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The New Horizons of Predictive Marketing: What We Can Learn from the Journey to Pluto

For the past week I haven’t been able to scroll through Twitter or Facebook without seeing a picture or two of Pluto, and the news is inundated with more stories from the New Horizons voyage. This exciting time in space exploration is history in the making and the story has been in development for a long time.

For the past nine years New Horizons has been on its journey to reach a five-month-long flyby of Pluto and its moons. According to NASA, “the New Horizons mission will help us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of the dwarf planet Pluto and by venturing deeper into the distant, mysterious Kuiper Belt.”

And the nine-year journey has led to an amazing before and after. Before, we only saw Pluto in the form of a very pixelated graphic (left side of the above image). Now, we have an incredibly clear picture and are able to see that Pluto is home to 11,000-foot ice mountains (right side of the above image).

I feel a kinship with New Horizons, because we started Lattice around the same time that the program was launched.Much like their journey, ours has had its moments of euphoria and terror.

Our goal has always been helping marketing and sales professionals have a better understanding about their customers and prospects, so they could sell and market more intelligently. During this time, we’ve seen a proliferation of available data about our customers and prospects coming from marketing automation, CRM, social media and across the Web. As with New Horizons, this 100X increase in resolution has made it possible for marketers to better understand the prospects at the edge of their universes.

Before Lattice, marketers had a rough pixelated view of what their target customers looked like. They had access to data and tools that created a gross segmentation of their audience, but nothing more. Here’s an example of a segment that would typically look like:

Industry = FinanceCity = Los AngelesTitle = VP Demand Gen 

Now, with the help of predictive marketing, marketers have an incredibly rich view of what makes for the best customer or prospect. Predictive enables micro-segmentation by using more precise filters on a mix of fit, behavior and intent data, resulting in more targeted campaigns. Now, marketers can identify prospective buyers earlier, get more insight into buyer personas and provide greater accuracy of who’s likely to buy, what and when. Here’s an example of a micro-segment created with predictive marketing:

Industry = FinanceCity = Los AngelesTitle = VP Demand GenHas hired a new CMO in the past 3 monthsCompany has opened an office in Europe in the last 3 monthsHas been hiring for content management rolesHas been increasing paid ad-spend steadily over the past 3 monthsUses content management systemsHas downloaded an ebook related to account-based marketingHas searched for ABM best practices+ 100s of other variables

Since our beginning, Lattice has focused on bringing predictive marketing and sales applications into the mainstream. We’ve helped more than 150 companies go from a pixelated to a refined view of their target buyers, consistently improving conversion rates and $/deals simultaneously. Improving resolution by 100X has required the development of new technologies in acquiring, matching, cleansing and analyzing data. And just like the New Horizons team, we are thrilled to have started our exploration of this poorly understood space.


Written by

Shashi Upadhyay
July 21, 2015