years with rapid digital transformation.
“We’ve been bombarded with marketing technology over the last decade, and I think that’s why marketing taxonomy is becoming more and more of an issue and something that people are finally addressing,” Shearer said. “They’re full of technology that isn’t integrated, that doesn’t speak…and there’s a certain point where you have to stop, step back, reset your data strategy.”
This is especially true for companies that need to implement technology quickly and ensure data doesn’t slip through the cracks.
“Resetting the data strategy for marketing starts with creating a taxonomy, your data definitions, and then having everyone benefit from it,” Shearer said. “When you’re a business, you’re marketing globally. You have 20 or 30 teams and hundreds of people who touch data. You can’t have a concerted marketing program without it.
He added: “You also need to address things like privacy changes and creating standardized data sets so you can test even when you don’t know who an individual is. All of that little metadata is optimization opportunities, the ability to segment, the ability to provide personalized personalization across all of your different mobile apps and website experience… without all that data flowing around, you’re going to be flying blind . So I think there’s a huge opportunity to standardize your metadata, create rules, and really do great things with your marketing.
Unexpected changes also require an organization’s marketing team to be able to modify campaigns on the fly at any time. This need became even more prevalent during the pandemic, when public safety messages had to be updated with the latest coronavirus news.
“COVID was a great example where marketers were reorganizing their assets,” Reges said. “We heard of a few use cases where marketers were trying to pull assets and delete them.”
She added: “Unfortunately many brands didn’t have the ability to turn around quickly. And I know they faced a lot of backlash in the media for it.
In this way, a marketing taxonomy allows an organization to be agile and respond quickly to new challenges. It’s an important part of any company’s data strategy, with new benefits and opportunities as marketing teams become more organized with data and assets to deliver effective up-to-the-minute campaigns.
Watch the rest of this MarTech conference presentation here (free registration required).