Durkin (2013) re-visits the classic paper by Theodore Levitt “Marketing Myopia” from the 1960s. Are companies internationally losing focus on their customers as they embrace digital technology? Construct a brief critical review to comment on this evaluating both sides of the debate.
Theodore Levitt’s Marketing Myopia is eye-opening for every business leader. As per Levitt, business leaders should change themselves as per the changing environment as change is the only constant. A business leader shouldn’t have tunnel vision and they have then their organization is going to see the decline. He always reminds business leaders to have a big picture for the organization in order to survive in the industry. This paper shows that how Levitt’s view changes the entire market. Those who actually follow him see great growth for their organization and clearly identify the customer needs and want. Customer needs and wants is what organization needs to understand and take the necessary action as per that. This paper provides different examples of those who ignore Levitt’s advice in Marketing Myopia and had a great fall in growth for their organization.
According to Levitt (1960), marketing myopia is a kind of situation, which came to the marketplace years ago that defines the state of a company that has a narrow-minded marketing strategy and mainly focuses on only one aspect without considering the benefits for the customers (Levitt, 1960). There are some possibilities that the companies are more concerned about a particular thing like focusing more on the quality, rather than the actual demand of the customers. They start to focus more on advanced technology instead of building relationships with the customers.
The higher-level managers of the company start to predict the growth of the firm without doing any research. The results appear in the mass production of the company as they didn’t have the idea of demands required by the customers (Levitt, 1960). Giving importance to one thing and ignoring the rest of the attributes will never fulfil the demands of the organization in time. It is essential to change the views with the change in the dynamic environment.
But, many such organizations are managing the entire things in a balanced manner and at the same time see the alternate aspects of the needs of the customers, timely delivery, technological management and much more. Therefore, this report will contain some of the essential facts about the companies that are following the myopia marketing strategies, and still, there is much such organization which works for the fulfilment of demands of customers. Companies still embrace the demands of users, instead of digital technology.
The Current discussion is based on the question “Are companies internationally losing focus on their customers as they embrace the digital technology?” The discussion has two parts one is in against the question and another is in support of the question.
As per the recent scenario in the marketplace, the companies are intentionally not losing the focus from the customers; rather they are forced to such situations when the demands from the client-side increase with the pace of time (Durkin, 2013). There are many circumstances that are playing a major in shifting the focus of the organization more towards digital technology. When the recent situation is compared with that of the 1960s marketing strategies, then there is a heaven and hell difference in the thought process. The customer orientation has been shifted to a great extent due to the rise in the advancement of technology (Levitt, 1960).
The technical tools and aspects have increased to an unexpected height that gives a tough competition to the other companies in the market. According to the author Richard, Womack & Allaway (1993), competitor orientation has been proposed as a kind of replacement for the orientation of the customers, with which the strategy of a firm is highly influenced. Previously, businesses have a vision rather than a goal (Richard, Womack & Allaway, 1993). They were able to see themselves at a point ahead of what they are presently standing. For example, Kodak lost much of its share to the Sony Company when the digital market boomed suddenly, and Kodak didn’t plan a better strategy for it. Similarly, Nokia loses its share when the OS and Android versions are introduced to the market.
The vision helps them to set their capabilities, to understand more about the competitors as well as to grab the information about the recent trend. Always the growth of the business is guaranteed with the rise in the population. But, gradually with the rise in technology, the vision shifts, and companies start to set a goal to create their own demands, overestimation the quality of the product without any research and gives less importance to the requirements from the customers (De Mooij & Hofstede, 2011). There is a huge economic growth in the countries like China, Malaysia, and Thailand as they are forecasting more about the output and spends most of their time in developing new markets and new competitors.
They are becoming a part of globalization as well as internationalization where consumer cultures and tastes are allegedly changing and getting satisfied with the global products, which are created by the global corporation. Therefore, Morden (1995), the companies are focusing more on digital technology to fulfil the requirements giving a tough competition in today’s technologically driven world. The strategies are changing with the change in the culture, which is another major institutional framework of the world’s economy (Morden, 1995). The economic regionalize appears to be proliferating as more and more countries are integrated together from different times to share the views regarding the demands required by the customers. To integrate these countries together, digital technology is helping the organization to get better results within a short period (Feedough, 2017).
Due to the advancement of technology, economic growth has been increased as compared to past decades. Cross-cultural management has also forced the business experts to give more focus on the technology as they are operating from the host country and wants to communicate with all local employees, which can be only possible through digital technology. Ultimately, they are working for the betterment of the customers and providing the services in time by adopting the new trend from the market as per the time (Feedough, 2017).
The culture, technology and never-ending demands of the customers are forcing them to change the behaviour and preferences of the consumers as well as clients. For example, with the change in digital technology, the new types of fibre and chemicals will result in less demand for dry cleaners (Ng, 2016). There will be more supermarkets, which will be a better option than the regular stores.
According to Quelch & Jocz (2008), during the 1950s and 1960s, an increase in the theories, as well as the practitioners, have forced the marketers to embrace the idea that they are simply not selling the core products, rather they focus on the services, offerings and customer problems (Quelch & Jocz, 2008). With the change in the focus, the buying nature of the decisions of the customers came under closer scrutiny. The market researchers have always paid close attention to the emotional and psychological aspects-types of the “utility” consumers that help in gaining from the products and services. In the year 1950, the marketers had begun to claim a greater role in marketing the management of the firms.
Continuously for more than fifty years, the strategies were not changed and had stuck to fulfilling the requirements of the customers. Later, with the pace of time, the ideas have been shifted and moved towards the global market where digital technology has overpowered the entire marketplace (Wallace, Hunt & Richards, 1999). Companies also changed their existing strategies and started to fight in the competition. They started focusing less on the customer orientation that includes the research, manufacturing as well as development in the sales (Smart Challenge by KPMG, 2017).
The evolution of the marketing strategies and plans selects only a few categories that include the changes in cross-cultural communication, technical aspects as well as communication with the clients. In the subsequent years, the marketing discipline starts to increase the sophisticated tools for the competitive positioning, product-line strategy as well as for the marketing segmentation (Wallace, Hunt & Richards, 1999). The segmentation was a feasible strategy in the mid-1950s, but, later, that shifted for two reasons, development in flexible production due to the advancement in digital technology as well as the companies starting to pay less attention to the demands of the consumers. For example, Amazon has changed how we buy things and Netflix has changed how we consume videos. Similarly, the companies like Airbnb as well as Uber have shaken up the transportation industries and hotels (Smart Challenge by KPMG, 2017).
Business leaders need to understand what is happening in the market so that they can construct their approach in a better way to make some impactful decisions on business with the help of the digital era. Simultaneously, they should stimulate an environment for experimenting as well as collaboration. It is always not possible to remain as the market leader until one change the strategy, the structure of the organization and the existing vision. The challenges in the marketplace are rising each day that demands the businessman to grab the opportunity for developing the firm in a better way in future. Therefore, they are intentionally shifting the focus from the customer’s demands to digital technology as the opportunities will never come back to them again. They feel facing the challenges are more important rather than understanding more about culture.
According to the iceberg theory, culture is like an iceberg, where it is not necessary to know about people’s intentions and demands that are hidden below the surface. It’s time to spread the business keeping pace pacing with time and trending (Wallace, Hunt & Richards, 1999). The Hofstede’s dimensions of culture, the international marketers, are interested in learning about the cultural differences, for example like people are working for IBM in more than 50 countries, which is only possible due to the digital technology. To illustrate the core concepts of marketing, it is important to shift the focus intentionally from the customers towards digital marketing.
In the past few decades, the marketing thoughts were limited to the relationship between the customers and producers and producing goods for some specific reasons. But, later with a change in the scenario and introduction of globalization in the marketplace, competition arises, and companies start to fight with each other for the same types of products. Digital technology has changed the entire market strategy and pushed the businessman for tough competition.
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