Marketing Myopia – What business are you in?

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Marketing Myopia is a short-sighted and inward looking approach to marketing that focuses on the needs of the company instead of defining the company and its products in terms of the customers’ needs and wants. It results in the failure to see and adjust to the rapid changes in their markets.

The concept of marketing myopia was discussed in an article by Harvard Business School emeritus professor of marketing, Theodore C. Levitt, who suggests that companies get trapped in this situation because they omit to ask the vital question, “What business are we in?”

Marketing myopia strikes in when the short term goals are given more importance than the long term goals. Some examples being –

  • More focus on selling rather than building relationships with the customers
  • Predicting growth without conducting proper research.
  • Mass production without knowing the demand.
  • Giving importance to just one aspect of the marketing attributes without focusing on what customer actually wants
  • Not changing with the dynamic consumer environment

Businesses should have a vision rather than a goal. They should be able to see themselves at a point ahead of what they are now. This vision should be set assessing their own capabilities, their competitors’, as well as the trends. Or else, a business can get trapped in a self-deceiving cycle.

Conditions that lead to the self-deceiving cycle

  • A belief that growth of the business is guaranteed by growth in population.
  • The belief that there is no competitive substitute for the company’s product
  • Supply creates its own demand, hence mass production.
  • Overestimation of product’s qualities without conducting scientific research.

Examples of Marketing Myopia

  • Kodak lost much of its share to Sony cameras when digital cameras boomed and Kodak didn’t plan for it.
  • Nokia losing its marketing share to android and IOS.
  • Hollywood didn’t even tap the television market as it was focused just on movies.
  • Yahoo (worth $100 billion dollars in 2000) lost to Google and was bought by Verizon at approx. $5 billion (2016).

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