Twilio Marketing Playbook: 7 Strategies, 21 Examples

Company: Twilio

Founded: 2008

Founders: Jeff Lawson, Evan Cooke, John Wolthuis

Description: Cloud communications platform for developers

This playbook focuses on marketing strategies and tactics used by Twilio. 

The marketing playbook series is for founders who want to: 

1. learn from real-life examples
2. discover which growth strategies fit which businesses and industries
3. find the 20% of strategies that return 80% of results

Social Proof Marketing

1. Trusted By

Twilio showcases some of it’s largest customers on the landing page. We get the sense that if it’s good enough for these brands, then it’s good enough for us. Most SaaS companies use well-known customers on their landing pages to trigger social proof. (Page)

2. Customers Page

Twilio also dedicates an entire page to showcasing customers. This is similar to Stripe and Webflow which both have customer pages. (Customers)

3. Twilio Showcase

Twilio also triggers social proof by showcasing 40,000+ businesses built on Twilio. This page also serves as inspiration for prospective customers. (Showcase)

4. Product Testimonials

Twilio provides testimonials for each product in it’s catalogue. This gives prospects product-level feedback as opposed to company-level feedback.

Product-level testimonials are quite an investment for Twilio which has a portfolio of more than 20 products. (Example)

Micro Marketing

5. Signal Conference

Twilio creates rich interactions by bringing stakeholders together at the Signal Conference. They collect rich feedback and create memorable experiences for customers. (Signal Conference)

6. Sales

Twilio runs a dual-sales model. Users can use self-serve registration or sign up to be contacted. The sales model helps Twilio acquire larger clients while smaller customers rely on self-serve. Stripe also runs a self-serve model alongside sales. (Sales)

7. Forums

Twilio follows relevant conversations in forums and on Twitter. Platforms like Quora help long-tail marketing efforts. Hearing directly from Twilio also creates memorable experiences for prospective customers. (Post)

8. Developer Evangelists

Developer Evangelists keep their ear to the streets, collect product feedback and help grass roots efforts. They typically participate in conferences and meetups. (Post)

9. Twilio Champions

Twilio Champions are unpaid but serve a similar role as evangelists. They help the developer community and receive free tickets to conferences and access to a private Slack channel. (Twilio Champions)

10. Hackathons

Twilio hackathons bring developers together to build products using Twilio services. Hackathons help Twilio collect feedback and observe new use cases.

These applied meetups may also help Twilio with recruiting. Companies must market to employees as well as customers. (Twilio Hackathons)

Ease Marketing

11. Great Experience

Twilio users are generally happy with the product. The seamless developer experience spurs word of mouth. (Page)

Niche Marketing

12. Built for Developers

Twilio is able to make design concessions by deciding to focus on developers. They would weaken the product experience if they tried to build for too many customer segments.

Niching also allows the company to focus marketing and messaging efforts. Twilio’s copy makes it clear that they are focused on the developer experience. They also invest heavily in creating technical tutorials and experiences such as hackathons.

This developer-focus has led to Twilio landing some of their biggest clients. WhatsApp and Uber made early decisions to chose Twilio for speed and ease. These two companies grew with Twilio and are now responsible for 20% of revenue.

Many of Stripe’s largest customers also chose them for speed and ease. Speed is critical for small companies. (Page)

Lock-In Marketing

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13. Web of Products

Infrastructure companies typically benefit from customer lock-in. Twilio is no different.

They offer a portfolio of products that are baked into critical business functions. The more Twilio products that a company relies on, the harder it becomes to switch to another vendor. Phone numbers and communications data are tied Twilio.

Twilio customers would need to expend lots of resources to switch vendors. While they are aiming for feature parity, their end users aren’t receiving any additional value. Meanwhile their competitors are iterating.

Customers would need an excellent reason to switch vendors. And the longer someone uses Twilio, the longer they are likely to. It’s Lindy. (Products)

Flywheel Marketing

14. Channel APIs

Twilio offers several APIs for different communication channels.

These APIs include:

15. Identity APIs

Twilio offers APIs for identifying and authenticating users.

These APIs include:

16. Intelligence APIs

Intelligence APIs help companies to do more with smaller teams.

These APIs include:

17. Twilio Flex

Twilio Flex brings multiple services together to create a contact center platform for enterprise customers. They offer demos and a high-touch sales process. Customers can customize the platform their needs. (Twilio Flex)

18. Network Services

Twilio offers several communications infrastructure services. These include API access to phone numbers from more than 100 countries and help connecting IoT devices.

Twilio network services include:

19. Twilio Tools

Twilio tools serve as glue between multiple services while improving the developer experience. Twilio tools also reinforce their competitive moat. Switching costs include sacrificing these tools.

Twilio tools include:

Content Marketing

20. Tutorials

Tutorials serve as applied documentation. Twilio wisely focuses on helping developers build real-world projects. These tutorials are also great for SEO. (Tutorials)

21. Twilio Blog

The Twilio Blog brings together several forms of content marketing. The blog is home to tutorials, customer highlights and announcements. (Twilio Blog)

Thanks for reading!

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Check out the playbook series for more growth strategies.