As part of the Twilio ecosystem, Segment is connected with many different organizations that can provide consulting and technology services for segment users. The Segment partnership program is intended to make it easier for the marketers who use Segment to find the best consultancies and technologies to help them drive success with Segment’s customer data platform. Segment partners like Stitch can offer support for Twilio Segment users in the form of customer journey strategy, account configuration, migrations, program services, data services, and much more.
Working with Segment consultants can make it easier for marketers to create Segment tracking plans for their data and get the best results from the software. There are many different kinds of Segment partners, including Segment channel partners.
The Twilio Segment customer data platform has a lot to offer marketers. Let’s take a closer look at a customer data platform and analyze CDP’s meaning in marketing.
A customer data platform (often abbreviated CDP) is a software platform that serves a single, central database that houses all the customer data an organization has gathered from various disparate customer touchpoints. Unifying all this data in one location makes it much easier to keep the data organized and actionable. CDP platform vendors like Segment provide this type of software tool to other organizations that want to improve their marketing outcomes. Sometimes, the best way to understand what a customer data platform does is to look at some CDP examples. Let’s walk through the process of how a customer data platform collects and consolidates customer data.
To better understand their customers, many companies collect data from a variety of channels of customer interaction, such as social media, email, support chat on the company’s website, or any of the many other methods customers use to get in touch with companies. All these interactions provide information about the customer’s needs, preferences, behavior, and more that the company can use to personalize future interactions.
A customer data platform takes all the data a company gathers from those separate interactions and pulls it together into a single, cohesive profile for each customer. In this consolidated format, each customer's data becomes conveniently accessible to any other business system that needs it. Through the process of CDP segmentation, organizations view customer data in different ways to reveal particular insights or further particular goals. For example, you could segment customer data in a way that allows you to easily identify customers who have abandoned shopping carts on your website.
People sometimes confuse customer data platforms with a few other common customer data tools. Before we move on, let’s make some clear distinctions:
Organizations often use customer data platforms and customer relationship management systems alongside one another because their functions often complement one another — nevertheless, CDPs and CRMs are separate tools. Companies use CRMs to manage, personalize, and improve customer relationships, while they use CDPs to unify and organize customer data.
Many people mix up customer data platforms and data management platforms because, as their names suggest, they’re both used to manage data. There are three major differences between CDPs and DMPs:
* CDPs mainly use first-party data (data that a company collects directly). In contrast, DMPs mainly use second and third-party data (data that a company purchases or otherwise receives from another organization).
* CDPs typically use personal data, whereas DMPs mostly use anonymous data.
* CDPs usually store data for a long time, whereas DMPs typically only keep data on file for a short period of time.
Marketing is one context in which you can leverage the capabilities of a CDP like Twilio Segment. Marketing professionals who want to implement a customer data platform have multiple options, and selecting the best CDP out of all those options can take time and effort. IDC has ranked Twilio Segment as the #1 customer data platform from 2019 to 2021. But what exactly makes Segment CDP such an attractive choice for marketers? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of implementing Segment software at your organization.
Your organization's customer data is typically much more useful to your marketing team when it’s well organized. Segment’s customer data platform makes it easy to acquire and organize customer data so that marketers can use it to improve marketing outcomes. The platform can gather data from across all the different channels your organization uses for customer communication and unify them into cohesive Segment personas. These customer personas provide all the available data on each customer in a location that’s easily accessible.
Another aspect of Segment’s customer data platform is its analytics capabilities. Segment analytics can help marketers uncover more valuable insights from the data they collect and use it to better understand customer behavior. When marketers have the insights they need in order to understand customer behavior, it’s usually much easier to make effective decisions that drive sales and marketing initiatives forward. Using a customer data platform like Segment, you can segment customer data and analyze specific data sets more accurately.
Data privacy laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) mean it’s crucial for companies that collect customer data to do so in ways that fully respect customers’ privacy. A customer data platform like Segment can make it easier to stay compliant with important data privacy regulations.
One reason CDPs can improve data collection compliance is that they primarily use first-party data. First-party data is data that a company collects directly from its customers, usually from direct interactions via social media or email or through various support channels. Third-party data is collected by one organization and then given or sold to another organization. It’s much more difficult to verify whether or not customers have consented to the collection of third-party data — on the other hand, and an organization knows exactly where its own first-party data comes from.
Customer data integration refers to the process of transferring customer data from separate locations and unifying it in a more accessible location. Segment integration enables marketers to select the channels they use for customer interaction to integrate with Segment CDP. There are many possible Segment integrations that make it possible for marketing teams to integrate their customer data even if they’ve used many different channels to collect it. Companies can unify their existing customer data channels using a single Segment API.
In order to understand how customer data platform integrations work, it’s important to understand the relationship between sources and destinations.
In the context of customer data integration, sources are the locations where an organization stores data before it has been organized. These sources of data feed your customer data platform. Customer data sources could include your organization's CRM or any other tools or systems that store data on customer interactions.
Once you’ve used a customer data platform like Segment to draw together customer data from all your organization’s different data sources, you need a way to activate that data. Destinations are integrations that are designed to make it as simple as possible to turn the insights you gather from your unified data into action. Destinations make it easier to utilize data for cross-channel marketing, targeted advertising, and other kinds of marketing campaigns.
Marketers who want to adopt Segment as a customer data solution can learn more about the platform from a variety of Segment resources. To begin with, you can find many helpful articles on the Segment blog. While you won’t find specific technical instructions here, you can access many insights and tips to help you improve your customer data practices.
If you’re looking for more specific information about how to implement and use the Segment customer data platform, you’re likely better off with Segment University. Segment University is an online training academy for Segment users that offers courses to help you master Segment. There are beginner courses that teach you how to implement Segment, as well as advanced courses that show you how to make good use of Segment’s more complex features. You’ll find all the different levels of courses available from Segment University. Protocols, debugging, implementation planning, and sources and destinations are just a few examples of the topics you can learn about.
Segment recipes are short learning modules that are designed to help marketers accomplish specific tasks using Twilio Segment. For example, there are recipes that show you how to optimize your marketing funnel for conversion, how to break down data silos, how to build a customer loyalty program, and more. Companies that want to earn a Segment certification and become a Segment partner can use all these resources to help them learn more about Segment.
The Segment pricing strategy is separated into a few different tiers. The lowest tier of Segment pricing is free and includes 1,000 visitors per month, two sources, and 300+ integrations. Upgrading to the next tier, called the Team plan, starts at $120 per month and increases the account’s capabilities to 10,000 visitors per month, unlimited sources, and one Data Warehouse destination. The highest Twilio Segment pricing tier is the Business tier, which includes advantages like custom volume, data governance, advanced roles and permissions, a single view of the customer, and extended personalization capabilities. Pricing for the Business tier is customized on a case-by-case basis. When investing in Segment, it may also be helpful to consider the cost of professional services as part of your budget. While Segment is easy-to-use, working with a partner can help ensure you're following best practices and getting the most out of the product.