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Annual Reminder: Firmographics Aren’t Enough

By Hank Barnes | May 23, 2023 | 0 Comments

tech buying behaviorgo-to-marketBusiness Buyer Insights

As we continue to work our way through these complex economic times, I’m seeing an increased interest from clients to explore new market segments.  These requests all have a similar pattern:

  • “We want to sell more to large enterprises.  Can you tell me about large enterprise buying behavior?”
  • “We want to target digital native companies.  Can you tell me about digital native buying behavior?”
  • “We want to expand into Healthcare.  Can you tell me about healthcare buying behavior?”
  • “We want to expand to the United States.  Can you tell me about buying behavior there?”
Photo by Tatiana Fet:

I could probably go on.

While there are often some unique aspects to markets based on firmographics, a strategy that treats any of these as a “whole” is likely to be sub-optimal.

  • Not every large enterprise behaves the same
  • Not every digital native company behaves the same
  • Not every healthcare company behaves the same
  • Not every company in the US behaves the same

In fact, from a perspective of how they buy, the differences based on these categorizations are almost always smaller than the differences by other attributes, namely psychographics.    In our world, that is Enterprise Technology Adoption profiles.  That is where we see much great differentiation.  We use what we call fish or rocket charts like the one below to illustrate this.

The specific data is not important in this context, but what is important is how the spread by ETAs is much greater than any other “cut.”

A few weeks back, I shared some info about one element of these psychographics: the way a company views the importance of technology.  That too, shows much more variation in behavior.

The bottom line:  Go beyond firmographics.   Think about the attitudes and practices of your ideal customers within the segments.   Spend more time on your ideal customer profile.  Embrace ETAs or elements of them (like strategic view of technology).  Or use a different view.  Just do it.

Failing to do that and focusing on broader more generalized segments will make everything harder and decrease effectiveness.

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