Marketing Myopia

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Topics: Marketing, Firm
CRITIQUE OF “MARKETING MYOPIA”
Critique of “Marketing Myopia”Written in 1960, the paper “Marketing Myopia” was written by Theodore Levitt, a professor of marketingat Harvard Business School. It has been republished a number of times since then. The publication thatthis critique is based on is from the Best of HBR series, in the July-August edition of the Harvard BusinessReview (pages 138-149).In Levitt’s article, he explores and details issues he saw with big business’ short-sightedness (i.e.“myopia”) and failure to adopt a broader consideration of external factors in their corporate strategies,including the neglect to evaluate the needs and wants of the consumer. This inattention has resulted and isresulting in the collapse of long-established firms. Levitt uses examples from many industries includingthe railroad, petroleum, automobile, movie, and electronics markets, along with other references to grocerychains, dry cleaners, and buggy whip manufacturers to develop his case that firms have placed too muchimportance on their product and selling it, as opposed to adapting a broader, more flexible classification of their purpose and offerings. Levitt presented four main conditions which could lead to this failure:“- 1. The belief that growth is assured by an expanding and more affluent population;-2. The belief that there is no competitive substitute for the industry’s major product;-3. Too much faith in mass production and in the advantages of rapidly declining unit costs asoutput rises;-4. Preoccupation with a product that lends itself to carefully controlled scientific{activities}.” (Levitt, p. 140)Levitt argued that firms’ strategies should evolve with the consumer, paying more attention to actuallylistening to and marketing to consumers instead of blindly selling to them, and exercise the foresight to seewhat new innovative services or products may be lurking on the horizon that could be taken advantage of to benefit both the individual firm and the market as

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