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10 incredibly powerful marketing use cases for custom objects

When it comes to connecting with your customers, data unlocks the kind of personalization that drives meaningful engagement. And as a marketer, you know that better engagement equals more conversions, higher revenue, and (kudos to you!) marketing success.

Enter custom objects, a powerful feature for any marketer looking to craft data-backed messages that are personalized for their audience. That’s because custom objects help you personalize messages for your audience based on relationships.

Wait what? Yes! Custom objects go beyond the usual profile data you collect about your customers—like their first name or address. Instead, custom objects let you group and categorize people based on how they relate to areas of your business. From Companies and Accounts to Appointments, Events, and Courses (and anything else you can dream up!), you can create a custom object for any data that’s meaningful to your business.

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Is your business a mobile app for pet parents? Go ahead and create the custom object type Pets. Then craft a personalized marketing email for accounts where the custom object attribute is exclusively dog. You can share must-know canine content without worrying it might accidentally end up in the inbox of a cat owner (oops!). 

The possibilities with custom objects are nearly endless. 

We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 use cases for leveraging custom objects in your personalized marketing campaigns. We’ve organized them based on custom object type and industry so you can easily scroll to the one(s) that are most relevant to your business:

Use caseCustom object typeExample industry
Streamline onboardingCompaniesSaaS
Encourage subscription upgradesCompaniesSaaS
Drive more account investment activityAccountsFintech
Assign a dedicated portfolio managerAccountsFintech
Automate reminders of upcoming appointmentsAppointments Healthcare
Engaging follow-ups based on listing viewsAppointmentsMarketplaces
Send targeted promotions based on segmentsEvents Marketplaces
Enable efficient registration and ticketing for attendeesEventsMedia
Introduce students to relevant coursesCoursesEdtech
Improve progress tracking for studentsCoursesEdtech

Use case #1: Streamline onboarding 

  • Custom object type: Companies 
  • Attribute(s) associated with the custom object: user roles
  • Example industry: SaaS
Custom objects use case: streamline onboarding

Imagine you have a team collaboration platform that people pay for as a monthly subscription. When a company first signs up for your service, you’ll want to send an onboarding campaign to get them set up and seeing value quickly. You can create Companies as a custom object type, then a custom object for each company that uses your platform. 

Associate each individual person with the relevant company custom object, and you can trigger an onboarding campaign to reach them all! You can get even more personal by segmenting users based on attribute data like user role to customize the campaign for people with an admin attribute. For example, you might send admin users exclusive content about managing user permissions or how to access their billing information. 

If your onboarding requires several steps or paperwork, you can use custom objects to easily track which companies have successfully completed each step—and nurture them with reminders as needed through the process.

Use case #2: Encourage subscription upgrades

  • Custom object type: Companies
  • Attribute(s) associated with the custom object: renewal date, user roles, plan type
  • Example industry: SaaS
Custom objects use case: encourage subscription upgrades

Using the same team collaboration platform example as above, let’s pretend you’re looking to create targeted campaigns that help encourage subscription upgrades. 

With the custom object company filtered by the attributes renewal date, user role, and plan type, you can target admin decision-makers when their plan renewal date is coming up. To drive upgrades, you might include information about features only available on a higher tier plan—and a special offer to drive conversions. 

Use case #3: Drive more account investment activity

  • Custom object type: Accounts
  • Attribute(s) associated with the custom object: account type, last investment date
  • Example industry: Fintech
Custom objects use case: drive account investment activity

Fintech is a perfect industry for leveraging custom objects. 

Say you’re working for an online investment management service and want to encourage more regular deposits from your business customers. Create the custom object type Accounts and associate individuals to the relevant account custom object. 

From there, you’ll want to create the attributes account type and last investment date. For accounts where the account type is business, you can create a targeted campaign for all individuals associated with the account based on their last investment date

If it’s been over a month since an investment was made, you can send them a series of re-engagement emails highlighting all the benefits of regular deposits.  

Use case #4: Assign a dedicated account manager

  • Custom object type: Accounts
  • Attribute(s) associated with the custom object: portfolio amount
  • Example industry: Fintech
Custom objects use case: assign a dedicated account manager

Using the same online investment management service as an example, you can use the account custom object to provide white glove customer support to your biggest business customers. 

With the associated attribute portfolio amount you can set up a campaign to assign a dedicated account manager for any account that meets a specific investment threshold. 

That account manager can add these accounts to an exclusive subscriber list for VIP investment advice and market information access.  

Use case #5: Automated reminders of upcoming appointments

  • Custom object type: Appointments
  • Attribute(s) associated with the custom object: user role, appointment status
  • Example industry: Healthcare
Custom objects use case: automated reminders of appointments

Providing exceptional patient care is a surefire way to retain customers for any healthcare-based app. And custom objects can help you personalize the patient experience to drive engagement.

Assume you have an online healthcare app that connects individuals with care providers. You can create the custom object type Appointments and associate both patients and care providers to specific appointments once they are booked. 

Further segmenting by the attributes user role and appointment status, you can create a campaign with automated reminders for patients with the time and location of their appointments. 

For the care providers, you might instead send them a customized message with information shared by the patient in a pre-appointment survey. Or, you might notify the care provider if an appointment status moves from booked to canceled

Use case #6: Engaging follow-ups based on listing views

  • Custom object type: Appointments, Listings
  • Attribute(s) associated with the custom object: appointment status, listing status
  • Example industry: Marketplaces
Custom objects use case: engaging follow-ups in real estate

Marketplace businesses are yet another prime example of the usefulness of custom objects. 

For this example, put yourself in the shoes of an online home listing marketplace. You can create a custom object for each listing on your platform and a custom object for appointments. You then associate individuals to each specific listing and appointment whenever they book a home viewing.  

From there, you can get super segmented with your marketing by using the attributes appointment status and listing status. Anytime the listing status changes from active to pending, you can immediately message individuals who’ve viewed the listing to notify them about the change.

Use case #7: Targeted event promotions 

  • Custom object type: Events
  • Attribute(s) associated with the custom object: event interest
  • Example industry: Marketplaces
Custom objects use case: targeted event promotions

Meticulously organizing events is no easy feat. It often requires hours of planning and prep to pull off. So, you want to ensure your event marketing is just as buttoned up as the event you host. That’s where custom objects can help.

Let’s use the same home listing marketplace example as above. As a value-add to your customers, your business regularly hosts city tours in hot real estate markets across the US. The next one is in Madison, Wisconsin, and you want to invite customers who’ve shown interest in joining the next tour in this area.

With the custom object type Events, you can create a custom object for the Madison city tour. You can then relate customers to this custom object whose event interest is added to favorites or send notification. Then, you can send targeted promotions to those customers, encouraging them to join you for the city tour.

Use case #8: Efficient registration and ticketing for attendees

  • Custom object type: Events
  • Attribute(s) associated with the custom object: Event registration status, event type
  • Example industry: Media
Custom objects use case: ticketing and registration

The back-end operations of your events can be streamlined with custom objects. This will improve your life and your customer’s event experience. 

Let’s say you work for a media streaming service that is just about to launch a new show. You’re hosting a launch party to celebrate the achievement and have invited a select group of customers to join.

With a custom object for the launch party, you can associate customers to the event based on the attribute event registration status. If a customer has the status active, for example, you can send them automated communications with information about the event, like the time, place, and what to wear. 

If you’re offering both a live stream of the event and an in-person option, you can filter attendees even further to customize ticketing. For example, for those who register exclusively for the live stream, you can automatically send them a link for how to join and watch on launch day. For those whose event type is in-person, you can explain their options for print-at-home ticketing or will call. 

Use case #9: Introduce students to relevant courses 

  • Custom object type: Courses
  • Attribute(s) associated with the custom object: enrollment status
  • Example industry: Edtech
Custom objects use case: introduce students to courses

Say you have an online education platform for people to learn different coding languages. You can create custom objects for all your courses and associate people with the ones they’ve completed so far. 

When you open registration for the next “Python 101” course, you can easily set up a marketing campaign to nurture anyone who hasn’t taken that class. By adding a filter to your campaign using the attribute enrollment status, you can ensure anyone whose status changes to enrolled stops receiving your marketing messages. Instead, they can move into a new campaign with course information, recommended pre-readings, and instructions for how to join online.

Use case #10: Better progress tracking for students

  • Custom object type: Courses
  • Attribute(s) associated with the custom object: assignment, submission state
  • Example industry: Edtech
Custom objects use case: progress tracking for students

With the same online education platform in mind, you can offer students helpful communications for continuing their course progress. 

Let’s say your “Python 101” course has three assignments that a student must complete along the way: Python Basics, Python Comprehensions, and Python Debugging. You can create an attribute for each and an attribute to track its submission state. From there, you can send targeted communications based on how far along a student is with their coursework.

For example, for students with the assignment Python Basics whose submission state is pending, you can send weekly reminders to turn it in before the deadline.

data tracking guide and templates

Get started with custom objects 

Custom objects allow you to pull in the full breadth of your business data and model it in so many different ways. If you’re wondering, “Can I use a custom object for X?”—the answer is nearly always going to be yes.  

Remember that you can use custom objects for campaigns in any messaging channel (including multi-channel campaigns). So, you can use a combination of email, SMS, push notifications, and in-app messages for any use case. This opens up even more possibilities for your engagement strategy!

Bonus? You don’t need a developer to start exploring how to use custom objects in Journeys; this documentation can get you going. Try adding a couple of custom objects and see what you can do with them today.

Not yet using Journeys? We’d love to show you what you could do with your data—book a demo today.