Let me lay a decent foundation first before explaining what custom objects are. Business data collection, storage, management, usage are all complex tasks. That’s why you need solutions to easily collect, store, manage and use that data. You have two types of SaaS products that deal with databases; Relational database solutions and multi-dimensional or multi-relational databases. Both these types are ways to store and use the information for your several business processes.
What are Relational Database solutions?
A relational database is a type of database that is organized in the rows and columns format. These databases can store two dimensions of the data table. Each row and column has a primary key and a unique name, respectively. Relational databases are commonly used for inventory, general ledger, payroll, order entry, accounts payable, and other business-specific functions.
What is a Multi-relational Database?
The multi-relational or multi-dimensional database is optimized for Online Analytical Processing (OLAP). In some businesses, a relational database is used to create a multi-relational database. HubSpot takes the one-dimensional database and converts that into the multi-relational or multi-dimensional database.
Your one-dimensional database contains fields such as the contact name, email, address, or phone number of the contacts. It only has X and the Y-axis. For some marketers, these details are enough to shoot the email campaign. But they don’t know what they are missing.
You can still shoot the email campaign using that data as you do in MailChimp or HubSpot’s Free CRM. But what’s that you are missing? You basically miss who is who in the contact list. In the list of 1000 contacts, there could be 500 CEOs and 340 sales representatives, and the rest may be members of the management; you don’t know exactly. There could be 500 contacts from 125 plus companies, and you don’t know the role of each. You don’t have enough data to segment your list and shoot a custom email campaign to better target those contacts.
Now, to that existing data when you add objects, now objects are the fields you add to the data set to know more about each contact in the list. When you add the company name, who the contact is (customer, future customer, partner, sales representative, CEO, etc.), location, deals, shipment details, stage of sales cycle communication done, and the channels through which communication is done that contact and other things then that is your multi-relational database. HubSpot offers options to add all these objects and more to add to your contact properties, so you have a better idea who you are talking to, when is the best time to talk to them, and what to talk to them about.
What are Custom Objects in HubSpot CRM, and what are their benefits?
As you know from the previous paragraphs, objects in HubSpot CRM are the data fields. HubSpot has set those objects in its CRM so marketers can know more about their prospects.
Every business has its unique process. No matter how unique they are, they had to adjust their process details according to the CRM database, no matter which CRM they use. And that was a bit tricky. HubSpot introduced custom objects in CRM so the businesses can add their own custom objects in the properties meeting their business process needs. This allowed the users to tweak their HubSpot CRM according to their business process. Businesses have the freedom to store any type of information they want in their HubSpot CRM account. Custom objects became a game-changer for marketers.
Recently, HubSpot launched custom objects in HubSpot CMS, which are basically the same CRM objects in CMS Hub. Users can share the objects between websites, emails, and business processes. And, after sharing, you can control logic based on your CRM objects using HubL functions.
How is HubDB different from Custom Objects in CMS Hub?
HubDB is your plug-n-play database. Your team members don’t have to worry about managing your database because HubDB does that for them. And, not only that, HubDB allows the users to do a lot of other things such as create dynamic pages, display information on a webpage, email, among others. So, the data sharing that you do through custom objects in CRM to CMS, HubDB does that with ease and at less cost. So, why need custom objects, right? Well, HubDB has the cons that put a limit on it at some point.
Here's what M Aamir Aslam, Team Lead at Computan, has to say about HubSpot Custom Objects and HubDB's differences.
Custom objects have more options and variations than HubDB. Custom objects can also be used in your CRM and CMS, as mentioned above, while HubDB is CMS-based only.
HubDB - You can only have 10,000 rows per table, and HubSpot limits you to 1,000 tables per account for HubDB.
Custom Objects - HubSpot doesn’t limit the instances per object type, so you have a lot more freedom using custom objects.
HubDB - If you need to link your data to the CRM, it won’t work with HubDB because it’s only compatible with the CMS.
Custom Objects - While HubDB is tied to your CMS, custom objects are great for anything in your CRM. Custom objects allow you to display information in your CRM, on a webpage, and via email (currently in beta).
HubDB - You can create a public API to access the database, but that means unauthenticated APIs can access your data. Be careful with what you share.
Custom Objects - Create custom objects in HubSpot for a more personal approach. That means creating properties and associating them with HubSpot’s existing objects. You’ll also need to use an API to create a custom object.
The biggest downside to custom objects is that you need a HubSpot Enterprise subscription to use them. If your business is on a limited budget, it can be difficult to upgrade just for this feature.
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