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Market segmentation via attitudinal functions: a multi-method approach

Obinna O. Obilo (Department of Marketing and Hospitality, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, USA)
Bruce L. Alford (Department of Marketing and Analysis, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana, USA)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 8 January 2018




This study aims to develop a method of segmenting markets by using the functional approach to attitudes. The adopted approach identifies and groups individuals based on what functions their held attitudes serve for them. Specific marketing mixes can, thus, be designed for each functional profile.


The multi-method approach adopted consists of a qualitative assessment of consumers’ attitudinal functions in the physical fitness context and the development of an instrument to identify the distribution of attitudinal function segments in the same context.


A valid and reliable instrument that can be used to segment a market based on functional profiles is developed.

Practical implications

The outlined method provides a method for practitioners to identify existing functional segments, thus creating marketing mixes based on these functional segments and, ultimately, maximizing the value created for each segment.


The value in this research lies in the integration of old concepts (functional approach and scale development) to solving a new problem. The functional approach reaches deep to determine “why attitudes are held” vs simply “what attitudes are held”. Operationalization difficulties led to the abandonment of the approach. This research, thus, contributes theoretically by actually operationalizing the functional approach via a scale development, and using the operationalized form as a new means for segmenting markets.



Obilo, O.O. and Alford, B.L. (2018), "Market segmentation via attitudinal functions: a multi-method approach", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 63-81.



Emerald Publishing Limited

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