Myopia marketing

Marketing Myopia is a term used in marketing as well as the title of a marketing paper written by Theodore Levitt . [1] This paper was first published in 1960 in the Harvard Business Review , a journal of which he was an editor. Marketing Myopia suggests that businesses will do better in the end if they concentrate on meeting customers’ needs rather than on selling products .

Fundamental idea

The Myopic Cultures, Levitt postulated, would pave the way for a business to fail, due to the short-sighted mindset and the illusion that a firm is so-called ‘growth industry’. This belief leads to a complacency and a loss of sight of what customers want.

To continue growing, companies must ascertain and act on their customers’ needs and desires, not bank on the presumptive longevity of their products. In every case the reason growth is threatened, slowed or stopped is not because the market is saturated. It is because there has been a failure of management.

Some commentators have suggested that its publication marks the beginning of the modern marketing movement. [2] Its theme is that the vision of most organizations is too constricted by a narrow understanding of what business they are in. It exhorted CEOs to re-examine their corporate vision and redefine their markets in terms of wider perspectives. It was successful in its impact because it was, as with all of Levitt’s work, essentially practical and pragmatic. Organizations found that they had been missed in the past. The paper was influential. The oil companies (which represents one of their main examples in the paper) redefined their business as energy rather than just petroleum. By contrast, when the Royal Dutch Shell embarked on an investment program in nuclear power , it failed to demonstrate a more circumspect look for their industry.

One reason that shortsightedness is so common that they can not predict the future. While this is a legitimate concern, it is also possible to use the range of business prediction techniques available today.

There is no such thing as a growth industry. There are only companies organized and operated on capitalize on growth opportunities. There are 4 conditions of the self-deceiving cycle:

  1. The belief that growth is assured by an expanding and more affluent population.
  2. The belief that there is no competitive substitute for the industry’s major product.
  3. Too much faith in mass production and in the advantages of rapidly declining unit costs.
  4. Preoccupation with a product that is well controlled by the scientific research, improvement, and manufacturing cost reduction. [3]

Practical exercise

There is a greater scope of opportunities as the industry changes. It trains managers to look beyond their current business activities and think “outside the box” . George Steiner (1979) is one of many in a long line of admirers who quotes Levitt’s famous example on transportation. If a buggy whip manufacturer in 1910 defined its business as the “transportation starter business,” they may have been able to make the creative leap necessary to move into the automobile business. [4]

People who focus on marketing strategy , various predictive techniques, and the customer’s lifetime value can rise above certain myopia. This can be used for long-term profit objectives (sometimes at the risk of sacrificing short term objectives).

New marketing myopia

The “new marketing myopia” occurs when marketers fail to see the broader societal context of business decision making, sometimes with disastrous results for their organization and society. It is one of the most important issues in the world (1), one (2) an overly narrow definition of the customer and one of its customers, and (3) a failure to recognize the societal context of business that necessitates addressing multiple stakeholders. Customers in the “new marketing myopia” remain a central consideration, as in the traditional “marketing myopia”. However, academics that develop the “new marketing myopia” phenomenon state that it is essential to recognize that other stakeholders also require careful marketing. For business-to-consumer companies, these other stakeholders (eg[5]

Similar terms

Kotler and Singh (1981) coined the term marketing hyperopia , by which they mean a better vision of distant issues than of ones. [6] Baughman (1974) uses the term marketing macropia meaning an overly broad view of your industry. [7]


  1. Jump up^ Levitt, T. (1960). “Marketing Myopia”. Harvard Business Review .
  2. Jump up^ Campbell, David; Edgar, David; Stonehouse, George (2011-04-01). Business Strategy: An Introduction . Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN  9780230344396 .
  3. Jump up^ Levitt, Theodore (1975). “Marketing myopia”. Harvard Business Review . 53 (5): 26-183.
  4. Jump up^ Steiner, G. (1979). Strategic Planning: What Every Manager Must Know . New York: The Free Press. ISBN  0-02-931110-1 .
  5. Jump up^ Smith, N. Craig; Drumwright, Minette E .; Gentile, Mary C. (2010). “The New Marketing Myopia”. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing . 29 (1): 4-11.
  6. Jump up^ Kotler, Philip; Singh, Ravi (1981). “Marketing Warfare in the 1980s”. Journal of Business Strategy . 1 (3): 30-41. ISSN  0275-6668 .
  7. Jump up^ Baughman, J. (1974). “Problems and performance of the role of the chief executive”. Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University.