B2B market segmentation: A systematic review and research agenda

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Research
Pages (from-to)415-428
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • B2B marketing
  • Marketing strategy
  • Segmentation
  • Systematic review
  • Targeting


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