Why every developer needs a CDP

With a single API, Twilio Segment’s customer data platform saves engineering time and resources. It provides a more seamless way to collect, govern, and activate data so engineers don’t have to build numerous integrations.

By Lisa Zavetz

Data from customer interactions lends massive value to businesses that can capture, organize, and leverage that data. Sadly, most businesses lack the necessary systems to do this effectively. Manual collection and analysis are time-consuming and aren’t scalable. Turning data into insights and converting those insights into business value is a complex task. How should companies respond?

One option is for companies to ignore the task as unimportant or infeasible. Meanwhile, valuable and actionable customer data passes by them completely untouched.

Another option is for companies to task their engineering teams to build tools and integrations for capturing and analyzing data. Perhaps the results bring value, but those engineering resources are taken away from building features and products that drive the core business.

The third option is the customer data platform (CDP). With a CDP, teams can use a single API to collect all of this data in one place, standardize it, and then send it wherever it needs to go. In this post, we’ll look at the challenge that a CDP addresses, and then we’ll look at how the features of the Twilio Segment CDP address those challenges.

What is a CDP?

A Customer Data Platform (CDP) combines data from every customer interaction and touchpoint with your product or service across various data sources to create a central database. The CDP synthesizes that data to build customer profiles and audiences, helping organizations connect the dots with the tools used to act on that data.

The challenge of capitalizing on customer data

With digital acceleration, a business has access to data from every customer interaction, including mobile app engagement, social media or email campaigns, and customer support contact. Many businesses, however, fail to capture the business value of this customer data.

Some businesses keep their data in silos. Without unifying and correlating customer data across all their channels, they miss out on critical customer insights for deriving business value.

Other businesses commandeer their engineering team to build integrations to centralize customer data from all channels. While this might solve the data silo problem, this also drains engineering resources, pulling them away from their core tasks.

Then, there are businesses that have gained a handle on their customer interaction data, but they haven’t connected that data to their customer communication strategy. When businesses connect data with communication, their customer data insights can advance beyond interesting to game-changing.

The CDP solution


Enter the CDP. A full-fledged CDP helps a company perform the following customer data tasks:

  • Collect customer data from every source, using APIs for processing, consolidating that data in a single place.

  • Govern the data that arrives, preparing it for synthesis. This may include validation for correctness or sanitization for privacy concerns.

  • Synthesize the data to build customer profiles and audience segments while surfacing insights about customer trends and behaviors.

  • Activate that data by connecting insights to tools for more targeted customer engagement, fine-tuning advertising campaigns, or building machine learning models for predictive behavior.

Twilio Segment is a CDP that provides integrations and an API to connect to your data sources—for data collection and your destinations—for data activation. By providing businesses with integrations to hundreds of data sources and destinations, Segment frees up the engineering resources of a business to focus on delivering critical business value.

Twilio Segment: Key Features

Let’s consider the key features of Twilio Segment and the benefits of using Segment.

First, Twilio Segment unifies all of your connections into a single API, simplifying the process of connecting to data sources and destinations. Customer data can come from hundreds of different sources related to analytics, advertising, email campaigns, A/B testing, and more. The integrations with each of these sources have already been built into Segment.

In most cases, connecting a new data source simply means inserting a JavaScript code snippet or a call to the Segment SDK. Immediately, customer data from these sources will funnel to Segment.

By solving the integration problem, Segment does the heavy lifting of data management, giving valuable time back to your engineers.

Segment also consolidates, cleans, and organizes your incoming customer data. By configuring data specifications that outline the shape of the data you expect to arrive, you can configure Segment to handle data that doesn’t fit that shape. That might mean flagging the bad data for review while allowing the good data to continue to sanitization for data privacy concerns or regulations.

With all of your customer data unified into a single view of the customer, Segment builds a profile based on the customer journey. Segment organizes and analyzes the data, providing dashboard visualizations so that marketing teams can build out customer segments based on these customer behavior insights.

Segment integrates tightly with Twilio’s communication platform. This is the game-changing benefit of Twilio Segment: connecting your customer insights with your customer communication. By integrating seamlessly with a suite of developer APIs and tools from Twilio, Segment allows you to reach customers on their preferred communication channel: email, voice, video, or messaging.

Lastly, Segment helps you activate your data further by supporting data warehouses (such as BigQuery, Snowflake, or Redshift) as destinations. Customer data can be sent to data warehouses for querying or leveraging within machine learning applications for further insights. This is exactly what Norrøna, a leading brand of outdoor clothing in Scandinavia, did when it used Segment as the connector to build its product recommendation engine.


Segment does the heavy lifting of collecting and processing data from omnichannel customer interactions. As Segment separates the task of data collection from data analysis, engineering resources aren’t misappropriated for building integrations. Instead, connecting to data sources or destinations is accomplished seamlessly through a single API.

Segment facilitates the deep analysis work, providing dashboards and visualizations that help teams to understand customer profiles and segments. By connecting these insights to destinations, including Twilio’s extensive customer communication platform, Segment empowers businesses to capitalize on the wealth of customer data.

For a deeper dive into Twilio Segment, download the whitepaper now.

Why every developer needs a CDP

This whitepaper details how our CDP allows for data collection through a single API and data sanitization to save engineering resources.

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