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What is Marketing Myopia? Causes, Fixes, and Examples



Feature image: what is marketing myopia?

In business, it’s essential to have a clear vision. You need to know where you’re going and how you plan on getting there. If you don’t have a clear vision, you’ll likely suffer from marketing myopia.

Marketing myopia is a condition that affects businesses that can’t see beyond their current product or service. They become so focused on what they offer today that they can’t see the potential for growth in the future. This can cause all sorts of problems for businesses, including stunted growth and even bankruptcy.

In this article, we’ll discuss what marketing myopia is, what causes it, and how to avoid it.

What is marketing myopia?

Marketing myopia is a business’s tendency to focus too narrowly on its own self-interests. This comes at the expense of its customers and other stakeholders. At the root of this problem is a belief that a company knows best. that it doesn’t need to listen to, or care about, what others have to say.

Marketing myopia is not a new phenomenon. It gained more attention in 2004 when marketing expert Theodore Levitt professor of marketing at Harvard Business School and former editor of Harvard Business Review. published an influential article about the issue in the Harvard Business Review.

Since then, marketing myopia has been cited as one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today. Now business owners and markets have become more globalized and consumers have become sophisticated. Companies must compete for the quality of their products or services, but also on their ability to genuinely connect with customers and deliver value in meaningful ways.

Failure to do so can result in lost market share, angry consumers, and declining profits. In order for businesses to be successful over the long term, they need to avoid becoming myopic. This means staying aware of customer needs and incorporating feedback into their decision-making processes. After all, keeping your customers happy is the key to successful companies.

What causes marketing myopia?

Marketing myopia often happens because people do not understand what consumers want. People can be scared of change or rely on old information about what consumers want. Let’s look at some of the major reasons marketing myopia can happen.

Lack of customer focus

In today’s world, it is easy for businesses to get caught up in their own noise. This can cause them to forget what their customers actually want. As a result, they may invest heavily in marketing that doesn’t align with customer needs or cultivate long-term loyalty.

Some companies may adopt a short-sighted view of marketing. Prioritizing quick sales over building relationships. This can lead to practices like aggressive upselling, which can frustrate and alienate customers. Ultimately, a lack of customer focus can be fatal to a business, leading to marketing myopia. A successful business strategy makes sure to focus on customer interests.

Inability to see beyond the current product or service

Marketing myopia is a company’s inability to see beyond its current product or service. This can lead the company to focus too narrowly on its product and miss out on new opportunities.

For example, a company that manufactures only one type of product may miss out on the latest trend or technology. As a result, the company’s products may become outdated and its sales may decline. To avoid becoming outdated, companies need to be aware of new trends and technologies. They need to be willing to adapt their products and services accordingly. They need to create a marketing strategy based on marketing research, market testing, and marketing trends.

Inflexible marketing strategies

Businesses that have inflexible marketing strategies will fall short of ever-changing customer needs. One common cause of marketing myopia is a failure to understand how the preferences and behaviors of consumers have changed.

For example, consider a company relying too much on traditional advertising methods. A marketing professional, in an age when people spend more time online, may have trouble reaching potential customers in an effective and efficient way.

Marketers must always be aware of new technologies and trends that could impact the market. Flexibility should be part of their business model. These new technologies or trends might offer new opportunities for growth.

Failure to embrace change

Marketing myopia may happen due to a failure to embrace change. This can lead to companies becoming overly focused on their existing offerings and strategies. Rather than looking ahead to new opportunities and innovations. They may become blind to changing market conditions or new trends. As a result, they may miss out on valuable opportunities for growth and expansion.

One of the key reasons that marketing myopia develops is because companies are hesitant to make changes or try new approaches. Instead, they tend to cling tightly to their current way of doing things, even if it no longer works as well as it once did. This can leave them vulnerable to competition from newer and more agile businesses that are better able to adapt to changing times.

An unwillingness to embrace change can also lead companies down a path of declining sales and customer satisfaction. Ultimately forcing them into bankruptcy or a state of stagnation.

Sometimes this unwillingness to embrace change comes from an underlying fear of change. Companies may be scared that if they rock the boat too much, they will lose everything they’ve built. But, this fear is often unfounded and can actually lead to more problems down the road. Change is inevitable, and it’s usually better to embrace it than try to resist it. A successful marketing campaign always involves some level of risk. Doing proper market research helps mitigate risks.

How to avoid marketing myopia?

Source: CXL

The key to preventing marketing myopia is to stay aware of changing market trends and keep an open mind about new ideas and approaches. Only by being vigilant can we ensure that our businesses remain relevant and competitive. There are a few ways businesses can avoid falling into the trap of marketing myopia:

Regularly solicit feedback from customers and take it to heart

One of the most important things that any business owner can do is to get feedback from its customers. After all, it is the customers who ultimately determine whether a business is successful or not. Even so, good customer feedback directly correlates with higher sales. 68% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known to offer good customer service experiences.

Often, businesses become so focused on their own internal operations that they lose sight of what their customers actually want. This can lead to marketing myopia. To avoid this fate, you need to ask for feedback from customers and take it to heart.

Customer feedback should be a big part of your business growth strategy. By staying attuned to the needs of your customers, you can ensure that your business remains relevant and prosperous for years to come.

Make sure your marketing efforts are customer-centric, not product-centric

To be successful, marketing efforts must be customer-centric, not product-centric. What does this mean? It means that the focus should be on the needs and wants of the customer. The features and benefits of the product are secondary.

For example, a customer-centric marketing campaign would focus on how a product can make a customer’s life easier or more enjoyable. In contrast, a product-centric campaign would focus on the features and benefits of the product itself. While both approaches have their advantages. Customer-centric marketing is more likely to result in long-term success.

Make your marketing customer-centric. If you’re unsure or out of ideas, it’s always good to consult agencies that specialize in marketing. Avoid marketing myopia and ensure that your campaigns focus on the needs of your target market.

Don’t be afraid to mix things up and try new things

As any entrepreneur knows, successful businesses need to adapt and change with the times. What works today might not work tomorrow, and what sold yesterday might not sell today.

That’s why it’s important to always be on the lookout for new opportunities and to be willing to mix things up. Trying new things can be scary, but it’s essential if you want to avoid marketing myopia.

Marketing myopia is the tendency to focus too narrowly on existing products and services. Instead of looking for new ways to reach potential customers. To avoid this trap, businesses need to challenge themselves and look for new ways to grow.

This might mean expanding into new markets, developing new products or services, or even changing the way they market their existing offerings. Whatever the case may be, businesses need to be flexible and open-minded if they want to avoid marketing myopia. Only companies that do this can remain relevant.

Be open to change and willing to adapt your plans as needed

Ultimately, the key to avoiding marketing myopia is the ability and willingness to embrace change at all levels of the business. To stay competitive, companies need to check their current strategies and identify areas for improvement. By doing so, they can mitigate the risks associated with marketing myopia.

Related: Grow your business with the right marketing software.

Some examples of companies that have avoided marketing myopia are: Apple, Amazon, and Netflix. These companies have all been able to successfully adapt their offerings to meet the changing needs of their customers. As a result, they have been able to maintain and grow their market share. Now let’s look at some examples where companies weren’t so lucky.

Marketing myopia in real life: Examples


kodak cameras illustration
source: Harvard

Kodak is a perfect example of a company that was brought down by marketing myopia. For years, Kodak was the dominant player in the film camera industry. However, they failed to see the writing on the wall and did not embrace digital photography, and digital cameras soon enough. As a result, they lost market share and eventually went bankrupt.


photo of a blockbuster store about to close

Another example of a company that was a victim of marketing myopia is Blockbuster. Blockbuster was the dominant player in the video rental industry for many years. However, they failed to embrace the change to digital streaming and were eventually forced out of business. Their big-picture business strategy was myopic and failed the changing tides.


Blackberry, formerly Research in Motion (RIM), was founded in 1984 by two young engineers, Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin. Cell phones were considered a luxury item until Blackberry started producing low-cost handsets for business users that could connect to the internet. They were successful in this endeavor and their market share grew steadily.

At the peak of its success, BlackBerry was the leading smartphone company in the world. But in just a few short years, it lost nearly all of its market share to the iPhone. So what went wrong? In a word: marketing myopia.

BlackBerry was so focused on maintaining its position in the business market that it failed to see the rise of the consumer market. By the time it realized its mistake, it was too late. The iPhone had already taken over. Apple understood that consumers wanted more than just a phone; they wanted a complete mobile experience. And that’s exactly what the iPhone delivered. With its sleek design, user-friendly interface, and powerful apps, the iPhone quickly became the must-have device for anyone who wanted to stay connected. BlackBerry, on the other hand, was still trying to sell consumers the idea that a phone is just a phone. It never stood a chance.

There’s a really good mini-documentary on ColdFusion’s Youtube Channel that talks about BlackBerry’s rise and fall:


Nokia was once the world’s leading mobile phone manufacturer. With a market share of over 40%, the Finnish company dominated the global phone market for over a decade. But in recent years, Nokia has been on a steep decline, losing market share to rivals like Samsung and Apple. What went wrong?

Many experts believe that Nokia’s fall is due to marketing myopia. In other words, Nokia failed to anticipate the shifting needs of the market and adapt its products and marketing accordingly. As a result, Nokia is now struggling to stay relevant in a rapidly changing industry. Only time will tell if the company can make a comeback.


To avoid marketing myopia, companies need to innovate and adapt to markets. Change their offerings and meet customer demands. They also need a clear understanding of their target market.

Companies need to be aware of new technologies or changes in consumer behavior that could impact their business. By being proactive and staying ahead of these changes, companies can avoid becoming victims of marketing myopia.

While marketing myopia can be detrimental to a company’s long-term success. It’s also a chance to learn from mistakes and make changes to improve their chances of success in the future. Be aware of the dangers of marketing myopia and take steps to avoid it. As a result, companies can position themselves for continued growth and profitability.

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