Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Marketing myopia

Marketing myopia is a term used in marketing as well as the title of an important marketing paper written by Theodore Levitt.This paper was first published in 1960 in the Harvard Business Review a journal of which he was an editor.
Some commentators have suggested that its publication marked the beginning of the modern marketing movement. Its theme is that the vision of most organizations is too constricted by a narrow understanding of what business they are in. It exhorted CEOs to re-examine their corporate vision; and redefine their markets in terms of wider perspectives. It was successful in its impact because it was, as with all of Levitt's work, essentially practical and pragmatic. Organizations found that they had been missing opportunities which were plain to see once they adopted the wider view. The paper was influential. The oil companies (which represented one of his main examples in the paper) redefined their business as energy rather than just petroleum; although Royal Dutch Shell, which embarked upon an investment program in nuclear power, subsequently regretted this course of action.
One reason that short sightedness is so common is that people feel that they cannot accurately predict the future. While this is a legitimate concern, it is also possible to use a whole range of business prediction techniques currently available to estimate future circumstances as best as possible.