Twilio’s Acquisition of Segment Says a Lot About the Future of Business

Twilio Segment Acquisition

While companies across every industry have been experiencing a digital transformation over the past decade, the pandemic has now catapulted the world, and business, into all-digital-all-the-time. This reality has forced all businesses to immediately transition almost all of their customer interactions online. 

The recent Twilio / Segment deal is a great illustration of the acceleration of these changes. There is massive growth in digital products and digital ecosystems and the developer tooling for it. This deal is a clear validation of the enormous upside potential in the transformation that is unfurling. 

Twilio is a developer tools company and now they’ve invested in a company that helps inform strategy and decisions at millions of companies across the world. We see businesses making moves like this all over the world.

Today, for any business to succeed in a digital-first economy, they must adapt to the changes that are shaping the future—digital transformation, a user-first business model, and product development informed by insights are those changes. 

What does it mean to adapt? Here’s a look.

Build for the end-user.

The idea of “customer experience” and optimizing your business to create a great experience is a concept that has been around for a long time. This emphasis on the “customer” has inherently created a focus on the decision-makers. This group is often not the end-user. 

What the Twilio / Segment acquisition illustrates is a shift in attention to the end-user, in this case, the developers. This is a fundamental change of who controls what gets implemented and is an entirely different business model. The sales process is less enterprise-centric and instead leverages a more B2C approach.

With tools that end-users—developers, marketers, sales reps, customer support staff—can start using without having to go through the whole sales song and dance, revenue strategies are being turned on their head. 

Design your business with a digital-first mindset.

Digital transformation is the convergence of many elements—developers, engineering, data, resources, strategy, decision making, and insights. It’s been a while in the making, but the pandemic has made it a requirement that your digital presence is a priority. 

If you don’t have a website, you don’t exist in the world. This is especially true in the eCommerce world, but in today’s reality, any consumer needs to be able to interact with your brand or buy your product online.

Develop products with customer insights. 

A critical part of product development is a focus on data and insights on who you’re building products for. This acquisition proves that again. A developer tooling company bought an insight-related business. These might seem like disjointed things, but today, the data, the insight, the experience, understanding the perspective of a user, and the perspective of the business, all of these areas need to work in concert. 

The 2020s are largely being dictated by machine learning, data, and customer experience. Quantitative AND qualitative data provide access to a holistic understanding of the user, to drive customer-based decision making.  An algorithm couldn’t have told Twilio that Segment was a good investment, but their own conversations and investigations into user experience, paired with quantitative data, likely brought them to that decision.

If you don’t have data and direct customer insight to launch a product, you cannot develop and launch the product properly. 

We’re in a whole new paradigm. These changes are dictating how modern products are built and how the best businesses will win.

Build for the end-user.

The idea of “customer experience” and optimizing your business to create a great experience is a concept that has been around for a long time. This emphasis on the “customer” has inherently created a focus on the decision-makers. This group is often not the end-user. 

What the Twilio / Segment acquisition illustrates is a shift in attention to the end-user, in this case, the developers. This is a fundamental change of who controls what gets implemented and is an entirely different business model. The sales process is less enterprise-centric and instead leverages a more B2C approach.

With tools that end-users—developers, marketers, sales reps, customer support staff—can start using without having to go through the whole sales song and dance, revenue strategies are being turned on their head. 

Design your business with a digital-first mindset.

Digital transformation is the convergence of many elements—developers, engineering, data, resources, strategy, decision making, and insights. It’s been a while in the making, but the pandemic has made it a requirement that your digital presence is a priority. 

If you don’t have a website, you don’t exist in the world. This is especially true in the eCommerce world, but in today’s reality, any consumer needs to be able to interact with your brand or buy your product online.

Develop products with customer insights. 

A critical part of product development is a focus on data and insights on who you’re building products for. This acquisition proves that again. A developer tooling company bought an insight-related business. These might seem like disjointed things, but today, the data, the insight, the experience, understanding the perspective of a user, and the perspective of the business, all of these areas need to work in concert. 

The 2020s are largely being dictated by machine learning, data, and customer experience. Quantitative AND qualitative data provide access to a holistic understanding of the user, to drive customer-based decision making.  An algorithm couldn’t have told Twilio that Segment was a good investment, but their own conversations and investigations into user experience, paired with quantitative data, likely brought them to that decision.

If you don’t have data and direct customer insight to launch a product, you cannot develop and launch the product properly. 

We’re in a whole new paradigm. These changes are dictating how modern products are built and how the best businesses will win.

Don’t miss future articles about insights-driven product development.  Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter, The Insightful, where we share news from Tetra as well as interesting articles and job postings from around the industry. 

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