Twilio Segment introduces new portable customer records with reverse ETL

Gathering customer information in a CDP is about understanding your customers better and delivering more tailored experiences, but getting that information where it needs to be to make that happen has proven challenging.

Perhaps Twilio Segment, the CDP Twilio bought in 2020 for $3.2 billion, can help with some new features designed to make it easier to make use of that data by making it more portable and introducing reverse ETL (extract, transform, load) to get the data where it needs to be.

The company is calling this new approach Segment Unify, which Kevin Niparko, VP of Twilio Segment, says involves building these customer records from myriad data sources, the ability to store that record in the data warehouse of choice and, finally, using reverse ETL to move the data to wherever it’s needed.

“We're launching Segment Unify, which is really the next generation of our customer data platform. There are sort of two marquee features here. The first is around identity resolution and profiles. So this is helping build that golden customer record across all of the digital signals,” Niparko told TechCrunch.

“We then provide portability around that with profile sync so we can load that directly into a data warehouse like Snowflake, BigQuery or Redshift, where data scientists and data engineers can incorporate that into their models and analytics and business intelligence. We're also providing reverse ETL capabilities, which you can think of as a syncing back out of the data warehouse into all of the tools in that marketing and analytics stack, regardless of the vendor,” he said.

Niparko says that this flexibility without vendor lock-in is a big differentiator for his platform. “This gives data scientists and analysts the ability to take the insights that they're uncovering in the data warehouse, and then sync them into a marketing automation tool, like, sync that into other tools like Amplitude or Mixpanel to help the entire organization leverage that same singular insight around the golden customer profile,” he said.

He says this can enable customers to get closer to the idea of true personalization. “Ultimately, we do see the world moving towards a one-to-one engagement model. I think that's going to require, one, that this foundation be in place with portable customer records, and then layering in AI that can reason about all of these different signals and then deliver that singular message that's right for that customer at that stage of their journey.”

While the company is officially announcing the product today, it has customers like CrossFit, MongoDB and Sanofi working with it already.