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What Is Marketing Myopia?


Marketing myopia is a phrase used to categorize a narcissistic and unwise view of marketing that emphasizes the company’s demands, instead of conforming the company’s brand and products to meeting the wants and needs of the consumer. Businesses suffering from marketing myopia do not attempt to perceive and adapt to the changes taking place within their markets. As a result, they lose their privileged status, begin to fail, and eventually vanish from the scene.

Harvard Business Review

In his classic article, written for the Harvard Business Review, Professor Theodore Levitt indicated that every major industry begins as a “growth industry”. He states that whenever one of these industries feels threatened, fails to maintain momentum, or stops altogether, this is a sign that management has not been doing its job. He further states that such misfortune cannot be conveniently blamed on market saturation.

Opportunities for Expansion

Levitt also maintains that industrial growth, as it is usually perceived, really does not exist. Instead, he maintains that successful industries are well organized and function in a way that enables them to make use of the opportunities for expansion that present themselves. He further states that doing this is also the key to preventing stagnation.

He also maintains that industries should avoid the following pitfalls in order to prevent marketing myopia, which keeps it from getting the attention it deserves:

  • Relying on an ever-expanding and increasingly affluent population to purchase the industry’s products and services
  • Believing that the industry’s major product cannot be equaled by a competitor
  • Over-reliance on mass production and the possibility of selling a particular product at a low price
  • Becoming overly preoccupied with research and development (R&D), upgrading the product, and lowering production costs

With the advent of the Internet and an increasingly global economy, authorities warn against allowing your company to become a “global debating society”. At times, managers share their new ideas with their international colleagues without asking themselves how this will add to their company’s profits. Today, a manager’s search for knowledge, which should have a definite purpose, should also be controlled-and focused on finding solutions. At times, an ongoing problem can result in a positive outcome, and the demands of a new client can impel a company to communicate with others in a way that is both new and beneficial to the bottom line.



marketing myopia

Harvard Business Review
Marketing Myopia
September-October 1975

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