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Twilio eyes CDP opportunity in APAC

Twilio is tapping opportunities in customer data platforms and will deploy APAC instances of its Segment platform next year

Twilio is eyeing opportunities in customer data platforms (CDP) in Asia-Pacific as more organisations grapple with data silos that hamper them from having a single view of their customers.

In 2020, the supplier of unified communications-as-a-service acquired CDP company Segment for $3.2bn in a move to position itself as a customer engagement platform.

“The main basis for our acquisition of Segment was to provide a capability to our customers that we’ve served for years in activating data through messaging applications and our API [application programming interface] layers that we built for many years,” said Lee Hawksley, senior vice-president and general manager of Twilio Asia-Pacific.

In doing so, Lee said organisations would find it easier to target customers with real-time personalisation and a single view of the customer.

Lee, who worked with Segment about a decade ago when the company only had 20 employees, said organisations in the region are already using the CDP for primarily marketing use cases.

“That combination of using Segment to organise data and build audiences with our advanced messaging capability is really evocative to many marketers out there,” he added.

While CDPs are often seen as a marketing resource, IDC noted that every CDP implementation should be undertaken in the context of the whole customer data ecosystem, beyond marketing.

For example, with a CDP, contact centre agents using Salesforce will be able unify all of a customer’s data on their screens so that they are aware of every interaction, such as the last online purchase, the last time they had a service query and what their interactions with marketing materials have been, Lee said.

“All of that is stuff that Segment can surface straight into Salesforce Service Cloud, or any other application for that matter, because it’s totally agnostic and fully API-orientated,” he added.

Besides targeting Twilio’s existing customer base in the region, Lee said the company is also looking for greenfield opportunities with Segment.

“People are talking a lot about CDPs but moving forward with a CDP is not an insignificant decision,” Lee said. “And one of the beauties of Segment is that you don’t have to go big bang and buy a million-dollar CDP licence.

“You can start with our connections product for as little as $25,000 to connect multiple data sources to give you that single view, and then start to layer on additional functionality with personas and intelligence to turn that into active audiences,” he said.

For now, Segment is hosted on Amazon Web Services in the US and Europe, but Lee said Twilio is accelerating plans to deploy instances in Asia-Pacific. “We’ll start to see that rollout in the early part of next year.”

According to IDC, the global CDP market is expected to surge to $3.2bn by 2025, with the pandemic putting a premium on customer data.

“Brands suddenly realised that they cannot effectively present new ways to engage and transact without a holistic view of every customer,” said Gerry Murray, IDC’s director for marketing and sales technology research.

“The notion that siloed customer data is a competitive disadvantage is now mainstream, as is the risk associated with regulatory and industry changes in non-first-party customer identifiers. That has created a perfect storm for CDPs that aggregate, analyse, and activate customer data in real time.”

Twilio led the global CDP market in 2020 with a market share of 10.2%, followed by Treasure Data (7.8%) and Tealium (6.7%), according to an IDC report republished in July 2021.

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