Firmographic – Definition & Template
While I try to avoid industry jargon when I present, I confused some people last week by using the term firmographics. Turns out it only had 7,000 hits on Google and has been used in just 31 books. So a definition is in order.
firm'o-graph-ic - adjective - Pertaining to characteristics of an organization, such as employee size, revenue size, industry, number of locations and location of headquarters.
firm'o-graph-ics - noun - The characteristics of an organization, especially when used to segment markets in market research.
The earliest citation I could find was from 1992, from the paper Best Practices in Disk-by-Mail Surveys: "It is recommended that respondents without access to PCs be asked to respond to primary demographic and firmographic questions, as well as attitudinal questions about the subject being measured to analyze the potential for bias in the non-respondent sample."
Some other good uses of the term:
- "The models estimate the probability of purchase at the product-brand level. They use training examples drawn from historical transactions and extract explanatory features from transactional data joined with company firmographic data (e.g., revenue and number of employees)." - Analytics-driven solutions for customer targeting and sales-force allocation
- "Like any company that sells to consumers, these business-to-business sellers seek to target their offerings to segments of customers (companies in this case) that meet certain firmographic requirements like industry (e.g. ‘Financial Services') and company size (e.g. ‘annual revenue between $50M and $500M')." - Customer Targeting Models Using Actively-Selected Web Content
When analyzing survey results, it is often helpful to be able to segment those results by different firmographic data. The following are some standard questions that can be used for profiling organizations. The size breakout for organizations matches that used by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Q. Location Size
Including yourself, how many employees work at this location?
- Don't know
Q. Organization Size
How many employees work at this organization across all locations?
- Don't know
How many locations does this organization have?
- Don't know
What country is your organization headquartered in?
What state is your organization headquartered in?
What is the principal industry of your organization?
11 Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
21 Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction
42 Wholesale Trade
44 Retail Trade
48 Transportation and Warehousing
52 Finance and Insurance
53 Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
54 Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
55 Management of Companies and Enterprises
56 Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services
61 Educational Services
62 Health Care and Social Assistance
71 Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
72 Accommodation and Food Services
81 Other Services (except Public Administration)
92 Public Administration
The above Industry question uses top-level sectors from the 2007 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Most organizations tailor the list of choices to their specific business. If you are integrating your survey data with your CRM system (as you should be!), you should adapt your CRM system's data definition to use for your standard firmographic questions.
Update: At Esteban Kolsky's suggestion, I added a Firmographics entry to Wikipedia. Please feel free to contribute to that article to improve it. Thanks!