Despite the well‐documented benefits which segmentation offers, businesses continue to encounter implementation difficulties. This raises concerns about the cause of these problems and how they might be overcome. These concerns are addressed in this paper in the form of three questions: Is segmentation a good idea? If segmentation is such a good idea, why does it sometimes fail? What can be done to reduce the chance of failure? A mix of published evidence and case examples is used to explore these questions. The paper concludes by suggesting that if marketers are to overcome their segmentation implementation difficulties, they need practical guidance at three stages in the segmentation process. Before the project begins they must understand the role of success factors contributing to a successful result. During the segmentation project the qualities of the emerging segments must be clarified. After segmentation is complete the question of segment attractiveness must be considered. There is currently a gulf between the priorities of academics and practitioners carrying out segmentation. If this is to be bridged, further research is needed to provide guidance on segmentation success factors.
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