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Segment Brings the Heat: Iterable’s Recap of Synapse 2019

On an unseasonably hot day in San Francisco, with temperatures reaching 94 degrees, hundreds of attendees braved the heat to attend Synapse 2019, Segment’s annual user conference.

While you can’t always prepare for the weather, Segment certainly prepared for this event, which featured cool art installations, new product releases and a host of captivating presentations. 

We first heard from Peter Reinhardt, CEO of Segment, where he took on one of the hottest topics of the year—data privacy—and established a firm position: “Customer-first means privacy-first.” 

Companies should both treat data privacy as a right and maintain the personalized experience that their customers deserve. Historically, we’ve seen our physical world architected to meet our human needs of privacy, such as in doctors’ offices, bathrooms and so on. There’s no reason our digital world shouldn’t be architected to meet our human needs of privacy as well. 

This focus set the tone for the conference and led to Segment’s two new product releases: Privacy Portal and Functions

Privacy Portal gives Segment clients the ability to automatically create, detect and classify data to create a dynamic customer data inventory in minutes. Privacy Portal provides a singular truth to all the data being collected in Segment.  

Functions allow clients to connect to Segment, with only a few lines of JavaScript. Functions offer a way to create custom sources and destinations directly within your Segment instance.

These features, combined with Reinhardt’s keynote, established three notable themes around customer data: transparency, security and consolidation.

Here’s a recap of four presentations that drove home these themes at Synapse 2019.

Iterable’s Recap of Synapse 2019

Segment Synapse 2019

1. Where Does Data Democracy Begin?

Presented by Ajay Gopal, Head of Data Science at Sun Basket

This presentation likely hit home for many marketers: how many of us have received an analytics request, only to be unable to retrieve the data yourself and have to reach out to your Data Science team? This technical dependency only exacerbates the never-ending queue of analytic requests throughout an organization.

To achieve data democracy at Sun Basket, Gopal laid out a three-part design process:

  1. Technology: Define, compute and maintain metrics centrally by moving the source of truth out of inboxes and into platforms.
  2. Process: Engineer products with measurement in mind to evolve data accountability for day-to-day decisions.
  3. People: Reduce data fear by training employees and giving them the tools and knowledge to solve their own questions.

2. Fender’s Digital Transformation

Presented by Ethan Kaplan, GM at Fender Digital

Four years ago, Fender took a hard look at their organization and realized that they needed to be apart of a digital transformation.

On day one of his new role, Kaplan asked to see the data.

Fender’s response? “We don’t have any.”

After a segmentation study, Fender found surprising insights about their customers: 

  • 50% of first-time guitar buyers were women (the assumption was 20%).
  • 90% of first-time buyers would quit playing guitar within six months. The remaining 10% would commit to life and buy 8-10 guitars.
  • First-time buyers were spending on lessons 4x the amount they spend on the guitar itself.

The first glimpse into this data provided Fender with that “A-ha!” moment, and Fender Digital was born. By launching two apps, Fender Tune and Fender Play, they were able to not only collect data on customer interests but also provide solutions to their needs.

Additionally, they are launching Fender Songs on Oct. 22, which is branded as the “Play Anything App” that converts your favorite songs into playable guitar notes.

Fender’s digital transformation has been incredible to see: they’ve gone from zero to 165 million API calls per year, thereby drastically improving their customer experience and providing significant downstream value. 

3. How to Get Your Security Story CCPA-Ready

Presented by Coleen Coolidge, CISO at Segment; Fredrick Lee, Chief Security Officer at Gusto; Ben Waugh, Chief Security Officer at Redox; Joy Forsythe, Director of Security at Alto Pharmacy; and Steven Nguyen, Director of GRC at Segment

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) aims to increase the privacy rights of consumers more so than anywhere else in the U.S. So how does a company prepare for this upcoming regulation?

According to our group of panelists, there are a few proactive things you can do.

  1. Build out a framework to make sure everyone understands the impact of how each function within your business handles data.
  2. Create a culture around privacy rights to ensure all team members serve as data custodians and act with trust and transparency.
  3. Automate your data inventory. As Coolidge stated, “If data is the bread and butter of your company, then treat it that way.”

4. Experiment! How to Drive Product Innovation in Teams Big and Small 

Presented by Patti Chan, VP, Product, at Imperfect Produce

This session dove into experiment-driven product development, discussing two types of experiments: Optimization and Discovery.

Optimization experiments address incremental improvements to features, whereas Discovery experiments involve bold projects that shoot for the moon. 

Here are a few best practices we learned from this session:

  1. Avoid common experimentation mistakes, such as not focusing on the right problem to solve or selecting an unreliable measure.
  2. Create experiments that are NOT scalable to get you to your insights quicker. Make it scalable later, if necessary.
  3. Share your learnings to build a culture of experimentation, like Imperfect Produce does in their Friday Learnings coffee hour.

Build a Best-in-Class Growth Marketing Stack With Iterable and Segment

Every brand collects massive amounts of first-party data, and the challenge lies in leveraging the full potential of it. Iterable partners with customer data platforms like Segment to unify data from all sources and sync it across the growth marketing stack with modern APIs.

We hope that you stopped by the Iterable booth at Synapse 2019 to meet our team and discuss how Iterable and Segment are helping marketers power world-class customer engagement.

Want to learn more about our robust integration? Request a custom demo today!

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