University of Twente Student Theses


Customer segmentation in B2B markets: the relationship between customer segmentation and market orientation

Vieth, Michel (2018) Customer segmentation in B2B markets: the relationship between customer segmentation and market orientation.

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Abstract:Research Topic/ Gap in literature – Market Segmentation has been an important part of marketing literature for the past decades. Segmenting customers enables a selling company to achieve a competitive advantage by effectively tailoring the marketing strategies to specific needs of different customer segments. Similar to this, market orientation serves to generate market intelligence, spreading information throughout an organization and to enable employees to act accordingly, also creating superior customer value. Surprisingly the two domains of customer segmentation and market orientation have never been brought into relationship. This research is a multiple case study, aiming to connect both topics and to add customer segmentation as an antecedent to market orientation. Methodology – A mixed methods approach was used for data collection. Five semi-structured expert interviews have been conducted with segmentation experts, to assess the segmentation approach of five different companies. The level of market orientation was assessed using a questionnaire containing the market orientation scale. Results have been analyzed using comparative method analysis. Results – From the three different categories of customer segmentation evaluated in this research, only the combined application of macro segmentation and micro segmentation led to market orientation. Furthermore, the overall complexity of a segmentation approach, in the form of number of variables used for segmentation has a positive influence on a firm’s overall market orientation. The presence of an elaborated customer classification system shows no effect on a firm’s market orientation. Implications – This research adds to both marketing and purchasing literature. Customer segmentation is introduced as an antecedent to market orientation, and an effect of customer classification on market orientation has been ruled out. This research can inspire managers to use a market segmentation approach to increase their firm’s market orientation and thereby, in the end, increase profitability. It furthermore serves to shift business professionals’ view on segmentation from an after-the-fact measure towards a proactive business tool.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:International Business Administration BSc (50952)
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