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The Potential Threat of Marketing Myopia Explained With Examples

Marketing Myopia Explained with Examples
Marketing myopia is a narrow-minded approach to a marketing situation, wherein an organization focuses more on its product offerings rather than its customers and market's demand. MarketingWit provides you with more information about marketing myopia along with its examples and how to avoid it.
Ashmeet Bagga
Last Updated: Dec 09, 2017
Did You Know?
The term 'Marketing Myopia' was coined by American Economist Theodore Levitt in the year 1960.
As quoted in Oxford dictionary, marketing myopia is - "A failure to define an organization's purpose in terms of its function from the consumers' point of view. For example, railway companies that define their markets in terms of trains, rather than transportation, fail to recognize the challenge of competition from cars, airlines, and buses. It is therefore necessary to define the needs of the consumer in more general terms rather than product-specific terms."

The basic motive of every company to get into business is to generate revenue and profit by selling their products to consumers. Although most of the companies claim to be consumer-centric, very few of them actually deliver goods demanded by the market and the consumers. Companies want consumers who will stay loyal to their products no matter what. But what is the organization doing to cater to the consumer needs? Is it producing commodities that are demanded by the market? Is it taking any effort to maintain healthy relationship with their consumers?

Just like in medicine, myopia refers to short-sightedness, marketing myopia refers to practices that are nearsighted rather than far-reaching. Marketing myopia means a company implements strategies that will surely give them short-term profit, but which fails to overlook the long-term profit. This type of marketing focuses on what the company wants, rather than paying attention to and delivering what the market wants. This in turns builds a culture which is difficult to change and results in irrecoverable losses, and along the process the company reputation is tarnished. Theodore Levitt wrote and submitted a paper with the same title in a journal Harvard Business Review for which he was an editor.
Symptoms of Marketing Myopia
Couple shopping in supermarket
► Companies start thinking that their growth won't be curtailed due to the ever-growing population. They think that the increasing number of consumers would lead to more profits, thus failing to think of efficient ways to sustain growth.

► Lack of competition is another cause of marketing myopia. If organizations hold monopoly in a certain area and they think they are irreplaceable, they are doomed.
Example 1: Railroad companies only thought about trains and not about transportation as a business, in general.

Example 2: Hollywood was busy producing films, which is only a small part of the entertainment sector.
► Producing one commodity in large quantities to save on unit costs, while also enjoying the benefit of increasing output. Here the concentration is more on increasing the efficiency of making a product, and not on improving the product or its quality.

► Emphasizing more on selling than marketing. Selling is when a producer wants to sell his product to get cash in return. Marketing is satisfying the needs of their customers via product and other things related to it such as creation, delivery, etc.
How to Avoid Marketing Myopia
Customers in line at checkout
► It's important to always stay in touch with your customers, not literally but by keeping an eye on their shopping habits. Check if they do extensive research before purchasing a particular product. If you notice any change in their consuming pattern, try to implement that in your business. They are not just your buyers, but these folks define your entire market.
Woman buys digital tablet at store
► Don't ever stop exploring and introducing new products or product lines. Just like humans continuously evolve, companies should never cease to evolve and should never stop exploring options. Just because a strategy worked in the past does not mean it will be successful in the present or future.
► Self-cannibalism should be followed, an organization should never back down from competing with itself to gain more market share. An example to followed is that of an automobile company which started producing electric vehicles. By doing so, they are conquering a new market.

► Invest more in research and development to manufacture new products according to the customer's liking. Give an answer to their demand. You can utilize various tests in a small group to find out if it is a potential product or not.

► To avoid marketing myopia, organizations should diversify their products. Successful business empires proved that diversification is really important for a business to grow and survive in the market.
Example 1: Pepsi cola was always falling behind Coca Cola, until it decided to expand their business. They started manufacturing chips and soft drinks, this helped them to gain consumers from a different market. Currently, they rank 2nd in carbonated drinks.

Example 2: Nike Inc. also diversified its business and now are one of the leaders in the apparel and sports gear business.
► Understand well how broad your business is and what scope it has. Executing wrong business strategies will only lead to losses. Define your business and your customer's need.
Every now and then, the growth of a company is threatened not because of the saturation of the market, but due to mismanagement. Marketing myopia can alter the company's practices to a large extent if managers stick to producing what the company can, rather than what the individuals are willing to purchase.

One of the main causes of this problem is when organizations puts in effort to develop marketing strategies for the wrong target group. Consumers in the market have different perceptions about the advertisements, since they come from different cultures, age, group, and sex. For some, the promotional technique may be offensive and hence the company will lose out on that particular group. The failure of an organization lies at the top management, the executives are the ones who deal with the policies and rules.
Companies such as Sears, Xerox, IBM, Kodak, and Dell were affected by marketing myopia. Now that you have some basic tools to guard yourself from the thorns of marketing myopia, apply this avoidance tactic in your business. Don't let marketing myopia disrupt your success and accept changes for the betterment of your organization.