How Yara International boosts crop production with Twilio Segment by geo-targeting customers for efficient fertilizer usage

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Twilio Engage





Oslo, Norway

The big win

Yara International, the world's leading crop nutrition manufacturer, knew that if they didn't communicate directly with growers in between harvest seasons, they would lose their top customers. Yara brought in Twilio Segment to hyper-target these customers, based on specific criteria like crop type, region, and seasonality through in-app messages, email and push notifications.

Yara tracks customers across their app and website, tags them and targets users based on their preferences, interests, and needs. Yara tracks specific crop purchases, and communicates with customers using information and tools relevant to their preferences. Using Segment, Yara precisely approaches its customers, which leads to more meaningful engagement with its products and services.

Since implementing Segment, Yara has successfully kept farmers more engaged between seasons and increased their use of digital tools and fertilizer products. As a result, Atfarm Yara’s crop nutrition management tool, has seen more engagement with the product and an increase in customers likely to return in between seasons, increasing user engagement with its product and increasing fertilizer usage.

“We want to communicate with farmers based on their preferences, interests, and needs. This is critical to increase engagement and retain users between harvest seasons,” explained Lissette, Engagement and Growth Specialist at Yara International. Without the ability to target farmers, Lisette feared that Atfarm (Yara’s crop nutrition management tool) user engagement would decline, resulting in decreased customer loyalty and lifetime value. 

Between Lissette and colleague, Trang Nguyen, Data Engineer, the pair recognized a common consumer trend: short attention spans – especially relevant during the harvest off-season. 

Beyond that, crop nutrition companies face even greater challenges related to regionality and seasonality. Lissette and Trang knew that Yara’s success relied on targeting farmers with the right information at the right time. For example, each country has a different growing season and targeting users outside of that season would be ineffective and result in wasted marketing spend. 

Yara International, the world’s leading crop nutrition company, manufactures, produces, distributes, and sells fertilizers and related industrial products. Fueled by the desire to scale Yara’s operations and grow its users' harvest production, Lissette and Trang set out to reach and engage farmers on an individual level based on their crop usage, country of origin, growing season and subscription model.

Without the proper tools to manage and maintain farmer’s data across products, tools and teams, Lissette and Trang struggled to geo-target customers and send relevant, timely messages. They identified an opportunity to reach farmers with the right information at the right time, improve customer engagement between seasons, increase product usage and positively impact land area creation. The solution: create a modern data foundation.

To achieve a single, unified view of its customer base, create consistent data modeling and reporting and send out targeted marketing messages, Yara International turned to Twilio Segment. To keep farmers engaged between seasons and increase their use of digital tools and fertilizers products. By orchestrating journeys in Segment and geo-targeting farmers based on field information and seasonal behavior, Yara delivers precisely personalized content through in-app messages, email and push notifications. As a result, Atfarm users are more engaged with the product and more likely to return in between seasons. 

Scalable enterprise growth through data infrastructure transformation

Prior to Segment, Yara experienced a multitude of data challenges for its digital products. Aside from the tedious integration of new tools, its teams also experienced data inconsistency across digital products, siloed data between tools and redundant, duplicate messaging to its customers. Overall, the lack of a unified customer profile to utilize in marketing campaigns, data analysis, and product enhancement initiatives resulted in a poorer customer experience. "At Yara International, it was important to have a clear overview of our users' behavior across tools. We needed to engage users, based on what they did, what they liked and their preferences,” said Trang Nguyen, Data Engineer at Yara International. They continued, “we want to target users based on their preferences, interests, and needs. And most importantly crop trends happening in their country. This is critical to increase user engagement. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we see that users are more likely to react when content (ads, email, push notifications) are specific to the user's interests. We see that the reaction is more positive, when the content is related to something they have done or engaged with in the past."

So, Yara turned to Segment, over other leading CDPs, because of the implementation and ease of use, seamless integration with 450+ downstream tools, and ability to unify huge sets of data. Segment’s Privacy Portal, compliant with regulations like the GDPR, was hugely impactful for Yara as it could centrally manage data deletion requests and suppression, a key pillar to respecting users' privacy and the overall customer experience. Lastly, with the launch of Twilio Engage, Yara closed the gap of orchestrating communication among different tools to deliver emails, in-app messages, and push notifications.

With that, Yara clearly knew the importance of data reliability and creating unique, personalized customer experiences, and set out to begin its Segment implementation. With Connections, Yara seamlessly integrates new tools and downstream destinations to collect and connect its data, without Engineering intervention. Protocols and Tracking Plans ensure consistent and high quality data ingestion. And, with Segment Unify, Yara pairs Profiles with Identity Resolution which allows them to achieve a complete, unified view of its customers by collecting data across a variety of platforms, like web and mobile apps, and matching user identities from different sources. 

Since implementing Segment, Yara seamlessly and quickly integrated new tools like CleverTap for Push and in-app notifications, Appcues for user onboarding, and Active Campaign for email marketing, successfully developing a robust data infrastructure to build great customer experiences on, using Segment Replay.

Hyper-targeted marketing campaigns with reliable customer data

Every country, and even regions within each country, have specific crop usage needs. Early on, Yara discovered that its users are more likely to engage when messages (ads, email, etc.) are unique to them. Oftentimes, there are long spans of time in between harvest seasons, so Yara needed a tool that could target its users, based on crop needs, location and preferences, and re-engage those users, at the right time with messages specific to their crops. 

“Different regions have different crop needs at different times. We needed a tool that would allow us to geo-target our users based on their specific needs. With Segment, we can launch campaigns based on seasonality and regionality and provide information that is most relevant to each user's behavior and preferences,” said Lissette.  

Before Segment, Yara faced two key marketing challenges. Firstly, because its tools were disconnected, its teams worked with siloed data making it difficult to monitor user acquisition, understand the effectiveness of a campaign and measure ROI. And secondly, the data it used in marketing campaigns was often stale. Customer data was updated once a day, or maybe even less frequently, as Backend Engineers ran a cron job nightly, and sent data to downstream tools in .csv format. Yara users would signup, which triggered a “welcome email”, however, that email would arrive the next day, or even later, due to the manual data processing. As users took action but received email communication about it the next day, this resulted in a poor user experience and led to disengagement among users. 

Now, with Segment and Twilio Engage, the powerful omnichannel personalization platform, Yara has access to consistent user data and utilizes that information to deliver highly personalized experiences to users across platforms. For example, if a user previously purchased wheat, they will receive messages about that specific crop, care plans, and soil improvements leading up to harvest season. "If a farmer has previously purchased a specific crop, Yara could target that person with information and tools relevant to their preferences. With this precise approach to customer touch points, Yara customers are more likely to engage with the products and services,” said Lissette Hernández Zelaya. 

Additionally, Yara uses Segment Audiences, a feature that groups together users based on event behavior and traits, to target users with various subscription types. With this, Yara helps its customers address very specific needs, related to crops, fertilizers and seasonality, which has improved the customer experience and overall platform engagement.  

Not only did Yara improve its ability to target users with highly relevant marketing communications and campaigns but it also improved internal processes and cross-team collaboration. With access to customer data ready for activation, Yara saw an 85% reduction time spent manual data collection/SDK management and a 65% reduction in analytics/BI hours spent on basic reporting and analytics effort. In addition to saving time and effort from data teams, Yara also reduced duplicative work and allowed teams to focus on more strategic business initiatives, like expanding its customers' crop production. 

Data analysis and reporting to better project acquisition costs, retention and LTV

Prior to Segment, Yara International had solely relied on Google Analytics data, but as it scaled Yara needed deeper customer insights to make data-driven decisions. Yara needed to gather real-time customer data for analysis and reporting, rather than relying on manual data pulls, which quickly became stale. 

With Segment collecting important first party data, Yara can send this to downstream tools like Amplitude and Power BI, where Engineering and Data Analytics teams can easily analyze the same clean and reliable data and report on marketing performance. Now, Yara tracks data around user creation of fields, which helps to project retention and customer lifetime value. Additionally, Yara improved its understanding of the customer base, marketing campaign effectiveness and can provide improved projections based on that data. Additionally, Yara has a better understanding of ad performance and acquisition costs, which allows it to invest budget into channels that have proven successful. Now every team at Yara International, whether directly or indirectly, relies on Segment to get the data they need in their preferred tool. 

With more certainty about its users, Yara’s Data Analytics team provides specific reporting on various customer segments, based on country/region, crop usage, etc, and understands growth, gains, weakness and focus areas. With this information, Yara’s teams are equipped to not only build specific KPIs and metrics, but also better understand customer segment performance and where to focus their marketing efforts. 

Marketing teams aren't the only ones to benefit from the data analytics, made possible by Segment. Yara’s Product teams have found value in analyzing mobile app usage and patterns, to help influence product improvements. 

Customer journey analysis through product usage

“As we developed more digital products, the data became a bit messy. For example, the same person would use multiple apps but appeared to us to be multiple users. We needed to combine use profiles for one single view of the customer. Prior to Segment, this was impossible.”  –– Trang Nguyen,  Senior Data Engineer

Prior to Segment, Yara was making educated guesses, purchasing market data and hiring external agencies to execute product research and testing — all with the goal of improving its product. Now, with Segment, Yara utilizes its reliable, first-party customer data to focus on specific groups, product interaction and feature usage, to make data driven decisions on product enhancements.  Yara now knows which features are being used and which aren’t and it can invest in product development based on this knowledge. 

With Twilio Segment Yara International now can now: 

  • Implement new tools easily and seamlessly, without the need for Engineering resources 

  • Combine user data across multiple tools and create one single, unified view of the customer

  • Activate data in a matter of minutes, rather than days, to power unique, targeted marketing campaigns 

  • Utilize specific user behavior and preferences to create geo-targeted marketing messages, improving customer experiences and engagement 

  • Create enhanced data analysis and modeling with a better understanding of campaign effectiveness, ads performance, and acquisition costs 

  • Improve product features, based on real-time customer data, to improve the overall product experience 

What’s next?

Next, Yara aims to improve its customer experience even more, by integrating multiple apps in a single platform and integrating Zendesk customer support data with Segment. This will ensure one unified customer experience across all its digital products. 

Currently, Yara’s Customer Support teams struggle to understand the entire customer journey. When a user submits a support ticket, Customer Support can’t identify the user's crop usage, previous purchases or subscription model, which limits the depth of understanding and conversation. 

By utilizing Segment and Zendesk together, Yara can provide the best possible experience to its end user, and positively impact loyalty and LTV — ultimately laddering back to its north star metric, to increase user engagement with its product and increase fertilizer usage by its user base.

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