The marketer’s guide to custom objects
Data is the cornerstone of personalized messaging. The more effectively you can capture data about who your customers are and what they do, the more you can engage them with targeted messages. That’s where custom objects can make all the difference.
Custom objects allow you to orchestrate your data to reach the right audience at the right time with contextual messaging. They’re a game-changer for marketers looking to deepen relationships with their customers and deliver personalized experiences at scale.
Sound enticing? Let’s explore how custom objects can elevate your marketing strategies.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What are custom objects, and how do they work?
- Types of custom objects (including four use cases)
- Benefits of using custom objects
- How to create a custom object in Customer.io
What exactly are custom objects, and how do they work?
Custom objects are versatile tools for grouping customers in meaningful ways to your business. A custom object might be an account that customers belong to, an online course they’ve enrolled in, or a recreational league they’ve joined.
What’s the difference between custom objects, attributes, and events?
You might wonder, “Aren’t custom objects just another name for attribute and event data?” Well, not exactly.
Think of attributes as individual information about a customer, like their name, age, or favorite color. Events are the actions your customers take, like clicking links, making purchases, or downloading content. Both attributes and events are valuable, but they don’t always tell you enough about your customer’s behavior or how they interact with your business for truly personalized messaging.
On the other hand, custom objects can represent anything your customers create, buy, schedule, or interact with. The result is more powerful, nuanced, and targeted messaging. You’re not just basing your messages on attributes or events but on how someone relates to the specific content of the custom object.
For example, if you work at a SaaS company, a custom object could be the account a customer is associated with, or if you work at a fintech company, a custom object could be someone’s investment type. These custom objects—each with their own unique attributes—empower you to create rich, ultra-personalized messaging for your customers.
Pro tip: Check out our introduction to Customer.io Journeys to learn more about how we delineate between different types of data.
When it comes to custom objects, it’s all about relationships
Relationships power custom objects; a customer is associated with a custom object once there’s an established relationship. For example, if a user joins an account, and the account is a custom object, then the customer is now connected to that account custom object. Make sense?
Going even deeper, if the account custom object has attributes like role type, subscription tier, or account status, you can use those attributes to create truly custom messaging experiences. We call these relationship campaigns—and they’re a game-changer for data-driven marketers.
Example use case: Meet Alice, a multi-account user who wears many hats
Let’s pretend you run a digital collaboration software business, and Alice is a customer. Behind the scenes, Alice belongs to three different accounts that she jumps between as part of her daily workflow. But, her role within each account is different: she’s the admin for one and a viewer for the other two.
In the account where Alice is an admin, you might send her messages about managing her account settings, overseeing user activities, or pricing updates. But in the accounts where Alice only holds viewer roles, you might send her messages encouraging more active engagement or highlighting features she might not be using.
Recognizing Alice’s roles in each of these accounts allows you to custom-fit messages to her interactions with each account. That’s the real power of relationship campaigns.
Types of custom objects
The beauty of custom objects is in their flexibility; you can create a custom object for anything related to your business. For example, many businesses create custom objects to represent companies, accounts, appointments, events, and courses. (Those are also the options we have pre-built into Customer.io Journeys, but you can also start from scratch if you’d like.)
What kind of data can you use to create custom objects?
The possibilities are endless! Some common data points used to create custom objects include account name, feature and product usage, plan types, and more.
Here are a few examples to get your imagination going:
- B2B: Create custom objects for different companies. For instance, if one customer is associated with two companies, you can track their role at each company (i.e., whether they’re simply a user or have an admin role) using custom objects.
- Edtech: Represent courses. Each course could be a custom object with attributes like course name, start date, completion date, cost, and instructor.
- Real Estate: Use custom objects for properties under management or for sale listings. Each property custom object might contain attributes like location, size, price, and current status (whether it’s rented, available, or under maintenance). For-sale listings might have attributes like listing price, number of bedrooms, and square footage.
- Fintech: Leverage custom objects for investment or account types. Each investment type, such as stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, can be a custom object with attributes like investment name, value, risk level, and return rate. Similarly, account types—like checking, savings, or investment accounts—might have relationship attributes like the account holder’s name, balance, and opening date.
3 benefits of using custom objects
Custom objects offer myriad benefits for marketers looking to level up their personalization game. Here are three key advantages:
- Enhanced segmentation. With custom objects, you can create highly specific segments based on your customers’ behavior and interactions with your business, allowing you to tailor your messaging accordingly.
- Personalized experiences at scale. By leveraging the attributes within each custom object, you can create truly customized experiences for customers using Liquid. From your emails to your SMS, in-app messages, and push notifications, each message can be custom-tailored to include personalized content that will help drive engagement and conversion.
Nuanced segmentation. Siloed data? Not here. By grouping your audience based on what’s important to your business, you can create more segmented, data-driven marketing content that resonates.
How to create custom objects in Customer.io
In Customer.io, you can create any custom objects from right within the UI and then send them to your developer to complete the setup.
Each of your objects is assigned a unique identifier, just like individual people, and you have the freedom to choose a name for each object you create. For instance, if you wish to use data about all the accounts your business manages, you would define the object type as “accounts.” Then, you can create individual objects for each account, such as “Acme Company.” This allows for efficient organization and management of your data.
Pro tip: See our quick start guide for a step-by-step flow of creating a custom object in Customer.io.
Ready to leverage all your data with custom objects?
There’s a big difference between having data and getting value out of it.
If you’ve been looking at your marketing automation strategy exclusively through the lens of individual customer data, you’re missing the forest for the trees.
Whether you’re looking to create ultra-personalized experiences for your audience or seeking deeper insights into customer behavior, custom objects are the key to unlocking the full potential of your data.
Learn how to put custom objects to work for your business today!