Lessons from Signal Conference 2022: Doing More with Less

Geoffrey Keating on November 17th 2022

Over 25,000+ developers, product leaders, enterprises, and startups attended SIGNAL, Twilio's annual customer and developer conference, on November 3rd and 4th. View all the sessions on-demand here.

As part of this year’s Signal conference, the Twilio Segment team announced several exciting new capabilities, including Twilio Engage, Profile Sync, and Reverse ETL. These new features and products will help teams building digital products and services to become more data-driven than ever before.

But there was so much more to Signal than that.

Keynotes, product demos, and some very special guests (a certain George Clooney stopped by for a chat), were just a taste of 100+ sessions exploring the intersection of technology, innovation, and the future of customer engagement. 

Having binge watched all the sessions over the last week, one theme ran consistently through all tracks – that despite economic turmoil amongst us, our customers' innate desire to get creative with customer data has never been stronger.

At Signal 2022, we saw dozens of Segment customers share stories of how they’re embracing the constraints around them, and using this period to steer their companies towards a course of data-driven efficiency.

Let’s take a rundown of 4 customers who shared how they’re doing more with less. 

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love First-Party Data

At the start of the COVID pandemic, luxury retailer Veronica Beard found themselves with not one but two unenviable challenges. Firstly, all of their retail stores were shuttered due to in-person restrictions, pivoting their business entirely online. Secondly, their online advertising was becoming increasingly inefficient due to industry changes, such as Apple’s ATT framework.

By using real-time audience suppression and lookalike acquisition strategies, Veronica Beard leverages its wealth of high-quality customer data in Twilio Engage (formerly known as Personas), the audience management product, to transform its Facebook Ads strategy into one of its highest-quality acquisition channels.

For example, the team collects product review information from its review platform, and creates a Twilio Engage audience of users that have only left one-star reviews, then delivers this group of users to its advertising channels as a real-time suppression list. The team also delivers a “Low Value Customer” exclusion audience of customers that have at least two orders, but have returned 100% of their orders, based on order and return data from its data warehouse.

By using Persona’s real-time audience capabilities for suppression in its advertising destinations, the company saves these unhappy, low-value customers from unwanted ads, conserves marketing spend, and, in the case of social media platforms, prevents having negative comments on their posts.

👉 Watch session on-demand 

Saving Engineering Manpower Without Sacrificing Quality

Endeavor is a $10B+ enterprise holding company that has grown to encompass many sub-brands and 7,000+ employees, across sports, entertainment, talent, and events. 

Like many organizations, Endeavor uses Twilio Segment to clean up its data, and make it usable across the company. However, because of the massive scale involved, it simply wasn’t possible to manage instance-by-instance. If each brand ran their own CDP, costs would skyrocket, not to mention that they would have just recreated the silos a CDP was supposed to eliminate.

Enter APIs.

Zoom with margin

Ilya Gaperin, Staff Engineer at Endeavor, brought us through how they’re using the Segment API to ensure that all of the 30+ brands within the Endeavor umbrella have access to the same set of high-quality data. 

This has saved their engineering team hundreds of engineering hours a week. By no longer needing to write custom integrations for each business unit, the engineering team can focus on initiatives that drive incremental net-new revenue.

👉 Watch session on-demand 

Deploying Retention Strategies At Unprecedented Scale

Customer retention is top of mind for many businesses today, and for good reason. On average, it costs companies 5 to 25 times less to retain an existing customer compared to acquiring a new one. Little wonder, then, that in our recent Growth Report, close to half of businesses surveyed said customer retention was their #1 priority for the year ahead. 

Building a robust retention strategy for your product is no easy feat, but multiplying that across more than 200 products, each with its own engineering team, product managers, customer journey, user personas, pricing model, and it becomes exponentially more difficult.

This was precisely the challenge faced by IBM, one of the most iconic technology companies in the world. In his session, IBM Data Platform Manager, Alex Velaise, shared how IBM used Twilio Segment to improve adoption, retention, and churn across its mammoth product suite. 

One of the critical issues they faced was a lack of real-time tracking capabilities. This meant that once a user started showing signs of becoming disengaged, the product team lacked a real-time feedback mechanism to address the issue before it was too late. Alex brought the audience through how the IBM Cloud team adopted Twilio Segment to capture all user behaviors associated with the product in real-time, piped that data into Amplitude, and drove meaningful product improvements to address the retention issues they were experiencing. 

Zoom with margin

👉 Watch session on-demand 

 

How to Turn a Quick Fix Into a Long-Term Solution

These are uncertain times for any business. 

Maybe top of the funnel demand has decreased. Or sales cycles have become longer. While each company feels the impact differently, one thing is certain – businesses are having to adapt to change at a pace we haven’t seen before.

With the stakes so high, it can be tempting to invest in short term solutions to help grow your business. But more often than not, the most effective solutions to short-term problems are long-term solutions. 

Vista, the leading design and marketing partner for the world’s small businesses, found themselves in this very position when they tried to evolve beyond a historically transactional approach to customer engagement. By focusing on subscription based products that increased retention and customer lifetime value (LTV), they could provide a more holistic range of products and services to customers, thereby delivering more reliable revenue for the business.

Vista’s Drew Forster shared a fascinating insight into the academic framework that inspired the shift, namely the framework pioneered by Les Binet and Peter Field

Zoom with margin

Rather than a scattershot approach to customer acquisition, they’re now laser focused on brand building that will deliver long-term flow of sales, revenue and profit, now and into the future.

👉 Watch session on-demand 

  

 

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