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Marketing Myopia by Theodore Levitt. Group No.8: Alex Elwood Nikolas Foster Blake Overall Shaelee Pittenger Lorelei Wilson. What is Myopia. Nearsightedness--not inherited. It can be prevented.

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marketing myopia by theodore levitt

Marketing Myopiaby Theodore Levitt

Group No.8:

Alex Elwood

Nikolas Foster

Blake Overall

Shaelee Pittenger

Lorelei Wilson

what is myopia
What is Myopia
  • Nearsightedness--not inherited. It can be prevented.
  • Short sighted and inward looking approach to marketing that focuses on the needs of the firm instead of defining the firm and its products in terms of the customers' needs and wants.
  • Read more:
theodore levitt
Theodore Levitt

Started a newspaper with Erma Bombeck in elementary school

Served in World War II

After the war, Ted was a reporter and sportswriter for the Dayton Journal Herald

Received his masters in economics from Ohio State

Worked briefly as a consultant in the oil industry

Began teaching at Harvard in 1959

Wrote Marketing Myopia in 1960, most reprints of any Harvard Business Review article, 900,000

levitt cont
Levitt cont.
  • Wrote 25 articles for the Harvard Business Review
  • Authored 8 books on Marketing
  • 1983 wrote “Globalization of Markets” – coined the word globalization
  • In 1985 became the editor of the Harvard Business Review, expanded it’s readership beyond an academic journal into a mass market management magazine
  • Won many awards
  • “What business are you really in?” – Marketing Myopia
  • Approach was not to get approval in research, but to have “important people in important companies” (his phrase) to take his ideas and go with them

“There is no such thing as a growth industry, what we have is growth opportunities.”

-Theodore Levitt

guarantee a self deceiving cycle
Guarantee a Self-Deceiving Cycle
  • Believe growth is guaranteed by an expanding population
  • Believe there is no competitive substitutes
  • Have too much faith in mass production
  • Preoccupation with a product: focus on product instead of customer
assured growth by expansion
Assured Growth by Expansion
  • Belief that increases in population and affluence ensure growth
  • Lack of innovation – A common characteristic
    • Companies focus on efficiency, not innovation
  • Petroleum industry
    • A prime example of this fallacy
    • Reinforces Levitt’s caution of myopically defining one’s industry
no threat of obsolescence
No Threat of Obsolescence
  • The fallacy of believing competitive substitutes don’t exist
  • Petroleum industry
    • A history of obsolete products due to competitive substitutes
      • Kerosene Lamp
      • Kerosene Space Heater
mass production
Mass Production
  • Lower product’s unit costs as output increases
  • Focus on production, neglect marketing
  • Selling is not marketing
  • Focus on company’s needs, not customer’s needs
henry ford
Henry Ford

Brilliant Marketer

Senseless Marketer

  • Created a product customer’s needed
  • Created a product customer’s could afford
  • Created production system to fit market needs
  • Refused to make cars in any other color but black
preoccupation with product
Preoccupation with Product
  • Industry declines instead of growing
  • Example – Oil Companies
  • Survival entails change
creative destruction
Creative Destruction
  • When something new eliminates something old
  • Must become innovative – reinvent business
  • Must change business strategy to survive
marketing myopia today
Marketing Myopia Today
  • Airline Industry
    • - Southwest Airlines vs. American Airlines
    • - Customer satisfaction low in this industry
    • - Airlines vs. Cable T.V : Tie
    • - IRS ranked higher than airlines in customer satisfaction
marketing myopia today1
Marketing Myopia Today
  • Technology Industry
    • More focused on the customer today than in 1960
    • Apple
    • E-commerce and E-Business ranked high in customer satisfaction report

the pros
The Pros
  • Provided for new thought process
  • Customer Centric
  • The concept stands the test of time
  • Marketing is not selling
the cons
The Cons
  • Can a company realistically restructure
  • Can go outside the scope of bounded rationality (lose reality)
  • Static not dynamic
    • Does not factor for globalization
    • Ecommerce
  • “Organizations must learn to think of itself not as producing goods or services but as buying customers, as doing the things that will make people want to do business with it.”

Theodore Levitt

  • Levitt, T. (1960). Marketing myopia. Harvard Business Review, 38(4), 45-56.
  • Lavelle Louise (2006). Theodore Levitt Dead at 81. Business Week. Retrieved September 10, 2010 from
  • McDermott, Anne (2010). Customer Satisfaction-Airlines Worse than IRS, Better than Facebook. Retrieved September 8, 2010 from
  • Dictionary, (2010). Creative destruction.
  • Wikipedia, (2010). Creative destruction.