Twilio Segment extends real-time CDP to unlock AI and power dynamic customer engagement that adapts to every customer at scale

Twilio Segment deepens companies’ understanding of customers with upcoming Segment B2B Edition and Zero Copy Architecture, and activates 1:1 customer engagement at scale with new predictive and generative AI.

By Katrina Wong
  • Twilio introduces upcoming Segment B2B Edition and Zero Copy Architecture to offer a composable, AI-ready customer data platform (CDP) that enhances businesses’ understanding of customers

  • New predictive and generative AI tools activate adaptive, 1:1 customer engagement in Twilio Engage and Segment CDP

Take a minute to think about the best customer experience you’ve ever had. 

How did it make you feel? 

I doubt the first thing that came to mind was one of the many times you felt like just another faceless order number.

Instead, you probably thought of a time when you felt seen and understood by a company, when they anticipated what you needed and offered it to you how and when you wanted it in a way that felt personal.

These are the types of meaningful experiences that today’s consumers expect and companies strive to create, making well-intentioned promises to be “customer centric.” But for so long, the technology available wasn't capable of powering the scalable, real-time precision needed to deliver on that promise — resulting in generic experiences that left consumers frustrated.  

According to Twilio’s recent State of Customer Engagement Report, 91% of companies say they always or often personalize engagement with consumers. But, consumers don’t agree. Only 56% of consumers report that their interactions with brands are always or often personalized. 

Where is the disconnect? 

Instead of becoming “customer centric,” most companies have become “systems centric.” Exploding tech stacks and patchwork solutions lead to fragmented data, an incomplete view of the customer and, ultimately, disjointed experiences.

The reality is that every consumer is a complex individual with unique wants and needs that change moment to moment. In order to truly put customers at the heart of your business, you need to be able to perceive who your customers are, understand how to best meet their needs and exceed their expectations, then activate those insights to engage them how, when, and where is most relevant and meaningful to them. 

These elements make up the engagement flywheel that is key to powering dynamic customer engagement that adapts to every individual customer at scale.

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At SIGNAL today, we announced Twilio CustomerAI to unlock the power of artificial intelligence (AI) for hundreds of thousands of businesses and supercharge the engagement flywheel. With CustomerAI, brands can expand their perception of customer data, activate it more extensively, and be better informed by a deeper understanding. 

But, it all starts with data.

Customer data unlocks the promise of AI as a unique market advantage

Your AI is only as good as the data you put into it. If your data is siloed, stale, inconsistent, and incomplete, your AI outputs will reflect that. 

At Twilio Segment, we have a long history of helping companies build trusted data infrastructures with unified, real-time, consistent, and consented data that is critical to your AI strategy. 

Our composable customer data platform (CDP) ensures your data is AI-ready, helping you collect, clean, and activate customer data with our open, API-first platform and 450+ pre-built connectors that enable you to start with data anywhere and activate it everywhere. With Segment, you choose where you start. Whether that’s getting data from SaaS products into your data warehouse, or activating existing data with reverse ETL, Segment gives you the flexibility and extensibility to move fast, scale with ease, and efficiently achieve your business goals as they evolve.

Today, we’re giving warehouse-centric data teams even more control over their source data by introducing Zero Copy Architecture¹. In partnership with Databricks and Snowflake, Segment will soon allow customers to query data warehouse or data lake datasets directly, eliminating the need for data copying and additional ETL (Extract-Transform-Load) jobs, avoiding redundancy, and resulting in more timely, secure, and accurate insights. 

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Extend the customer profile to activate coordinated engagement across your entire business

Bringing together all the best signals from your customers across every data source, Segment helps you build unified, identity-resolved customer profiles that give you a deeper understanding of each and every customer. But, in addition to real-time consumer profiles, many organizations have business datasets (containing information like company accounts, subscriptions, products, households, and more) sitting in their data warehouse. 

We are excited to announce our new Segment B2B Edition with Linked Profiles² that will allow businesses to establish relationships across all their customer data in an expanded data graph. Using Linked Profiles, companies can build a graph of relationships linking customer events, experiences, and profiles with these additional datasets. With a better line of sight across data, graphed to each customer, companies can train AI models, build advanced segmentation, and power state-of-the-art personalized recommendations and activations across channels.

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Put the power of predictive AI at marketers’ fingertips

Today's marketers need to not only understand past customer behavior, but must be able to anticipate and act on customers’ future wants and needs. AI and machine learning (ML) models are incredibly effective at doing this but are complex to build and require data science expertise. 

With CustomerAI Predictions³, now generally available, Segment is putting the power of predictive AI at marketers’ fingertips. Without having to tap technical teams, marketers can now create precisely targeted audiences out-of-the-box, trigger customer journeys, and personalize multichannel experiences based on a customer’s predicted lifetime value (LTV), likelihood to purchase or churn, or propensity to perform any other event tracked in Segment. 

Brands like Box are using Predictions to save time, optimize campaign performance, and discover revenue opportunities. 

“As marketers, the holy grail is to reach your customers and prospects in a way that is meaningful, relevant and additive to them. CustomerAI Predictions has equipped Box’s marketing team with the ability to forecast customer behavior to a degree that was simply unavailable to us before. We’ve been able to explore segmenting our audience based on predictive traits like who is most likely to join us at in-person events or who is more likely to purchase, and this allows us to meet those people where they are in their customer journey. Tools like Predictions put marketers at the center of this new era of AI which is transforming how companies engage and retain their customers.”

– Chris Koehler, CMO at Box

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Create more relevant customer experiences in minutes with generative AI

Marketers spend massive amounts of time writing, designing, and building campaigns and customer journeys. With generative AI soon available inside Twilio Engage and Segment CDP, marketers can save precious time, boost productivity, and optimize for stronger results. 

Using the new CustomerAI Generative Email coming to Twilio Engage, marketers will be able to enter simple text prompts that turn ideas to HTML in minutes. This builds on the AI capabilities available in Twilio Engage today, such as our Smart Email Content Editor that suggests conversion-worthy email headlines, images, and calls-to-action to drive better engagement with the click of a button. 

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Meanwhile, marketers will be able to skip the manual process of architecting customer Journeys thanks to CustomerAI Generative Journeys. Soon, they will be able to simply describe campaign type (promotional, win-back, etc.), audience definition, and which channels they want to use, then Twilio Engage will automatically build the journey using generative AI—saving marketers time while accelerating growth.

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By combining the deep understanding of your customer that Segment enables for businesses with the speed and scale of predictive AI and the large language models (LLMs) that power generative AI, Twilio CustomerAI can help companies deliver dynamic customer engagement that adapts to every customer at scale. 

"The tectonic shift in technology that we’ve seen this past year rivals the scale and magnitude of the invention of the Internet. AI has truly captured the hearts and minds of builders across the globe. I believe the real value unlock for AI will be pairing large language models with first party data sets — which is where Twilio is most differentiated. With CustomerAI, artificial intelligence becomes customer-aware, empowering businesses to drive data-driven personal interactions at every touchpoint.”

- Jeff Lawson, CEO of Twilio

Committed to building AI safely and responsibly

As Twilio develops and launches CustomerAI tools, we are leveraging our own proprietary technology as well as working with trusted industry leaders like AWS, Google, and OpenAI that meet its privacy and data protection standards. 

Twilio is committed to building CustomerAI safely and responsibly, and has today published its CustomerAI Trust Principles, along with information on the rollout and availability of its AI Nutrition Facts Labels.

Learn more about our new CustomerAI capabilities launched at SIGNAL 2023.

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¹ The Zero Copy Architecture pilot is scheduled to be available globally in the coming months. 

²  Segment B2B Edition with Linked Profiles is scheduled to roll out globally (starting with the GA of Event Enrichment) in the coming months.

³  CustomerAI Predictions is generally available (GA) and accessible to Segment Unify and Twilio Engage customers, globally, starting today.

CustomerAI Generative Email and CustomerAI Generative Journeys are scheduled to be available in public beta in 2024.

The State of Personalization 2023

Our annual look at how attitudes, preferences, and experiences with personalization have evolved over the past year.

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