Stick with what you know. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. These adages encapsulate our resistance to change. Change, after all, isn’t always good. Sometimes we monkey around with things and they go poorly or learning and putting in place a new thing might take a lot of time and have a long learning curve that isn’t worth the trouble.
But occasionally, something is such an improvement on an existing idea that it makes its predecessor obsolete. Few people ride horses as their primary mode of transportation or light their homes with candles. This is because paradigm-shifting technologies came along and made those options dinosaurs.
Marketers use GTL to create personalized messages in Marketing Cloud. GTL tailors messages to customers, using such attributes as contact information. While GTL is similar to Mustache and Handlebar — and will support valid templates from those libraries — instead of using data supplied via script as a source, it taps Marketing Cloud.
However, within a year of its inception, GTL fell behind, because it was never documented properly. This shift left other methods more viable. A lack of proper documentation in Marketing Cloud led to confusion as to how GTL works. GTL can work with JSON and access lists and data extensions within Marketing Cloud. It accesses all available sources to match variables until it returns the correct information.
Many companies still use GTL for JSON parsing, which generally comes with real-time emails like shipping confirmation. For such purposes JSON is being sent to Marketing Cloud for personalization with information such as the customer’s name, address, order related information, etc. Parsing it any other way, like with AMPScript, is tricky. This is the primary use for GTL. It is sole reason for GTL’s continued existence. GTL does more than this, but other tools perform GTL’s other functions better.
AMPScript and SSJS are much easier to use and scale. They are a more powerful way of personalizing messages. AMPScript can be embedded within emails, text messages, push notifications and landing pages, allowing marketers to craft content on a user-by-user basis. It also meshes with extensions, infusing your messages with content from those extensions and updating extensions with content from your landing pages.
If you were to learn a programming language to ensure your campaigns have maximum customization, you wouldn’t bother learning GTL because AMPScript and SSJS can do everything GTL does — and more. GTL is more akin to training wheels. For instance, AMPScript and SSJS can attach a barcode or file and update Salesforce — things that GTL was never intended to do.
With AMPScript, you know what it is doing, which functions are doing what. Marketers need the ability to scale campaigns, to return to them and alter them on-the-go, a way to troubleshoot if errors occur. This can only be accomplished with a more modern and sophisticated tool like AMPScript.
It is easy to stick with what we already know. And, given that GTL was first to the fence, it is possible that your company has been reluctant to switch to something new. Maybe, somewhere in you, you are thinking “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it; stick with what you know.”
Our talented team of experts can help you take personalization to the next level. Don’t let your marketing become outdated. Explore AMPScript and SSJS!