Did you Hear About Launch at Adobe Summit?

Why you need to know what everyone's talking about

Why was everybody at Adobe Summit talking about Launch?

Launch was a big part of the Adobe Summit this year, highlighted by several direct references in the keynotes. Several breakout sessions that focused on Launch were a big hit -- if you didn't get into one of them early, you were out of luck.

So, your Tag Management System (TMS) manages the foundation of your data collection; it's the blueprint that determines whether your brand is really 'data-driven' or not. Adobe Marketing Cloud uses a TMS that most folks call Dynamic Tag Manager (DTM). It was renamed to Activation a while back, and it has been a huge step forward for most brands using Adobe Marketing Cloud. That TMS is going to be updated to a new successor called Launch, and Launch is awesome.

I know that's a lot of jargon and initialisms. Let me put it another way for those who aren't intimate with their data libraries. The conductor of your data train is gonna get a big upgrade. CHOO CHOO!

What’s so great about Launch Anyway?

One of the most crucial features of Launch, the new Tag Management successor to Activation (DTM), is that developers don't have to manage integrations. With DTM, if you were trying to integrate third party tools, like, say, Google Analytics ecommerce, or Maxymiser, you'd have a couple of options. You could see if there was an integration tool available, or you could set it up as custom code. Neither of these options was very appealing. The tool is limited and developed by Adobe Developers. The custom code option required you to learn javascript, or make your own poor, beleaguered dev team do it.

Launch will change a whole lot of that. The gist here, that I learned at Adobe Summit, is that with a little working knowledge of Node Js, you and your dev team are going to be able to create your own 'tools', similar to the tools previously created by Adobe Developers. This is an amazing move. It means that you can have the features that you most need in your extensions. For the brave and the bold, and the highly motivated, submission for release to the general public is possible as well. What that should mean is that a community of extension makers should grow up around this feature. If you move to Launch, that means you might start to see a lot of really useful, creative extensions show up, that should help make the most of out your shiny new Tag Management System. 

Can I really take a stab at making Extensions? (I don’t even know what all the buttons on my microwave are for.)

I was able to attend a breakout session on Launch Extensions, and it was eye-opening. Even if you aren't an ace developer, you can pick up enough in an hour and a half to develop strategy and architecture to hand off to your development team to get what you need crafted into an extension. The session was hosted by Jeff Chasin, Principal Product Manager at Adobe and DTM/Launch evangelist. Basically, he's the Professor X of Analytics Implementations. I've been reading his blog posts for years, and it was a little surreal to meet him in person. He made the session one of the most memorable and effective of the umpteen courses I went to. Read more from Jeff Chasin here. Definitely read the post about launch, here

Now I'm familiar with code, just like anyone working with Tag Management Systems have to be these days, but that's the full extent of it. I'm certainly no developer. But the course made it seem like with a little bit of google fu, and maybe a helping hand, creating an extension for Launch is only slightly more complex than creating some custom code for your current DTM implementation. If you've implemented ecommerce code via DTM, you might not be all that far from the skills you'd need to create a simple extension. And there's so much that can be done with extensions.

For those who want to see their Tag Management System do more, it makes a lot of sense to transition to Launch now, and extensions just scratch the surface of what Launch is going to be able to do. Launch will be a great new direction for your data library.

Okay, so maybe extensions are cool, but how does Launch fit into the bigger picture?

See, the thing is Launch is the cornerstone of the marketing cloud for your brand. Your whole marketing cloud requires data, and Launch is the conductor of your data. One of the other topics that kept coming up at Adobe Summit was machine learning, AI, and Sensei, Adobe’s collection of AI capabilities. In the not too distant future, it’s likely that Sensei is going to power some features of Launch. Launch plays a big role in personalization too. Your Audiences and Segments all require data that Launch helps manage. Launch will make the relationships between the parts of your brand’s Adobe Marketing Cloud travel in the same direction.