Marketing myopia refers to companies that primarily focus on short-term goals and strategies, often neglecting to address their customers’ needs and demands. It was first expressed in 1960 by German-American economist Theodore Levitt in Harvard Business Review. This short-sighted and inward-looking approach to marketing focuses on fulfilling the company’s immediate needs instead of focusing on marketing from the consumers’ point of view to improve their products and services. Keep reading to discover the causes of marketing myopia, the most popular companies that suffered from it, and how you can avoid it.

What Causes Marketing Myopia?

Close up on hands typing on laptop keyboard overlaid with graphic faces and stars

There are many causes why marketers adopt narrow-minded strategies and become marketing myopic. Each reason may vary from one business to another; however, the following are the common causes of marketing myopia:

Companies Think That the Industry Is in the Growing Phase

It takes time to build a company’s reputation and establish the brand. But once some brands become successful, they may no longer dedicate their resources to nurturing customer relationships and experiences. This often results in less consumer feedback, leading the brand to have less insight into the consumer’s buying behavior, wants, and needs. As a result, instead of building a relationship with their consumers, these brands solely focus on their sales strategies, leading to marketing myopia.

No Competitive Substitutes

When a company remains a lead producer or the only manufacturer in the market without any competitor, they may think that things will stay the same for a long time and believe they will remain at the top. Unfortunately, this self-deceiving belief can lead to laziness as the company ceases to invest its resources in research and customer development. Consequently, a competitor comes into the market with unique features and takes the total market share.

Not Considering the Requirements of the Consumer

Another cause of market myopia is the failure to consider the consumer’s requirements as part of their marketing strategy. For instance, the business may become overconfident and stop asking for feedback from their customers. As a result, the gap between the consumer’s requirements and company products becomes so significant that it is easier for competitors to enter the market and profit by offering products and services relevant to the consumers’ wants and needs.

Not Focusing on the Customers

As we know by now, marketing myopic companies solely focus on their products, not their customers’ wants and needs. Consequently, they produce products that overlook the demands of the market. Therefore, when a company is not consumer-focused, it may end up losing its customers to a competitor.

Failure to Consider Changing Consumer Lifestyle

Consumer lifestyle is changing with new technological advancements. Therefore, when marketers fail to consider the changing consumer lifestyle, their products risk becoming obsolete to meet customers’ needs. As a result, consumers stop buying any product that doesn’t fulfill their demands.

Examples of Marketing Myopia

Overhead view of digital and film cameras

Contrary to popular belief, marketing myopia doesn’t only affect small businesses or startups. In fact, many top companies suffered from market myopia and paid hard for it. Below are four examples of marketing myopia:

Kodak

Kodak digital cameras were at the market’s peak when they were invented in 1975. Over the course of several years, the company became the market leader for digital cameras. However, as technology advanced with digital imaging, the company suffered from marketing myopia. Instead of embracing advancing digital technology, Kodak feared hurting its lucrative film business. As a result, companies like Canon and Sony took a proactive approach to market new digital cameras. Unfortunately, it was too late when Kodak decided to get in the game. As a result, it saw revenues decline as digital imaging became the dominant technology.

Blackberry

In 2007, BlackBerry was at its peak and dominating the phone market. The same year, Apple introduced its first smartphone to the market. BlackBerry’s logic was that they would continue to make phones for business purposes, while Apple would focus on the general phone market without much impact. Fast forward to 2022, Apple is dominating the smartphone market, while BlackBerry holds 0% of the market in the smartphone industry. BlackBerry failed to adapt and innovate in a consumer-technology market that was evolving at a rapid pace and tuned into the fact that smartphones are no longer used for business purposes only.

Nokia

Nokia is another phone company that suffered from a bad case of marketing myopia. In the early 2000s, Nokia’s phones were at the top of the market and had the entire market share. Unfortunately, the company focused its resources on thinking that it is in a growing industry and overlooked the future needs of consumers. Meanwhile, Samsung and iPhone captured the market with revolutionized technologies, such as the internet, GPS, and media, changing the mobile phone industry. If Nokia had focused on customer needs and created innovative products, it could still have been enjoying market leadership.

Entertainment

In the sixties, Hollywood film companies risked replacement by TV. According to Levitt, Hollywood defined its business incorrectly. It thought it was in the movie business when it was in the entertainment industry. Hollywood’s myopia got them into trouble because they rejected TV when it should have welcomed it as an opportunity to expand the entertainment business. Had Hollywood been customer-oriented by providing entertainment rather than product-oriented and concentrated on making movies, it could have avoided financial losses.

Luckily, with the rise of new technologies and streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, the entertainment industry didn’t repeat the same mistake that film companies did in the sixties.

How to Avoid Marketing Myopia

Overhead view of business meeting

Marketing myopia has caused many businesses to shut down. Consider the following tips to focus on long-term growth and avoid marketing myopia as you plan your marketing strategies:

Create Long-term Goals

Long-term goals are critical to avoiding marketing myopia. Unfortunately, myopic companies focus on short-term goals and strategies, neglecting their customers’ needs and demands. Therefore, to ensure the company’s growth, marketing teams should track long-term and short-term goals. For example, marketing professionals can create longer goals related to the consumers, such as expanding customer outreach programs and traffic in the upcoming three years.

Include the Customer in Your Strategy

Customers should be the main target of your plans to create great marketing campaigns. Therefore, businesses must think from the customer’s perspective when coming up with new products and marketing strategies. In addition, asking for customer feedback will help you be one step ahead of your competitors because building customer relationships can improve satisfaction, leading to more effective long-term growth.

Conduct Extensive Research

Companies can avoid marketing myopia by conducting extensive market research. Before launching new products, businesses should research the market to identify the target audience. The research, in return, will help the team refine and improve the new product before launching. It is also wise to conduct extensive research after the product launch to understand market changes and audience changes over time.

Continue to Market Your Products

Continuing to market your existing products can help with long-term growth. It may grow your audience and expand your business. Continuous marketing may also help build your brand name and remind your customers about your products. There are several ways to market your products, such as writing a blog, updating your website, creating social media posts, email marketing, and Facebook ads.

Offer Variety to Your Customers

Offering your customers a variety of products and services is another way to avoid marketing myopia.  It allows them to find what they are looking for and return in the future. For example, if you own a coffee shop, consider serving a variety of pastries with your beverages. This can help attract new customers, encourage your existing ones to purchase more and expand your business. You can also include variety in your marketing campaigns to reach a bigger audience and grow your customers. For example, you can promote your product or service on different platforms, such as social media, TV, and billboards.

Try New Techniques

Trying new marketing strategies like attraction marketing is an essential component of long-term success because it personalizes campaigns, ultimately catering to the consumer’s wants and needs.

Trying new techniques through market testing helps companies adapt to recent market changes and stay ahead of their competitors.  For example, post high-value content on your social media platforms and blog posts or create an educative webinar to attract customers to your brand.

Review and Refine

Professionals reviewing marketing strategy

To identify successful channels and problem areas, companies must review and refine their marketing strategies and goals each quarter. However, the frequency can sometimes depend on the industry and the size of the business. Nonetheless, this is an excellent opportunity to review your marketing goals, set new ones, explore areas of improvement, and focus on growth. Moreover, consider conducting a brand audit to understand the company’s successes and weaknesses and find new ways to help the business stay relevant.

Consumers’ demands may change as the market changes. Therefore, staying current on market trends is vital to learning and maintaining your marketing strategies and products to meet your consumers’ needs and demands. Companies can stay current on market trends by subscribing to marketing news or conducting regular market research.

Sum Up

Marketing myopia occurs when marketers have a short-sighted mindset and think that the company is in a growing phase and there are no competitive substitutes. This belief leads to a loss of sight of what customers want. Popular companies that got hit by marketing myopia include Kodak, BlackBerry, and Nokia. To avoid similar marketing myopia, a business must recognize that the market is continuously changing; therefore, it is essential to listen and act on their customers’ needs and desires.

Published by Owen Carter on May 31, 2022

Owen Carter

Owen Carter

Owen is a marketing specialist. He works with advertisers and publishers directly, enhancing their marketing campaigns. Owen understands the importance of having the right tools for the job. He got his start designing and implementing a proprietary platform at a major performance marketing organization. During his free time, Owen enjoys rereading company emails and looking for mistakes.