The New Marketing Myopia

  • Smith N
  • Drumwright M
  • Gentile M
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Abstract

During the past half century, in general, marketers have heeded Levitt's (1960) advice to avoid “marketing myopia” by focusing on customers. In this article, the authors argue that marketers have learned this lesson too well, resulting today in a new form of marketing myopia, which also causes distortions in strategic vision and can lead to business failure. This “new marketing myopia” stems from three related phenomena: (1) a single-minded focus on the customer to the exclusion of other stakeholders, (2) an overly narrow definition of the customer and his or her needs, and (3) a failure to recognize the changed societal context of business that necessitates addressing multiple stakeholders. The authors illustrate these phenomena and then offer a vision of marketing management as an activity that engages multiple stakeholders in value creation, suggesting that marketing can bring a particular expertise to bear. They offer five propositions for practice that will help marketers correct the myopia: (1) map the company's stakeholders, (2) determine stakeholder salience, (3) research stakeholder issues and expectations and measure impact, (4) engage with stakeholders, and (5) embed a stakeholder orientation. The authors conclude by noting the implications for research.

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Authors

  • N. Craig Smith

  • Minette E Drumwright

  • Mary C Gentile

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