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Major Segmentation Variables for Business Markets
Dave Carlson - February 20, 2013

The world is a huge market. A company cannot effectively serve the entire world with its products or services -- it is not possible to be all things to all people. To compete more effectively, many companies are now targeting specific markets. Instead of scattering their marketing efforts everywhere, companies are focusing on market segments where they have the greatest change of satisfying the most customers. The following are major segmentation variables for business markets. Marketers can use these segments to plan and execute their marketing plans.


1.  Industry: Which industries should we serve?
2.  Company size: What size companies should we serve?
3.  Location: What geographic areas should we serve?

Operating Variables

4.  Technology: What customer technologies should we focus on?
5.  User or nonuser status: Should we serve heavy users, medium users, light users, or nonusers?
6.  Customer capabilities: Should we serve customers needing many or few services?

Purchasing Approaches

7.  Purchasing-function organizations: Should we serve companies with highly centralized or decentralized purchasing organization?
8.  Power structure: Should we serve companies that are engineering dominated, financially dominated, and so on?
9.  Nature of existing relationship: Should we serve companies with which we have strong relationship or simply go after the most desirable companies?
10.  General purchasing policies: Should we serve companies that prefer leasing? Service contract? Systems purchases? Sealed bidding?
11.  Purchasing criteria: Should we serve companies that are seeking quality? Service? Price?

Situational Factors

12.  Urgency: Should we serve companies that need quick and sudden delivery or service?
13.  Specific application: Should we focus on certain application of our product rather than all applications?
14.  Size of order: Should we focus on large or small orders?

Marketing Approaches

15.  Buyer-seller similarity: Should we serve companies whose people and values are similar to ours?
16.  Attitude toward risk: Should we serve risk-taking or risk-avoiding customers?
17.  Loyalty: Should we serve companies that show high loyalty to their suppliers?

(Kotler & Keller, 2009, p. 227)


Kotler, P. and Keller, K. L. (2009). Marketing management (13th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.


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