Ghosts In Your Machine

Ghosts In Your B2B Machine by Charlie Tarzian

I have been absolutely deluged by companies telling me I should put their pixel on my clients’ sites so we can tell who is coming to the site. It’s as if all these guys (you know who you are) discovered reverse IP lookup at the same time (maybe the same industry show?) and now have a bright, new, shiny object to launch their ambitions for world domination.

Having been in the IP targeting, IP aggregation, IP reporting world these last 3 – 4 years I am amused at how easy these guys make it seem.

‘Yes, that is exactly right. Just add water and stir and you will be creating deliciously magnificent lead gen – right before your eyes! No muss, no fuss.’

Folks, I have news for you – if it were that easy – none of us would have jobs.

Let me try and lay this out for you:

  • There is a reverse IP lookup capability available for licensing from a number of vendors – and it is real time
  • These vendors (actually my 13 year old geek at home) can use the published API and pass IP addresses and have returned the provenance of that IP address – who manages it and what is the master domain
  • There are currently between 3 – 4 billion IP addresses that are out there in the world – so there is obviously a great opportunity to utilize lookup services
  • So we are all good here as far as value, right?

Not really.

Here is the harsh reality:

  • 70 – 80% of your traffic is masked because it is ISP traffic. This means that the individual coming to a site has broadband access through one of the many (I think there are close to 3,000 in the US) ISP’s.
  • Depending on what your product/service offering is you will also have up to 50% of your traffic coming from overseas – which could be a good or a bad thing depending on your sales strategy
  • Identifying the IP address is just the first of a few steps you need to take in order to benefit from this exercise. An IP address can and will be shared by many people in a corporate infrastructure
  • The singular fact that someone from some company came to the website and poked around tells a fractional story about the buying team inside of that company and how decisions are made
  • Rolling up this data into intelligence you can execute against is a commitment to a Predictive Automation architecture where data drives many channels

So before you jump at this once in a lifetime opportunity of reverse IP lookup, ask the following questions:

To the vendor

  • What is the % of IP addresses you resolve for your client base?
  • Of the % that you don’t on the real time first pass, how many can you resolve if it was not a real time need?
  • If you claim to resolve ISP addresses – explain your methodology – how to you get from a dynamic ISP address to a specific company in a specific location?

To your internal marketing ops team

  • Can we knit this data together with our marketing automation, Google Analytics/Omniture/etc…, social listening, campaign, web logs, and so forth to give us a more rounded view of how we should prioritize and score this data?
  • Have we or will we be integrating these data channels into an executable architecture so that it doesn’t take weeks to move what is real time data into some form of communications stream?
  • Do we have enough prospects in our own customer database to push our content into these companies (rather than wait for someone to download) and if we do not – can we find reputable 3 party data sources that can help fill in the holes?

Once you have your answers to these questions, you can begin to plot out a Predictive Automation strategy that allows you to deploy the right messaging in near real time to the right companies in the right locations to the right individuals.

Not only can this be done – it is being done. Companies like Prelytix ( have integrated all of the above into an easy to understand, highly actionable dashboard with API’s into a variety of MarTech platforms.

And with the recent announcement that Adobe and Publicis are all in on Always On – you will begin to see more and more players jump into Predictive Automation.

In the meantime, get ahead of the curve and start plotting out what you need to be successful when the snake oil IP resolution dudes come aknockin’.


About the author:

Charlie Tarzian is a big data and digital marketing thought leader who has held various C-level positions in the agency, direct marketing, information technology and database services industries. 

Published by

Rick Vargas

Rick Vargas is a strategic and innovative marketing professional, who has a successful track record of leading teams and projects through periods of change and transformation. Rick is a metrics oriented marketer and a thought leader that brings ideas to reality. Rick's background and domain areas of expertise are in web, social, mobile, digital, direct, and database marketing. He's worked with different types of organizations, across all sectors, from small start-ups, to large multi-national corporations. "What motivates me most is the role I play and the impact I have on the success of those around me. I love what I do from social to direct." - Rick Vargas

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