CDP Week Day 1: Building the customer data platform for a digital world

Calvin French-Owen, Sherry Huang, Madelyn Mullen on October 19th 2020

From October 19 to 22, CDP Week brought together inspiring keynotes, practical sessions, and digital networking experiences that highlight the impact a CDP can drive for every business. View all the sessions on-demand here.


Success in this digital-first era hinges on customer data. More of the customer journey is online than ever before, and businesses are investing in personalization engines, digital-first revenue strategies, and data privacy compliance to tap into this unprecedented period of digital growth.

But, our research with Forrester found that less than one-third of companies are actually satisfied with their customer data solution. Many companies have tried and failed to use CRM or homegrown systems to create digital experiences.

Fortunately, customer data platforms (CDPs) are purpose-built for the digital era. Providing real-time access to clean, consistent, complete, and compliant customer data, CDPs help companies thrive in the new environment. In fact, a recent Aberdeen survey revealed that CDP users realize a 5.7x greater annual increase in customer lifetime value compared to non-CDP users.

We want to make sure that every business can realize the digital opportunities ahead. At CDP Week, we announced several platform updates to accelerate digital-first experiences and help customers stay ahead of new privacy changes and regulation. 

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A platform for the digital-first world

2020 has dramatically advanced digital-first business models—the US has witnessed over 10 years of e-commerce growth in just the first three months following the pandemic outbreak

Companies are facing pressure to create flawless digital experiences while managing a huge influx of digital customer interactions. We’ve made three platform updates designed to help companies succeed as they tackle these competing imperatives. 

1. Empower business teams to move faster with new low-code features.

More online experiences often means more tools and more customer data. To help meet the continuously changing needs of any business, Destination Actions enables teams to trigger “actions” in their downstream tools, all directly within the Segment UI.

With Destination Actions, teams have a centralized interface to control downstream actions based on their customer data. For example, a marketer can orchestrate a personalized, triggered email when users have trait:'VIP' in real-time. Or, a data analyst can customize the identifier used in their Amplitude instance from userId to internalId. If you’re interested to try out your own actions, fill out our interest form here.

2. Customize identity resolution based on unique business rules.

No two businesses have the exact same customer journey, so the way you identify your users shouldn’t have to be either. Our intuitive Identity Configuration UI gives our Personas customers the control to define the logic behind their unified customer profiles with default or custom identifiers.

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A new Personas Onboarding workflow for Identity Resolution

With a new onboarding workflow, Personas customers can get started easily to accelerate personalized experiences and realize time-to-value faster with industry standard identity rules. From there, they can edit properties or set custom identifiers based on their unique business rules.

3. Unlock machine learning insights with a turnkey customer data lake.

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During this unprecedented time, businesses are looking to accelerate their digital growth with personalized recommendations and predictive insights. However, these powerful, ML-enabled strategies require a complex data architecture that can take anywhere from 3 months to 1 year to build in-house. 

We launched Segment Data Lakes last month to enable customers to move faster with a turnkey data engineering foundation. Segment Data Lakes sends Parquet data to your data lake, leveraging a common metadata layer to connect with all the tools you need for easy and cost efficient data access for data engineers, data scientists and analysts alike. With Segment as their CDP, companies can spend less time building the foundational data architecture, and more time activating on machine learning insights to drive growth and business outcomes.

A platform for the privacy-first world

By 2023, 65% of the world’s population will be governed by local privacy regulations. At the same time that businesses are accelerating their internal growth initiatives, they’re also forced to manage rapidly evolving demands from external platforms and regulations regarding consumer data protections.

Today at CDP Week, we made a number of announcements around responsible data stewardship, and are constantly monitoring and adapting to market signals on behalf of our customers.

1. Comply with local data regulations and residency laws

Countries around the world are taking action to protect consumer privacy. The European Union and Swiss courts recently invalidated the Privacy Shield Frameworks, an arrangement that over 5,000 organizations relied on to govern the flow of EU citizens’ personal data into US companies. While the courts reaffirmed that the Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) remain a valid means of data transfer, there is concern that the courts may require all data on EU citizens to be stored within the EU.

Segment remains committed to ensuring the highest levels of data protection. To help customers control their data collection in light of data residency regulations, Segment will introduce new functionality to help customers control their data collection, starting with the ability to configure endpoints to collect data exclusively in APAC, EMEA, or the US. 

From there, we’ll be building tools to let customers govern where their data is both stored at rest and where it is processed. We’re also building more infrastructure that allows companies to really own their customer data

2. Keep up with browser changes.

In addition to local legislation, browser providers are prioritizing user privacy, collectively marking the impending death of third-party tracking. As companies navigate new browser developments like Safari Intelligent Tracking Protection (ITP), our new In-Domain Instrumentation feature provides a managed service to make it easy for companies to stay compliant while saving time and costs. 

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In-Domain Instrumentation allows companies to implement Segment to collect data on their own subdomain, instead of api.segment.com. Removing any need for separate infrastructure or proxies, In-Domain Instrumentation grants browser-compliant data collection while saving data infrastructure time and costs.

3. Align with IDFA restrictions in iOS14.

Back in June at WWDC, Apple announced a number of new privacy features, including opt-in tracking across all applications. This meant that developers and publishers must receive permission from users to use IDFA, Apple’s mobile ad ID.

Though the rollout of these privacy features has been delayed, we have updated our Analytics-iOS SDK library and impacted integrations for our customers to easily adapt to these changes. Read more about our iOS updates here.

With Segment, companies can confidently adapt and adjust to external market trends without sacrificing focus on digital growth.

4. Enforce responsible privacy practices by default.

In addition to the following external trends, we encourage our customers to respect consumer privacy through responsible internal privacy practices. 

It’s no secret that customer data collection contains sensitive information about users, so we now automatically mask detected personally identifiable information (PII) to all users, unless explicitly granted access with our new PII Access permission setting.

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Personas Audience Explorer with PII data masked

By default, the Segment app limits PII visibility to users, without limiting any product functionality. For example, external partners can define and test Personas audiences without having access to names, email addresses, or other sensitive PII. Read more about this new setting on our blog or documentation.

Digital is key to survival

Customer data platforms can help you accelerate into the future. With three days left of CDP Week, there’s still time to register to hear from leading companies like Blue Bottle Coffee, CSAA, Plaid, and AB InBev on how they’re using CDPs to drive world-class customer experiences. 

To check out our latest product features, log in to your workspace. New to Segment and want to learn more? Request a demo today.

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