Segment builds up executive team, aims for the enterprise market

With new competition from Oracle, Salesforce and Adobe looming, Segment is accelerating its expansion.

The Customer Data Platform market takes off ZDNet's Stephanie Condon tells Karen Roby how businesses are using CDPs to keep up with customer expectations. Read more: https://zd.net/31JqHxg

In the data age, customers have come to expect personalized, contextual interactions with brands. At the same time, it's increasingly difficult for businesses to manage and exploit their customer data, given the growing number of customer touchpoints. This has given rise to the relatively new customer data platform (CDP) market. CDPs have become critical enough that major software vendors like Oracle and Salesforce have taken note, announcing their own versions. 

After helping to define the CDP category, the eight year-old company Segment is seizing the moment and scaling up. It's bringing on new executives and a new board member that can help expand its footprint in the enterprise space and prove that its approach to customer data makes more sense than turning to a major SaaS vendor.  

"The old way of doing CRM and cloud suites no longer works," Segment CEO and co-founder Peter Reinhardt told ZDNet. "We've been disrupting the status quo by stitching together these best-in-class marketing tech and customer tech tools across a company... This results downstream in a more effective marketing experience and customer experience."

Segment provides the customer data infrastructure (CDI) that businesses can use to unify their first-party data and leverage it across marketing, analytics and data warehousing tools. Segment now integrates into well over 300 different services. In April, Segment announced a $175 million round of new funding, bringing its total funding to $284 million. With that capital, Segment is accelerating its global expansion. 

"As we're scaling, we're seeing a huge opportunity, particularly in the enterprise" -- to the tune of several tens of billions of dollars per year, Reinhardt said. 

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Ben Galbraith

Mike McGee

 Segment's new leaders have been through scaling before and can help push the company into the enterprise. Ben Galbraith is joining Segment as VP of Product. He comes from Google, where he most recently led product management for Google Chrome's platform team. Prior to joining Google, Galbraith ran the product, design, and front-end engineering Walmart's global e-commerce division after his startup was acquired by WalmartLabs in 2011. In his newly-created role at Segment, Galbraith will help build out a long-term product roadmap. 

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Joe Morrissey

"The MarTech space is super complicated and crowded, and Segment has been successful partly because we've been clearly differentiated from that ecosystem," Reinhardt said. "Ben will be helpful in continuing to expand that differentiation." 

 Additionally, Joe Morrissey is joining Segment as its first Chief Revenue Officer. Morrissey previously led international sales at Hortonworks, growing the EMEA and APAC businesses by over 200 percent in the two years before the company's $5.2 billion merger with Cloudera. Before that, he built and led the EMEA business at MongoDB. At Segment, Morrissey will lead the go-to-market strategy.

Segment already has 19,000 customers across 71 countries -- including enterprises like Intuit, IBM and Meredith -- but Reinhardt attributes the company's growth almost entirely to word of mouth up to this point. 

"The world over, you have startups building disruptive digital products all coming to market -- those startups en masse are using Segment," he said. "Startups and larger companies in every region in the world are starting to notice." 

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Kimberly Hammonds

 Segment is also appointing Kimberly Hammonds to its Board of Directors. Hammonds has more than 25 years of experience leading the technology strategy at major businesses. She served as Chief Operating Officer and member of the Management Board for Deutsche Bank AG, Global Chief Information Officer and Global Co-Head of Technology and Operations at Deutsche Bank AG, and as Chief Information Officer for the Boeing Company. 

"As we move to selling to enterprises, Kimberly can help us understand the customer perspective," Reinhardt said.

For enterprise customers, he said, the top goal is handling complexity. "Trying to understand who their customer is and how best to serve them is an exercise in complexity across multiple business units, and merging data through acquisitions and new product launches."

While digitally native businesses like Netflix or Amazon have the customer data infrastructure to handle that complexity, the rest of the enterprise needs help doing so. "We can help them deliver that customer experience and handle the complexity," Reinhardt said.