More food for thought from Theodore Levitt…

following on from the previous post on Marketing Myopia

50 years ago Theodore Levitt was clear on the role and nature of marketing…

“The marketing effort is still viewed as a necessary consequence of the product – not vice-versa, as it should be.”

” a truly marketing-minded firm tries to create value-satisfying goods that consumers will want to buy. What it offers for sale includes not only the generic product or service but also how it is made available to the customer, in what form, when, under what conditions, and at what terms of trade.”

He was clear on the need for the continuous monitoring and response to the market in which the business operates…

“…there is no guarantee against product obsolescence. If a company’s own research does not make a product obsolete, another’s will.”

“[Industries decline where] the product fails to adapt to the constantly changing patterns of consumer needs and tastes, to new and modified marketing institutions and practices, or to product developments in competing or complementary industries. The industry has its eyes so firmly on its own specific product that it does not see how its is being made obsolete.”

“In truth, there is no such thing as a growth industry,…There are only companies organised and operated to create and capitalise on growth opportunities.”

but also aware of the dangers of focusing the research effort on too narrow a section of that market…

“the greatest danger that faces…companies…is not that they do not pay enough attention to research and development but that they pay too much attention to it….It is not surprising that, having created a successful company by making a superior product, management continues to be oriented toward the product rather than the people who consume it. It develops the philosophy that continued growth is a matter of product innovation and improvement.”

Today it is the total focus on customer experience that means we risk missing important changes or opportunities arising elsewhere in our markets.


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