Choosing A Segment Alternative By Use Case
The most popular software is not always the best fit for your unique needs.
Like screenwriters who choose Final Draft over Microsoft Word because it does the same thing in a way tailored specifically to their needs, you are better off finding the right customer data platform (CDP) for your unique business needs instead of simply picking most popular CDP solution.
Segment serves over 20,000 businesses and has a 10% share of the total CDP market. It works well for a lot of businesses, but it’s not the only CDP around. And depending on your specific needs, you could get better results at a lower cost. Otherwise, you risk losing additional money, time, and effort trying to shoehorn the popular, overpriced, but misfit CDP to fit your unique business needs.
Get A Holistic View Of Your Customer Journey
A customer data platform (CDP) combines all the actions of your users and gives you a holistic view of the entire customer journey. From the moment a prospect lands on your website, a CDP can help you understand all the important actions they take, before and after they become a customer.
To achieve the same result without a CDP, you’ll need to stitch together disparate sources of customer data across different tools. For example, you’ll need to create four separate data pipelines that collect customer data from your website, mobile app, database and warehouse.
But creating more individual data pipelines doesn’t solve your problems; it only makes it more complicated. As you may have experienced, any changes in business requirements, data schemas, or even a new product update can break data pipelines. And when pipelines break or misbehave, you’ll need to inspect and debug them individually.
The more sources and destinations you add, the more chaotic and numerous your customer data pipelines become.
A CDP solves this problem by consolidating all your customer data and routing that data to any destination, from one place. So, instead of individually changing each data pipeline, you make all your changes in one place. And the CDP automatically makes the changes across all your destinations. This helps you create more reliable data pipelines that are also modular and more easily maintainable.
But more importantly, a CDP helps you understand the important points across your user journey. For example, it can show you where customers drop off. It can help you link successful conversions back to the acquisition source. And it can explain what all your power users have in common.
The Best Segment Alternative CDPs by Use Case
Segment does a great job at simplifying your customer data pipelines across all your sources and destinations. But meeting this generic use case alone may not suffice for your business.
You may want to consider an alternative because Segment isn’t the best self-serve CDP for non-technical users. And Segment’s pricing is based on the number of monthly visitors and charges you for additional add-ons and custom support packages, which can quickly become spectacularly expensive.
Here are six Segment alternatives, categorized by the use cases that give them an edge over Segment.
Best No-Code Segment Alternative CDP: Freshpaint
It only takes one or two sprint cycles to realize that product and UI changes are going to require your engineering team to constantly update your customer events if you use Segment. This is going to force your team to choose between prioritizing analytics work or building customer facing features.
That’s why Freshpaint comes loaded with a set of intuitive self-serve features that empower users who don’t write code to own their customer data lifecycle without much engineering support.
Freshpaint’s visual editor helps you to select an action, label it, and define its properties via a visual editor. It allows you to create, define, and edit customer events without writing any code. This feature helps you go beyond the technical barrier required to create and edit customer events on Segment.
Freshpaint offers readymade connectors to send your customer data to over 120 different data destinations without requiring any engineering intervention. So, you can send your customer data to an analytics platform like Amplitude, Mixpanel or Google Analytics, without writing any code.
Together, these features make Freshpaint a compelling no-code alternative to Segment. Non-technical and fast-growing teams can use these self-serve features to quickly create the complete view of the customer journey they need to achieve growth goals.
As an added bonus, Freshpaint is HIPAA-compliant, and has an entire feature set built around helping digital healthcare companies manage their users’ protected health information.
Best Open-Source Segment Alternative CDP: Meltano
Meltano is fully committed to open-source standards. Its code is fully inspectable and customizable. With Segment, users don’t know how the platform works internally or where the data gets stored. But with Meltano, teams know exactly how the tool treats, collects, stores, transforms, and sends your customer data.
Meltano uses the open-source Singer specification standard for all data exchanges. It helps you extract and load data from various databases, APIs, and apps using Singer taps and targets.
Meltano doesn’t just focus on the extracting and loading part of a data pipeline; it also allows you to use other modern open-source tools, such as dbt to transform your data and Airflow to orchestrate as well as schedule data pipelines. Meltano helps you extract data via Singer taps for over 300 different sources and over 20 different destinations via Singer targets.
Meltano also allows you to “define custom layers of configuration within your project” via its Environments feature. This can help you easily navigate between multiple different environments with just a single environment variable. Also, Meltano boasts of an active open-source community that chips in with code issues and solutions.
As a result, these open-source features make Meltano a compelling open-source alternative to Segment. Small businesses or startups with technical teams, complex data infrastructure and industry-specific operations can use Meltano to create customized implementations.
Best Warehouse-First Segment Alternative CDP: RudderStack
RudderStack turns your cloud data warehouse (such as Snowflake) into a CDP. For the technically inclined, RudderStack also offers a host of different APIs and SDKs to help you craft a solution for your unique business use cases.
However, this warehouse-first approach comes with the trade-off of increased technical complexity. RudderStack openly claims that it is built for technical engineers and data teams. This need for technical know-how automatically excludes a large set of non-engineering users who need such a solution.
Best Analysis-Friendly Segment Alternative CDP: Snowplow
Snowplow offers data teams unparalleled abilities to work with fully configurable SQL data models and richly detailed JSON schema-based event data. This can help you go beyond the limited data structures, transformation, validation, and analysis options that Segment offers.
Snowplow schemas can help you go beyond conventional structures to create custom data structures that are best suited for your business needs. And because Snowplow schemas are versioned, it allows you to collect different versions of the same data across different sources. This helps your growing business to refine and evolve its data collection strategy with time.
Snowplow also supports a large number of customer events such as transactions, page views, pings, clicks, form fill-ins, and submissions. But in addition to these natively supported events, you can also track custom events.
Lastly, Snowplow gives you the tools to validate your data before loading it onto a destination. It allows you to define a custom set of definitions that all data must pass through. The “bad data” records that don’t meet your quality standards are loaded to a separate location. From here, Snowplow allows you to check and better understand your bad data.
These rich features make Snowplow a better analysis-oriented Segment alternative. Especially for businesses that want to collect and analyze customer behavior data from several different sources such as videos, calls, surveys, or A/B tests.
Best Segment Alternative CDP for Enterprises: mParticle
mParticle specializes in customized data integration, data governance and audience management solutions for high-volume enterprises. Because enterprises deal with more scale and complexity, they often need to implement customizations that take into account their unique business cases and data infrastructure.
With Segment, you need to pay extra money to get customization support and add-on packages for custom integrations. But mParticle assigns a dedicated customer success rep to provide better implementation assistance and ongoing support for all your customization requirements.
mParticle’s audience management features can help you segment user data based on various attributes and connect them to all your leading marketing, advertising, social media platforms and analytics tools. Also, mParticle’s data governance features can help you control how data flows, meet compliance requirements, and manage erasure requests all from one place.
It also offers a range of different client SDKs and event APIs to help you collect data from all the sources you need and send it to nearly 200 destinations. And it allows you to load customer data into your data warehouse in near real time.
These enterprise-focused features make mParticle a better Segment alternative for enterprises. mParticle also has been able to attract several high-volume consumer companies such as Airbnb, Burger King, JetBlue, and Spotify as customers.
Best Segment Alternative CDP for Marketers: Tealium
Unlike Segment, Tealium offers predictive customer analytics features to help marketing teams understand customer preferences and behaviors better. It also offers personalization features to help you deliver relevant and timely customer experiences.
Tealium offers an intuitive interface to manage your audience across all the different channels they use to interact with your business. It helps marketers use this data to enrich various apps and improve demand generation. It can help segment your audience based on a wide range of user behaviors, actions, preferences, attributes and metrics. And it can help you understand which users are most likely to buy, churn, or choose an alternative.
These omnichannel customer analytics and personalization features make Tealium a compelling Segment alternative for marketers.
Things to Consider Before Choosing a CDP
In addition to the benefits of each CDP solution, you also need to factor in your user skills and industry regulations before making a choice.
If your primary users are engineers who can handle open-source projects and API and SDK integrations, then you may be able to take on the lift of implementing a technical Segment alternative such as Meltano, Snowplow, or RudderStack.
But if you’re a fast moving startup that’s looking to keep engineering focused on customer facing features, a no-code CDP like Freshpaint is the better choice. That’s because it comes loaded with powerful event auto-tracking and visual editor features. It takes a self-serve approach to solve complex customer data management problems. And it is built to empower product leaders, marketers, and founders to take charge of the entire customer data lifecycle without much engineering support.
Start a free Freshpaint trial and check out how our powerful self-serve features can help you get a unified view of customer journey without a heavy engineering lift.