Twilio Segment’s head of tech alliances on the state of CDP and where product analytics fits in
The most successful companies today value, analyze, and learn from their customer data. And two tools in many of these companies’ data stacks are a trusted customer data platform (CDP) and a powerful analytics solution.
Twilio Segment, the leading CDP solution in the world, recently released its 2023 CDP Report that shows over 90% of its customers have an analytics integration connected to their CDP. Mixpanel, we’re happy to say, comes in as the most popular analytics destination offered on the Twilio Segment CDP platform.
To dive deeper into the report, we spoke to Twilio Segment’s VP of Global Business Development & Alliances, Kevin Harris. Read on to learn how companies are analyzing their customer data, ensuring integrity, and putting it all together to drive results.
First, for those who don’t know, can you give us a quick primer on what a CDP is and the specific role it can play for companies who want to be more data-driven?
A CDP can play a critical role in helping companies become more data-driven by providing a centralized location for customer data that can be accessed and used by various teams across an organization. This enables businesses to gain a better understanding of their customers’ behaviors, preferences, and needs, which can inform important business decisions
Why are companies consistently leveraging analytics with their CDP?
Based on our report, it’s clear a majority of companies are pairing analytics tools with their CDP because it provides deeper insights into their customer behavior and helps unlock data-driven decision-making. Companies can use the data from a CDP like Twilio Segment to inform their analytics, allowing them to better understand how their customers interact with their products and services.
Why is this more important today than ever before? Because of the rapid digital acceleration throughout the pandemic, the volume and complexity of customer data has grown exponentially over the past few years. Without proactive processes and infrastructure in place, we’ve seen businesses struggle with data sitting in functional silos, leading to an incomplete view of the business and of the customer. A CDP paired with best-in-class product analytics like Mixpanel empowers companies to build a strong foundation of clean, accurate, and unified customer profile and behavior data to better personalize the customer experience and drive growth.
“Overall, I think it’s the ease of access to sophisticated product analytics that’s drawn over 4,000 Twilio Segment customers to pair their CDP with Mixpanel.”
Well, since you mentioned Mixpanel… We’re certainly excited that Mixpanel is the number one integration choice in the analytics platform category for Twilio Segment customers. What are some of the specific use cases you’ve seen that make the Twilio Segment-Mixpanel pairing the most popular?
I think the use cases we’ve seen have to do with the power and simplicity of the Twilio Segment and Mixpanel pairing. For example, we recently saw Twilio Segment customers heycar and Boll & Branch switch to Mixpanel for more in-depth and easier-to-use data visualizations over their previous analytics tools. In the case of heycar, it helped them increase their conversion rates 4x and their user retention 3x.
And it’s really impactful when that power can be easily scaled through other integrations. At Smartcar, the marketing team uses Mixpanel and Twilio Segment to analyze data and then deploy campaigns informed by that data with Intercom.
There’s also been a recent change in the analytics category with Google Analytics sunsetting its GA Universal product in favor of GA4 later this year. The upgrade to GA4 isn’t automatic and requires a new implementation and learning curve, so this change has caused some customers to seek new analytics solutions like Mixpanel.
Overall, I think it’s the ease of access to sophisticated product analytics that’s drawn over 4,000 Twilio Segment customers to pair their CDP with Mixpanel.
What’s striking about the CDP Report is the sheer number of app integrations Twilio Segment customers have to choose from. Can you talk a bit about Twilio Segment’s approach to working with an ecosystem of data products instead of growing a suite of your own?
We’re certainly proud of our extensive catalog of over 400 integrations.
Every business is unique and has different data needs, so we want to empower our customers to choose the right tools for their specific requirements, whether that be product analytics, email marketing, customer service, and more. That makes our goal as a product simple: to provide our customers with a single source of truth for their customer data and to make it easy for them to integrate that data with the tools and platforms they already use.
“A CDP like Twilio Segment provides an easy path to building the golden customer profile for a data warehouse. From there, companies have a central hub to do things like measure the effectiveness of their marketing, sales, and product efforts…”
Your report shows CDP-data warehouse integrations are on the rise. What is the functionality that’s driving this? And what does this style of integration deliver for companies or teams who are stringing together multiple solutions like analytics, A/B testing, and more?
I think this trend of rising CDP-data warehouse integrations is driven by the need for companies to have a single source of truth for their customer data and also the ability to centralize that data for analysis and decision-making.
Of course, a CDP like Twilio Segment provides an easy path to building the golden customer profile for a data warehouse. From there, companies have a central hub to do things like measure the effectiveness of their marketing, sales, and product efforts and send analyses out to other destinations.
You recently had a big product launch with Twilio Engage, which combines the Twilio Segment CDP with Twilio’s customer messaging APIs. How are your customers using it, and how do you see this product evolving over time?
Yes, Engage uses Twilio Segment’s CDP capabilities with Twilio’s communication APIs for omnichannel marketing automation, offering a unique solution for companies looking to centralize their customer data and improve their engagement with customers across channels.
We’ve received initial feedback from customers who appreciate the ease of use and the ability to create a unified view of the customer, which is critical for delivering personalized experiences. As more companies adopt omnichannel marketing strategies, we expect to see continued demand for this type of solution.
Moving forward, we plan to continue evolving Twilio Engage to better meet the needs of our customers. This may include adding new features, integrations with other tools, and expanding our data management capabilities to help companies make the most of their customer data. Our goal is to make it easier for companies to deliver engaging and personalized experiences to their customers, regardless of the channel.
“In the face of economic uncertainty… the elements companies will likely prioritize in their tech stack will be value and ease of scalability, both to grow and shrink their toolbox as needed.”
What did this year’s report tell you about the importance your customers place on the security and governance of first-party customer data in a CDP and its integrations?
As data privacy and security regulations like GDPR and CCPA become increasingly stricter, companies are becoming more cautious of how they store, manage, and utilize their customer data. This year’s report showed that security and governance of first-party customer data are of paramount importance to our customers, and they want to ensure that the data they collect, store, and share through their CDP and its integrations is protected and compliant with the regulations.
At Twilio Segment, we take this responsibility seriously and have implemented strong security measures and data governance processes to provide our customers peace of mind knowing their customer data is secure with us.
How do you think the macroeconomic environment will affect how companies invest in and build out their tech stack—through CDP integrations and beyond?
I think it will have a significant impact. In the face of economic uncertainty, companies are likely to prioritize cost-effectiveness and efficiency when it comes to their tech investments. This means they may opt for solutions that can consolidate multiple processes into one, such as a CDP that integrates with a variety of marketing and analytics tools.
In short, the elements companies will likely prioritize in their tech stack will be value and ease of scalability, both to grow and shrink their toolbox as needed.
What’s the usage trend from the Twilio Segment CDP Report 2023 that surprised you the most? What we should expect to see in 2024’s report?
I was certainly surprised by the increase in CDP-data warehouse integrations that we saw in this year’s CDP Report. It really speaks to the growing importance that companies are placing on the ability to store and analyze large amounts of customer data in real time.
In terms of future trends, I think we’ll see even more companies take advantage of the symbiotic relationship between product analytics and a CDP. Even with analytics taking the top integration category in our CPD Report, adoption is still not as high as it probably could be. There are more companies still to join in, and I expect that they will.
About Kevin Harris
Kevin Harris is a seasoned business leader with over 15 years of experience in the technology industry. Throughout his career, Kevin has been a driving force in establishing and developing partnerships between some of the world’s leading technology companies.
Kevin currently serves as the VP of Business Development and Partnerships at Twilio Segment, where he was responsible for forging key partnerships to help grow the company’s market presence and customer base. Prior to Twilio Segment, Kevin worked at Adobe, where he led the company’s global strategic partnership efforts with global system integrators (GSI). Before Adobe, Kevin was the Global VP of Partnerships at SAP Customer Experience. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, mountain biking, running, and spending time with his family.
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