Inbound, the annual digital marketing conference organised by HubSpot, went virtual for the first time in September 2020.
What would usually take place in Boston’s Convention Center was held online, offering an immersive, interactive digital experience for all attendees. Despite being forced to adopt the ‘new normal’, HubSpot delivered on their promise of bringing innovations and additions to their products. Pioneering the future of post-pandemic businesses, HubSpot made their mark on what functionality is to come for business growth in 2020 and beyond.
HubSpot’s focus was on easy-to-use, powerful features that manifolds improve the platform’s capabilities. The features introduced during Inbound 2020 will allow businesses to further align their sales and marketing efforts, and create a seamless buying experience for end customers.
While HubSpot added a gamut of features, all of them pretty handy, it’s the CRM Custom Objects feature that was the most anticipated and much awaited by HubSpot users.
In this article, we’ll talk about how the various use cases of Custom Objects, and how they can act as a nifty tool for all the marketers out there!
What is a Custom Object?
You might already know what are Standard Objects in the HubSpot CRM. If you don’t, they’re the default objects like contacts, companies, deals, and tickets. When you create records for these objects (i.e., a contact record would include details of a person, such as a customer or a potential), you build the data in your CRM. All of this data can then be interlinked and associated to one another and used for different campaigns.
So far, so good, but what if you require an object that’s not a standard HubSpot object to build a data schema for your business’s unique processes? What if you’re a gym, suppose, and you require a “membership” object in your CRM to map those relationships?
Enter: Custom Objects
Initially, you’ll need development help to create Custom Objects via the HubSpot API. Once that’s done, you can start creating relevant records, associating them to other Standard Objects, and use it in your sales and marketing efforts!
These Custom Objects used to be a USP of Salesforce — one of the long-standing competitors of HubSpot — and had been longed for by HubSpot users for years. By introducing this functionality, HubSpot eliminates historical limitations and transcends the software to compete with players in the enterprise CRM market. Custom Objects offer supreme flexibility in terms of data and records storage and creation by allowing. Straight from HubSpot’s website –
“The CRM record for a custom object is practically indistinguishable from your existing CRM records. When using a custom object in workflows, the automation capabilities are nearly identical to those you’ve been using already. Building reports for custom objects works exactly the same way as it has for all other objects. With custom objects, we hope you’ll come to notice that everything just works, exactly as you’d expect it to.“
As mentioned, if your business needs an object other than the standard ones, you can define it. While doing so, be sure to include its properties and customize the associations between your Custom Object and your Standard Object.
From the previous example, the gym’s “membership” object might consist of properties like a city, state, and is likely associated with a contact object.
As a gold-tiered Hubspot implementation partner, we feel that another benefit of Custom Objects is that you can use them to connect contacts, or other objects, to multiple companies. Standard Objects come with a 1:1 mapping, wherein you can’t associate contacts with more than one company — this doesn’t work for larger organizations. Workarounds can be created, but they are not as defined as Custom Objects.
Custom Objects allow for more robust integrations
Earlier, you could use HubSpot’s APIs for Standard Objects, like “Contacts” or “Deals”, to store data about an account or a contact. For marketing initiatives, you would store a data point representing the last webinar a contact attended, and look for updates to that before planning your next marketing campaign.
However, Custom Objects allow you to extend this functionality indefinitely. Instead of storing the last webinar, you could store data on every webinar they’ve interacted with. So, i.e., you’d be able to store details as granular as whether a contact has registered for a webinar, attended a webinar, or interacted in any other way.
This will undoubtedly enhance your reporting for specific contacts. You’ll be able to narrow down your audience, and target more specific people, leading to better conversions. You get more functionalities, too, as you can use Custom Objects to trigger automations like workflows.
To illustrate, imagine you’re planning campaigns for Uber using HubSpot and Custom Objects.
You could create an object called “Booked”, related to your contacts, and insert an object every time a user requests a ride. You could also use Lists to segment the contacts based on the number of rides they’ve taken, average cost of the rides, or even the cities or ZIP codes they tend to book the rides from with Uber using HubSpot and Custom Objects.
You could create a “Ride” object related to contacts and insert a “Ride” object every time a user requests a ride with an Uber driver.
You could then use Lists in HubSpot to segment your contacts by how many rides they’ve taken in the last month, the average cost of those rides, the kind of reviews they leave, or even which cities or zip codes they tend to request their rides to or from. Custom objects allow for powerful, customized segmentation capabilities, which always translates to smoother and improved marketing campaigns!
You can extend the capabilities even further using the powers of automation. For example, you could:
- Send customers an automated email whenever they cancel a ride (booked object status=cancelled)
- Send customers a promotion code whenever they take 5+ rides in a month
- Ask for referrals when customers leave a review of 4-star or more
It’s up to you how you use Custom Objects and automation, but there are almost limitless possibilities for engaging your customers and driving more business.
Custom Objects for improving customer satisfaction
If you send out requests for feedback using HubSpot, you can use a form to capture that data. Then, using workflows, you can generate an object every time feedback comes in from a customer and copy the contact properties into the “Feedback” object automatically.
This way, you could report on all the feedback as they change over time. You could even track the customers that have been giving improved feedback and that have not. With that information up your arsenal, you’ll know exactly what to fix, and precisely how to market your next offering to your audience.
Custom Objects allow for seamless data modeling
One of the best examples to understand data modeling capabilities with Custom Objects comes from the real estate industry.
Let’s say you’re a real estate company, helping customers (“Contacts”) find homes. You can create Custom Objects to represent “Houses” and use it for storing information like address, number of rooms, zip code, nearby, etc. You could schedule viewings against houses using another Custom Object called “Viewings”, related to specific contacts, and then view the schedule of all the upcoming viewings for a specific property or buyer.
This data can be customized even further. If you want, you can add an object for each room of the house, such as “Living Room”, “Kitchen”. Within those objects, you can show the area of the room, the number of windows it has, and any other relevant information you want.
Further, you can leverage these objects with Lists to check contacts that have viewed a home with 3+ bedrooms recently, or send automated emails with “Showing” details every time a “Showing” record is created.
Towards a more innovation-rich future!
Innovations like these have kept the MarTech industry striving and thriving, and it has forced marketers like us to stay on our toes, and be ready to learn. The result of that is clear, in the form of the ways in which these tools are being used. Regardless of your business, the possibilities of using MarTech tools, and especially HubSpot are endless. You decide the granularity you want to attain, the tool will help you with the rest!
What is your favorite addition to HubSpot this year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!