What is Marketing Myopia ? What are its characteristics ?

Introduction to Marketing Myopia

Marketing Myopia is a term coined by Theodore Levitt in 1960 in an article published in Harvard Business Review. Theodore in the article suggest that the companies are too focused on producing goods or services and do not spend enough time understanding what customer want or need. Marketing Myopia is a short-sighted and inward looking approach to marketing. It essentially addresses the immediate needs of the business rather than the needs of consumers. In this, businesses have a limited vision and take a narrow-minded approach to marketing.

Characteristics of Marketing Myopia

Some of the basic characteristics of marketing myopia are;

  • More focus is on short-term vision rather than long-term vision
  • Businesses assumes that they are in growth industry
  • The primary goal is to sell the product rather than build customer-oriented service
  • Considers there are no competitors in the market
  • Fails to consider the changing consumer lifestyle in the digital age
  • Predicts growth without proper analysis and research
  • Focus is on the past, ignoring the future

Avoiding Marketing Myopia

The easiest way to overcome the affect of marketing myopia is by focusing on what market and customers really want. There are some of the exercises which can help in avoiding marketing myopia.

  • Have a clear vision: This suggests, businesses should have a clear vision regarding what customer and market want and how they are going to deliver.
  • Focusing more on customer: Businesses need to adapt the consumer (customer) oriented approach to deliver what is expected rather than what they have.
  • Market research and Marketing First: Before, businesses mass produced the product and then plan to sell. Rather than this, businesses should focus on determining what people want before time , then produce that.
  • Don’t Stop the Marketing: Businesses, in marketing myopia, assumes they are always in growth stage and stop their marketing effort. To avoid this, businesses should always continue to market their product with proper marketing mix to understand what people like or dislike and how their preferences have changed.
  • Attend your competition: There are plenty of example of product or company failure just because they didn’t anticipated their competition well. Therefore, for this, businesses should always watch their competitions and how they are approaching the market.
  • Diversification: Too much focus on customer and market may lead to “New Marketing Myopia”. Hence, businesses should always focus on meeting more need by offering differentiated product or services.

Real-life cases of Marketing Myopia

The Kodak Case

Kodak was unable to anticipate the changing market dynamics and failed. Kodak failure is the classic example of Marketing Myopia. The company still holds an iconic brand image for their dominance in market for photography, cameras and films. Despite such terrific brand image, Kodak failed to follow the changing market flux.

Kodak invented digital camera in 1975 and instead of marketing this new technology, the company kept engaging in its lucrative film business. Kodak decided to get in the digital camera game a bit late. Despite Kodak’s own technology, Sony and Canon took over the digital camera technology by storm.

Nokia Failure

Nokia was once a market leader in mobile-phone segment. Its failure is now a case study to understand Marketing Myopia. The company was so self-occupied that the company forgot to consider future needs of customers. Nokia remained myopic about its position in the market and thought it to be in the growth stage of the business cycle.

Nokia considered mobile phones will be limited to messages, calls and any time-passing games. Meanwhile, the competitors like Samsung and Apple were working on revolutionary technologies like GPS, internet and Media into cell phones. It was too late for Nokia to realize the power of Android and IOS platforms.

Yahoo’s Mistake and Google‘s Mastery

Yahoo’s Bing and Google Search provides similar services to its users . Back in 2000, Yahoo was worth $125 billion and in 2016 Verizon acquired Yahoo for $ 4.83 billion. Whereas in 2020, Google had a net worth of $632 billion.

Google had a clear vision since its commencement i.e. to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Yahoo lacked the proper statement and vision for Bing. Google anticipated the future and worked for its brand position with clear strategies and marketing plans. Yahoo, throughout its career struggled for its brand position. Yahoo’s such vision-less approach reflects Marketing Myopia.

There are plenty of examples around which reflects the myopic approaches of the companies. Only those companies who are able to avoid such myopic vision can actually move forward. Nokia has understood its myopic vision and it is trying different approaches to hit back the cell-phone market. There are many other examples which reflects marketing myopia. For instance, Uber hit Taxi company and Lyft hit Uber business in U.S., Netflix shattered the business model of Blockbuster.


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