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.
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We sincerely thank the special issue editors and reviewers for their valuable comments. We also greatefully acknowledge the academics and practitioners providing feedback on the meaningfulness of the proposed B2B segmentation model.
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