Myopia: Business Killer

Alan Dankwerth, Consultant

Alan Dankwerth, Consultant

In 1960 Theodore Levitt wrote "Marketing Myopia", a timeless marketing guide. He defined the concept as "a short-sighted and inward looking approach wherein companies focus on themselves rather than the ever changing marketplace and the needs and wants of the customer."

Levitt advanced the idea that companies could enjoy significantly more growth if they regularly redefine themselves and the "business they are in." He cites the narrow definition employed by the railroad in describing their business. As a result, it was blind to all other forms of transportation, many of which cannibalized their market.

Kodak is another recognizable example of myopia, having defined film as their business. Even though their R & D had invented the digital camera, they decided to "sit" on it to protect "their business". As a result, Cannon and Sony proceeded to aggressively market this new technology. We all know how the story ends (click here to read more about Kodak).  Myopia: Business Killer


Levitt's definition of "Marketing Myopia" applies to companies who concentrate on selling their products and services rather than ascertaining, and acting upon, the needs and wants of the customers.

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Such companies struggle annually to achieve growth because of their constricted thinking and focus. During planning, the question they ask themselves is "How can I get my current customers to buy more of the products /services I currently offer?"

Those who take a much broader view of their business thus enjoying sustained annual growth, are companies who are willing to modify their products/services in accordance with market needs. They pursue opportunities for growth by seeking out new customers as well as satisfying the ever changing customer needs. 

They ask a series of questions which focus on the marketplace and customers: 

  • What are our (customers) needs and desires?
  • Have they changed and if so, how?
  • What is causing the changes?
  • Will the benefits that our products/services currently provide satisfy both their present and future needs/desires? If not, what will be required?
  • Who is currently, or might be, in a position to meet their needs?
  • If there is a gap between where I am now and where I need to be, how do I fill it?

If your company struggles each year just to achieve incremental sales increases, you too may be suffering from marketing myopia.  The Strategy1 team has successfully guided companies in identifying and adapting to changing markets. Move beyond myopia - call Strategy1 today.

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