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Market segmentation in managerial practice: a qualitative examination

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Abstract:

This paper offers an examination of the ways in which managers implement market segmentation. Market segmentation practices are examined in the context of the UK apparel retail sector. A qualitative research framework, which draws on Weick's (1995a) sensemaking approach, is adopted. Managerial insights are evidenced through a key-informant interviewing method within 10 case-organisations. The results indicate a number of plausible, managerial reasons for not pursuing sophisticated segmentation solutions. An underlying issue is a widely held belief in the adequacy and manageability of gross-level, descriptive segmentation approaches. Market segmentation was also seen as a managerial concept from which to inform decision-making but not for determining it or supplanting it. Segmentation thus represents an important sensemaking tool, often for communicative purposes. According to evidence revealed in this inquiry, contemporary applications and uses of market segmentation no longer provide synergy with the methodological and conceptual foundations of the concept.

Keywords: CONSUMER LIFESTYLE; FASHION RETAILING; FRAGMENTATION; MARKET SEGMENTATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/026725709X429746

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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