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B2B market segmentation: A systematic review and research agenda


  • Mora Cortez, Roberto
  • Højbjerg Clarke, Ann
  • Freytag, Per Vagn


Segmenting industrial markets is a key challenge for the marketing field. More than 30 years of research has not produced comprehensive guidelines for developing robust B2B market segments; only a few studies have empirically tested the impact of segmentation and the literature today appears to be more fragmented than earlier. The present study integrates prior endeavors via a systematic literature review, scrutinizing 88 papers in detail. It develops a three-layer framework comprised of: (1) conceptualization of B2B market segmentation, (2) segmentation as a process, and (3) context. The authors use the framework to evaluate scholarly efforts during the 1986–2019 period and propose a broader view on segmentation as a continuous process. Marketers can benefit from the study by adopting four activities for segmenting markets: (1) pre-segmentation, (2) segmentation, (3) implementation, and (4) evaluation. Finally, the authors identify several gaps and offer a rigorous, practice-oriented research agenda, providing direction for academicians.

Suggested Citation

  • Mora Cortez, Roberto & Højbjerg Clarke, Ann & Freytag, Per Vagn, 2021. "B2B market segmentation: A systematic review and research agenda," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 415-428.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:126:y:2021:i:c:p:415-428
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.12.070

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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Vriens & Nathan Bosch & Chad Vidden & Jason Talwar, 2022. "Prediction and profitability in market segmentation typing tools," Journal of Marketing Analytics, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 10(4), pages 360-389, December.
    2. Park, Jin Yong & Kim, Changju, 2023. "The role of organizational justice and social interaction in mitigating the negative effects of high-performance member retailers on strategic integration," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    3. Anand, Amitabh & Doll, Jessica L. & Centobelli, Piera & Singh, Sanjay Kumar & Cerchione, Roberto, 2023. "Struck by a cupid’s arrow: The conjuring bliss and sinister shades of employee workplace romance," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 154(C).
    4. Kayas, Oliver G., 2023. "Workplace surveillance: A systematic review, integrative framework, and research agenda," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 168(C).
    5. Mora Cortez, Roberto & Johnston, Wesley J. & Ghosh Dastidar, Ayan, 2023. "Managing the content of LinkedIn posts: Influence on B2B customer engagement and sales?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 155(PA).


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