Marketing Myopia Summary

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Marketing Myopia
In his article Marketing Myopia, Theodore Levitt insists that failure in industries is “at the top” where executives deal with broad goals and policies. He defines marketing myopia using something he calls the “self-deceiving cycle.” This cycle consists of four conditions which cause companies to stop growing: the belief that growth is secure, overconfidence on their own products, too much focus on mass production, and preoccupation with manufacturing efficiency. The first condition in the cycle is the belief that growth is secured by an increasing and more prosperous population. A market expansion keeps companies from thinking imaginatively. Levitt names the petroleum business as a disturbing example to show that if your product has an automatically expanding market, then you will not engage into a creative thinking on how to expand it. As Levitts quotes “the petroleum business is a distressing example of how complacency and wrongheadedness can stubbornly convert opportunity into near disaster.” A second condition is the belief that there is no competitive substitute for the industry’s major product. To sustain this idea, the author mentions major industries in which growth has been affected or is in danger of being affected because of companies believing their products were “unchallenging superior”. Grocery stores, dry cleaning, and electric utilities are among the industries Levitt mentions, have come under a shadow for being wrongly positioned. However, Levitt’s richest example is why the railroads have stopped growing. It wasn’t because of the need for passengers but “because the need was not filled by the railroads themselves.” Another condition is too much reliance in mass production and in the benefits of lowering unit costs as output increases. All Industries’ efforts are directed to production and selling while marketing, a more complex process gets ignored. To make his point, the author explains the difference between marketing...
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