Deutscher Maschinenbau-Gipfel 2023:  The importance of firmographics

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Deutscher Maschinenbau-Gipfel 2023: The importance of firmographics

delphai’s founder and CEO Dr. Robin Tech was part of a panel discussion at VDMA’s Deutscher Maschinenbau-Gipfel 2023 two weeks ago.

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Together with Hartmut Rauen (Deputy General Manager of VDMA), Prof. Dietmar Harhoff (Director of the Max Planck Institute), and Bernd Hilgarth (Managing Director of Sales, Chiron Group) Dr. Robin Tech (Founder and CEO, delphai) discussed market intelligence and the importance of firmographics.

In the world of big data, it is hard to overstate how crucial high-quality business intelligence is for all branches of a company. M&A, marketing and sales are among the top departments that can benefit from firmographic-based intelligence. The VDMA is therefore making a strong case for the topic of market intelligence and firmographic data. For example, AI can enable companies to track changes and developments in their market and analyze myriad sources of information.

Hartmut Rauen, Deputy General Manager of VDMA states that 92% of machine manufacturers see the challenge of market intelligence as a strategic field of action for their company. 47% already have some kind of market intelligence in use at their company. Of the latter, almost all report that it tends to enable them to make better strategic decisions.

Discussing market intelligence (from left): Hartmut Rauen (VDMA Deputy General Manager), Prof. Dietmar Harhoff (Director of the Max Planck Institute), Dr. Robin P.G. Tech (CEO delphai) and Bernd Hilgarth (Managing Director Sales, Chiron Group). (Image: Anna McMaster)
Discussing market intelligence (from left): Hartmut Rauen (VDMA Deputy General Manager), Prof. Dietmar Harhoff (Director of the Max Planck Institute), Dr. Robin P.G. Tech (CEO delphai) and Bernd Hilgarth (Managing Director Sales, Chiron Group). (Image: Anna McMaster)

“The ability to bring together information from companies and research departments in an dynamic dashboard is one of the great innovations of recent years. It enables us to see, for example, what competitors are up to or how skilled personnel for AI is doing in the labor market,” explains Prof. Dietmar Harhoff, Executive Director at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition.

Up to now, Harhoff says, companies have tended to struggle with the task of data analysis. There are ever-increasing amounts of data, contained in technical analysis, videos, texts and social media information. At the same time, machine learning has come a long way. Companies that use an automated dashboard for market intelligence and firmographics will have an advantage in the marketplace of the future, Harhoff believes. He advises looking for solutions from startups or the VDMA.

SMEs’ time for firmographics is now

“We try to get as much information as possible from the market, for example about new product developments or market entries,” reports Bernd Hilgarth, Sales Director of the Chiron Group. Hilgarth is a trained mechanical engineer and knows the machine tool industry very well. Above all, the increasingly dynamic way in which companies operate today makes monitoring essential.  “You have to be much closer to the markets nowadays,” Hilgarth concludes. 

Companies should also constantly monitor what competitors are doing in the markets. “Manually, you can’t synchronize the many sources of information.” Software for structured information clearly helps here. While market research used to be far too time-consuming for SMEs, the situation has changed now thanks to new tools. Opportunities may lie in improved acquisition processes, sales lead generation, purchasing decisions, targeted marketing campaigns or product development. 

Analyze data in job portals and social media

“Data is the foundation of market intelligence and can’t be implemented without first collecting data points,” explains delphai’s founder and CEO Dr. Robin Tech. Tech also predicts exponential data growth for firmographics on competitors and potential customers. “More public company data is available than ever before. That’s because any types of business started to massively expand the type and quantity of data that they share about themselves online” the founder said.

Importance of firmographics: Maschinenbau-Gipfel 2022
Image: Maschinenbau-Gipfel 2022

Job postings on portals , for example, can also be important data points. If a competitor is looking for an Azure cloud architect, you know they probably want to go into cloud computing. If an E-commerce architect is being hired, it’s probably planning on building a web store. When putting together their job ad, companies also sometimes add details about their current revenues. To tap into such distributed and unstructured data points, delphai relies on AI in the form of natural language processing (NLP).

“We see, in engineering, that the average number of customers is much larger than with just the highly specialized OEM or Tier One suppliers. If you include Tier Two, we’re then looking at over 100,000 customers all of a sudden,” says Tech. That’s where the use of software pays off, by automatically enriching CRM data, because with so many customers, it’s not possible to do that manually. 

To handle the volume of publicly available data, delphai has developed AI-based natural language processing systems that automate what hundreds of thousands of analysts do manually every day. delphai is all about scalable infrastructure to collect and structure very diverse firmographics. Then delphai provides this fully structured data to sales, M&A and data teams. 

delphai goes even further by fusing structured public data and private customer data for automatic enrichment. For example, a customer can upload a list of companies and delphai enriches the respective description text and revenue data within minutes. 

delphai is on its way to becoming the integration-first firmographic hub for the business world. If you are interested in securing the best market intelligence for your company, request a demo here.