Customer data is the cornerstone of personalized messaging. The more effectively you can capture and leverage information about who your customers are and what they do, the more effectively you can engage them with targeted messages.
But messaging automation is more than just customer data. Your business itself generates a wealth of information, and if you aren’t using it in your messaging strategy, you’re missing out on a lot of value.
That’s where custom objects come in. This Customer.io Journeys feature allows you to bring in just about any business data to vastly expand the possibilities for detailed personalization and marketing automation — at scale.
Read on for the how and why of using objects:
Before we get into the details of objects, it’s helpful to understand the different types of data you can bring into the platform. We can sort them into two groups: data about individuals (aka, customer data) and data about your business.
Every person in your audience gets a unique profile and identifier. Then various types of data can be associated with each individual.
While data about people is a powerful source for personalization, there’s so much more you can do when you tap into your broader data set. “Non-people data” can be any kind of information about your business, like a list of upcoming events, promotions, products, or account tiers.
Relating business data to people allows you to really leverage all of your data in a holistic and flexible way. And objects allow you to do that with vast quantities of ever-changing data.
One of the most common questions I hear from customers is whether they can use a particular piece of business data to accomplish something specific in their messaging automation. And the answer is yes — if you have data about something in your business, you can create an object for it. Each object has its own attributes that you can use to personalize campaigns and broadcasts.
When you start working with objects, you’ll want to define what type of objects you’re creating. Common examples are the companies people work for or the courses, events, or appointments people could sign up for.
Your objects receive a unique identifier, just like individual people, and you’ll choose the name for each object you create. For example, you might want to bring in data about all the accounts your business handles. Your object type would be “accounts,” and you can then create an individual object for each account, like Acme Company.
You can set attributes for each object (again, just like people). If you were adding attributes for the Acme Company object, you might want to capture attributes like their industry, location, monthly billing date, and accounts payable contact.
This is where you start really using your business data to power personalization. Objects enable one-to-many relationships, meaning you can relate one object to multiple people (or vice versa). For instance, you might want to relate the Acme Company object to every person in your audience who works at that company. You can also relate one person to multiple objects; for instance, an online learning app could create an object for each of its courses, and relate each individual to all the courses they’ve enrolled in. Once your relationships are in place, you can create segments for personalized campaigns or broadcasts.
The answer is: virtually anything! That’s what’s so valuable about objects; they allow you to bring all of your core business data into Customer.io Journeys and use it to personalize messaging and support your business goals.
A few examples to get your imagination going:
Objects let you bring more of your business’ data into Customer.io Journeys, and they can make segmentation even more powerful and simple. There are many possible benefits depending on your type of business; these three can get you started thinking about the possibilities.
When information is relevant at both an individual and company level, objects allow you to automate messages at both levels. In the example of the Acme Company object above, you could send a message to everyone related to that object when it’s time for the company’s annual renewal or you release new features relevant to the company’s industry.
Whenever there are two sides to a business interaction, the data where they meet in the middle is a great use case for an object. As an example: a company that manages employee benefit services could use objects to identify which of their client companies offer which plans, and which of their employees are on which plans.
Using an object is much simpler than setting attributes or sending an event for every individual you want in that segment. A good example of this is from the EdTech world: say you have an online learning platform for marketing professionals. You could create an object for each class you offer, then segment based on classes people have taken. For instance, you might target everyone who took your copywriting fundamentals class last fall with a campaign promoting your new class on writing with keywords.
There’s a big difference between having data and getting value out of it. If you’ve been looking at your marketing automation strategy through the lens of customer data, you’re missing the forest for the trees. Using objects makes the full breadth of your business data actionable. Take a look at the detailed documentation to learn how you can put objects to work for you.