Introduced to public consciousness in 1960 in the Harvard Business Review, Theodore Levitt postulated that growth does not stall because of a saturated market but a failure of management. But why is marketing myopia important?
Levitt argued that there is no such thing as a growth industry, only businesses created and organised to capitalise on growth opportunities. Macroeconomic factors aside, growth is in your own hands and your management has a role to play.
Four conditions typically precipitate this cycle of marketing myopia:
Importance of marketing myopia
With the recovery and revival phase underway, this is a crucial time for management to understand marketing myopia. As new products and services are launched, growth areas rushed towards and investments made, how certain are you that this is what customers want and that the investment is worthwhile?
Marketing myopia is born of a lack of understanding into how a business is serving customers. It may be that management believes it is well-positioned in a ‘growth industry’ when in reality the tides are turning. Are the people and organisation aligned to the new growth opportunities?
One example of marketing myopia may be the push towards ‘experiences’ so commonly shared in large groups such as events, concerts and entertainment. Where an ‘escape’ room once looked like a growth opportunity to enjoy with friends, it may now be in decline.
How to avoid marketing myopia
Levitt argued that leaders should answer the question, “What business are we really in?”. This is complemented by reviewing what customer experience is offered to customers. Are we selling products and services that people want?
To answer that question, customer advocacy programmes help to increase marketing efficacy. Customer feedback in the form of traditional research supports informed decisions on product and service improvement. For very accurate insight, customer experience or ‘neuroexperience’ studies provide scientifically measured emotional response. This allows you to see how customers really feel about your ideas, concepts, products and services.
Hyperopia and marketing planning
For those channelling their resources into achieving competitive advantage through marketing, marketing planning is fundamental. Your marketing strategy is the marketing logic by which a business unit will achieve its marketing objectives. Philip Kotler, the father of modern marketing, also suggests that, “There is only one winning strategy. It is to carefully define the target market and direct a superior offering to that target market.”
A marketing plan documents the activities, spend and measures to support your marketing strategy. A well-crafted value proposition, targeted to clearly-defined personas with differentiation through the appropriate marketing mix takes time and planning.
Think Beyond has a range of marketing strategy services to support your long-range plans. Remember, a marketing expert on your board contributes an average of 8% to revenue by placing the customer at the heart of business strategy.
Marketing myopia summary
Some argue that the concept has become too short-sighted in some industries, almost responding too quickly to what an organisation believes is the new trend. Approaches such as agile marketing helps to rapidly iterate for changing customer needs with nothing staying the same for long. Combining these ‘sprints’ and ‘scrums’ for short-term gain has a greater chance of success when combined with strategic marketing planning.
Levitt’s concept has stood up remarkably well in the last 60 years as long as it is used as a guideline for self-evaluation. When combined with Porter’s Five Forces to review your competitive strategy, it can open up new opportunities and steer you clear of areas of decline or easily substituted alternatives.
Support your marketing vision
Think Beyond is a marketing consultancy and agency in Wilmslow, Cheshire. Run by a Chartered Marketer with 20 years’ experience in industry, we offer a range of marketing consulting services and marketing agency support. If you have challenges and pain points with your sales and marketing, why not see if we can support you and make things easier?
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