Segmentation in practice

An historical overview of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Authored by: Ronald A. Fullerton

The Routledge Companion to Marketing History

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415714181
eBook ISBN: 9781315882857
Adobe ISBN: 9781134688685


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Segmentation is the very essence of marketing – giving people what they want. A popular definition of segmentation is that it is ‘the act of dividing a market into distinct and meaningful groups of buyers who might merit separate products or marketing mixes’ (Kotler, 1980, 294). Why do these buyers merit separate product mixes? Because they have different preferences, they do not all want the same offering and they do not necessarily want what is currently on the market. The academic, theoretical, literature on segmentation dates to the twentieth century, first to the German Kliemann (1928) and then to the better known work by the American Wendell Smith (1956). These authors, especially Smith, were among the first to use the term ‘segmentation’.

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