Marketing Myopia - Critique

Topics: Harvard Business Review, Marketing, Theodore Levitt Pages: 3 (1037 words) Published: January 29, 2012
“Marketing Myopia”
Marketing Myopia is an article written in 1960 by Theodore Levitt. Levitt was a marketing professor at Harvard who has published many articles on the subject. This article; however, is no doubt his claim to fame as it has been extremely well read over the years. This is due in large part to the consumer oriented approach to marketing that he argues for. Though common knowledge to the marketers of today, making the customer the first priority in business would have been easily overlooked during this era of production, selling, and basic marketing approaches to business.

This article contends that the businesses of the day are extremely short-sighted when it comes to the true focus and associated advantages of marketing. He illustrates that a firm’s inability to elaborate on their given industry will result in lack of readiness towards competition and other threats when they arise. This is achieved by taking a step back and embracing a meta-industry that encompasses the firms current industry vision. Failure to broaden the scope of said firm may result is a lack of innovation. Further, if a company is not aware of this loftier industry vision it is more likely that the innovation will come from external sources and not within the unexpanded industry itself. Levitt utilizes many examples: The railroads’ inability to place themselves in the “transportation” industry; the movie industry not identifying with the “entertainment business”; and period relevant examples in the petroleum, automobile, and electronics industries. He talks at length about missed opportunities due to this narrow view of industry. He delineates the success of businesses whose focus on customer value lead to identification of needs not necessarily in their traditional realm.

On the whole, Levitt’s argument is very insightful for its time. The ideas that he has put forth carry on today and some, such as delivering customer value, are spoken about in the same...
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