Firmographic Data 101: Everything You Need To Know

In today’s modern business landscape, you can use information as both a tool and a weapon. There’s a category of information that can give you an advantage over competitors. It’s called firmographic data, and it’s information that quantifies and qualifies the various organizations operating in your space. The definition is in the name: it’s essentially information about firms. More accurately, it’s information that lets you know who’s who in a business landscape. This article will discuss the fundamentals of firmographic data and where you can find it. Feel free to use the table of contents to skip around to find specific information.


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What Is Firmographic Data?

What Is Firmographic Data?

The best way to explain is through firmographic data examples. The usual suspects are listed below:

Industry type

One of the clearest indicators an entity plays in your space is its industry and vertical of operation. Industries are the broadly defined, high-level categories, such as financial, manufacturing, professional services, or sales. Drill down a bit deeper, and you find verticals — these are more clearly defined, need-specific groupings within industries. Examples of verticals within the manufacturing industry include raw materials, machining, and end products. Of course, companies may serve an industry end-to-end, in which case they operate in multiple verticals. Companies may also be involved in more than one industry. A company in the raw materials vertical of manufacturing, for example, may also be in the logistics industry.

Customer type

What type of customers does the organization serve: business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), or business-to-government (B2G)? Again, it’s possible for some overlap where a company services businesses and entertains the occasional government contract. There are also cases where they dabble in all three. So keep that in mind because if you focus strictly on B2B firmographic data, you might miss gathering information on companies that deal with other customer types.

Company or organization size

This mostly refers to the number of full-time employees. However, company size may also include the physical space occupied, and this is often a useful indicator of company size in terms of how much money a company is willing to invest in infrastructure. For example, thousands of square feet of office space for just one department clearly indicates spending power.

Geographic location(s)

Where is the organization’s HQ, and where are satellite offices located? If you find where a company decides to put boots on the ground, you can get an idea of what they prioritize. Some companies, for example, need a physical presence in the markets where they operate. Others can build satellite offices in more affordable territories, but the HQ is planted where they want their brand to be strongly associated.

Total revenue and sales

It’s best to gain as much of this information as possible, divided into quarterly and annual periods, if available. You can dig into quarterly finances to get an idea of a company’s immediate needs and priorities. On the other hand, total annual revenues give you a bird’s-eye view of long-term performance and strategy. Publicly traded companies are required to share this information freely.

Legal status (type of organization and ownership structure)

Are you dealing with a public organization with readily available records? Is it a nonprofit? Who are the owners and investors in the company? These data points point to different market approaches.

Growth metrics and trends

You can tell whether or not a company is growing by checking news and company updates. Do you notice them downsizing or closing offices? Maybe hiring key C-Suite leaders and acquiring smaller companies? You can guess their general status even if there are no big movements. These actions and updates indicate whether a company is in a downturn, a state of growth, or a steady holding pattern.

Demographic data

Firmographic data is for firms; demographic data is for people. Some examples of demographic data include:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Profession
  • Income
  • Family status

The demographic data of people within an organization is valuable to companies and their marketers — it’s part of important buyer personas.

Why Is Business Firmographic Data Important?

Why Is Business Firmographic Data Important?

There are a few key benefits you reap when you collect firmographic data. You can read some examples of how businesses might leverage these advantages to make good use of the information below:

You can personalize, improve account-based marketing, and enhance customer service

Personalization is not just for people, as the name might suggest. Business buyers appreciate being treated as individual consumers. If that was not enough reason to apply personalization to account-based marketing and customer service for B2B buyers, remember that personalization and customization shorten the time it takes for your leads to turn into closed sales.

Firmographic data lets you segment your lists more effectively and personalize your marketing efforts across owned and bought media and channels. With firmographic data, you can deliver great customer experiences even before leads convert into actual customers, which sets the bar high when it comes to brand reputation management. There are also more practical reasons why firmographic data, such as company locations, is important to consider. A manufacturing company, for example, that operates only within a specific locale would probably prioritize partners that service the same area. You can leverage this data point if you fall within that category or simply segment them out of your campaigns as they are not a good fit.

You can build more effective sales funnels

Firmographic data can help with account-based marketing and enhance customer service because it has information on your leads and customers. It can also help you build your sales funnels more effectively. A quick example is determining if the target companies are B2B or B2C. B2B entails a longer sales funnel where you nurture leads over a prolonged period, not to mention making sure you’re talking to the right person (often, there are multiple decision-makers and stakeholders in a B2B sale). If you have accurate firmographic data, you can quickly and efficiently fashion data-based sales funnels for leads.

You can evaluate long-term buying potential

There are several ways firmographic data can help you evaluate whether marketing to certain segments can bring you customers with long-term buying potential. One way is by taking a look at growth trends and patterns. If you market to companies experiencing rapid growth, that means you can potentially get on the ground floor and scale your product and service offering as they grow. On the other hand, marketing to companies in a downturn with useful products or services that are useful for their situation can boost short-term sales and establish a good relationship with them as their needs evolve over time. You can even reap loyal customers when they experience an upswing!

You can streamline marketing

With sufficient and accurate firmographic data, you can efficiently target only relevant segments of your audience. This means you can stay lean and prioritize opportunities. The right data can show you the right opportunities and how to take advantage of them. For marketing teams and their constant search for positive returns on investment (ROI), this is a significant boon, end-to-end, from lead generation to conversion.

How Businesses Collect Firmographic Data

How Businesses Collect Firmographic Data

There are various means of collecting firmographic data. You can do it yourself or hire data service providers who act as researchers on your behalf. How data is collected can also segment the types of firmographic data into the first-party, second-party, and third-party categories.

  • First-party data: This is information you collect yourself. It’s intelligence owned by you, and no one else controls it. You can get first-party data from sales calls, touchpoints with leads, and various analytics tools. Information from analytics tools is also called zero-party data because the source didn’t explicitly take action to provide the information. First-party data — and by extension, zero-party data — is highly valuable and often accurate from the start (it usually comes from the companies themselves or their behaviors), but the volume of data collected is relatively small.
  • Second-party data: This is information owned or collected by other companies who then sell or share it with you under contract. This information could be miscellaneous data points that a company collects concerning their operations and can share with partners. To them, that’s their first-party data and usually a source of revenue. They either commoditize information they collect as an additional product or perform research as a service.
  • Third-party data: There are also various online sources of freely available information — from self-reported data due to regulations (public companies) to those shared on social media platforms. An example of self-reported information is financial results for publicly registered companies. Other common ones are company information like number of employees, headquarters location, and date established, which can be found on business websites and social media profiles. The best way to uniformly collect this information across a wide range of possible sources is through efficient web scraping tools.

The challenge for third-party data collection is choosing which method to acquire and validate the information. Research service providers who offer second-party data can validate the information themselves, but they tend to be expensive. They aren’t a good choice if you simply don’t have the budget to contract an agency to do the research. There are various sources of third-party data readily available online but difficult to access via simple Boolean searches, including:

  • Company websites
  • Available portions of subscription-based research websites
  • Public databases
  • Customer data platforms (CDPs)
  • Government and agency websites and portals
  • White paper articles and reports
  • Company filings (e.g., tax declarations, registers of organizations, etc.)

You can use web scraping to unlock these invaluable sources of third-party data on your own. Web scraping is a broad practice; you can scrape practically anything if you define it properly and accurately. This is why it’s used for many purposes, including gaining third-party firmographic data.

Scraping Robot makes using the firmographic data your scraper collects easy by providing structured JSON output of a parsed website’s metadata. The data is parsed for you, along with usage and stats results, to help you learn everything you can about your target audience’s behavior. Then, you can feed that information directly into your website or database. You won’t need to worry about IP blocks, CAPTCHAs, or managing proxies. Scraping Robot handles these details on your behalf. In addition, they have a reliable support system and 24/7 customer assistance!

DIY firmographic data collection through web scraping

Scraping the web is essentially sending bots to scour website source codes for the appropriate data you want to extract, according to the parameters and specifications you define. This lets you quickly collect massive amounts of information via parts of the web that typical search engines might not. Of course, to effectively scrape the web, you’ll need to budget for a lot of time and effort.

Search engines and websites have defensive measures to keep out malicious bots. To effectively do some web scraping without triggering these defenses, you’ll need some technical help, primarily in the form of proxies. Proxies let you shuffle through IP addresses when using web scraping bots. Search engines and websites typically track IP address activity to ensure no single device is using malicious bots to perform cybersecurity attacks. Unfortunately, these defenses will also flag you or your scraping bots just doing their menial firmographic data collection tasks. This is why you’re going to need effective proxies.

Ethical Proxy Use for Web Scraping Firmographic Data

Ethical Proxy Use for Web Scraping Firmographic Data

Here at Rayobyte, we offer the most common types of proxies to scrape the web for firmographic data: residential, Internet Service Provider (ISP), and data center proxies.

Residential proxies are usually your best bet for effective web scraping, as they allow the use of IP addresses assigned to real people from their ISPs. This means they’re valid and constantly changing, letting your web scrapers do their work without triggering search engines or websites. As a bonus, Rayobyte ensures its ethically-sourced residential proxies go through minimal downtime.

A step removed from residential proxies are data center proxies, which route traffic via data centers to enjoy faster speeds in exchange for a higher risk of getting banned. They’re more affordable and, when used properly, can also be effective in web scraping.

ISP proxies are essentially a mix of the two, powerful and speedy. These proxies are associated with ISPs but housed in data centers, giving them both the speed of data centers and the authority of residential ISPs.


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Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Firmographic data is a collection of various data points that allow you to categorize businesses and accurately describe how they operate. If you can find the right data, you can better understand a business’s performance and use this information to your advantage. Keen on collecting invaluable firmographic information on your own? Contact Rayobyte today to make your data collection easier, and explore the proxy options available.

The information contained within this article, including information posted by official staff, guest-submitted material, message board postings, or other third-party material is presented solely for the purposes of education and furtherance of the knowledge of the reader. All trademarks used in this publication are hereby acknowledged as the property of their respective owners.

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