Marketing myopia refers to an insular approach to marketing where the focus is mainly on short term goals or when marketing systems focus on one aspect of marketing while ignoring others (Mercer 189). For an organization to achieve long term success, it is must focus on marketing the customer needs rather than selling its products. This connotes ignoring sales. The sales function is different from marketing because marketing involves the whole process of customer satisfaction as opposed to selling which centers on ways to get people to buy products or services without regard for their value to the customer (190). Levitt suggested that management has played a key role in the growth decline of industries that were once booming (45). For example the business decline in the railroad companies was primarily due to poor marketing strategies and not because of the new entrants in competing sectors such as the buses.
Managers were narrow-minded as they did not focus on the entire transport industry. Nylon and Glass companies were able to sustain their position in the market even as competitors entered the industry because they focused on the customers needs. Levitt asserts that it had nothing to do with research and development or their technical knowledge (45).
Other companies that have maintained their growth profile through customer satisfaction are: Aluminum industry, supermarkets, grocery industry etc. (Levitt 46). Levitt referred to a casual survey carried out targeting business executives on their view concerning growth in industries (49). The result showed that fifty percent of them indicated that companies that maintained the growth patterns capitalized on growth opportunities while those that take a ride on growth escalators eventually ended up in stagnation. Levitt argued that every declining industry that once soared at the top is assumed to be operating under these conditions: the belief that growth is guaranteed by targeting more affluent clientele and that there are no substitutes for the major products offered by the companies. Relying on mass production and the advantages of rapidly reducing costs as output rises and low manufacturing and operational costs were also disadvantageous to an organization (49).
According to Levitt, one of the main contributors to industry decline is mass production (52). Companies that focus on cutting costs by massive production often ignore the customers’ needs. Companies should understand that marketing efforts are a necessity for the product to sell since the profits are not solely on low costs of production but also on the volume of sales (47). After manufacturing, effective marketing should be considered and this includes how, when, and in what form and condition the product or service is availed to the customer. Marketing research should therefore be geared towards consumer’s wants not on product attributes that are deemed profitable for the firm. Although the paper by Levitt has merit, other facets of strategy should not be ignored. The type of strategy adopted by an organization grossly depends on the market environment that it is in.
Continuing with a specific marketing approach may actually be beneficial to a business up to a certain point. Developing products or services that fit the customers’ requirements is not profitable for an organization if they are not sold (Mercer 401). The role of the sales function in an organization should not be down played. The success of a firm requires a substantial amount of market intelligence; therefore Levitt should have discussed the issue of marketing myopia in light of this.
Levitt, Theodore. “Marketing Myopia.” Harvard Business Review, Jul/Aug 1960: 45-56. Print.
Mercer, David. Marketing. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 1996. Print.