Understanding the market segmentation process in a small engineering company

  • Lindsay Cheng

Student thesis: Masters ThesisMPhil


The research follows the development of a strategic marketing and segmentation process in a small engineering company. Existing business-to-business segmentation literature demonstrates the necessity to balance diverse customer needs with the capabilities and resources of competing organisations in the marketplace, but there are also known problems associated with it. The researcher was employed in Eatec for the duration of the two-year case study research. Action research was adopted to monitor the development of the strategic marketing planning and segmentation process. Whilst a structured approach to the strategic marketing and segmentation process was encouraged, the researcher demonstrated pitfalls in adopting a structured approach to the decision making process when evaluating and selecting market sectors. Integrating all elements of marketing activities into one process was recognised to be important for success. The directors had previously used the notion of intuition in isolation. The introduction of a strategic marketing and segmentation plan encouraged the directors to use information gained from internal and external environmental analysis, as well as marketing intelligence to substantiate their ‘gut-feel’. This led to the requirement for an appropriate evaluation and selection method which has to be intuitively appealing without it being too structured or restrictive. At the individual level of each company, it is the defined company objectives and business strategies that determine the appropriate segmentation approach, but common elements exist to all companies. The researcher believes that a structured process helps to pull different tasks from different business areas together in one process. It is the balance of these elements that makes a segmentation process unique to each company. The research concludes that segmentation activities should be integrated into a structured strategic marketing plan but the complex decision making process that happens during segmentation, in contrast should be less structured. By using multi-criteria decision making in a measured approach, the value of experience and intuition can be incorporated in conjunction with market intelligence when evaluating between equally favourable market sectors.
Date of Award1 Sept 2007
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorDavid Ford (Supervisor)


  • business-to-business segmentation
  • B2B segmentation

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