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The New marketing myopia

Author: Smith, N. Craig ; Drumwright, Minette E. ; Gentile, Mary C.INSEAD Area: Faculty at Large Series: Working Paper ; 2009/08/ISIC Publisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD Social Innovation Centre (ISIC) 2009.Language: EnglishDescription: 28 p.Type of document: INSEAD Working Paper Online Access: Click here Abstract: During the past half century, marketers generally have heeded Levitt’s (1960) advice to avoid “marketing myopia” by focusing on customers. We argue that they 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. The 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/her needs; and 3) a failure to recognize the changed societal context of business that necessitates addressing multiple stakeholders. We 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. We offer five propositions for practice that would 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. We conclude by noting their implications for research.
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During the past half century, marketers generally have heeded Levitt’s (1960) advice to avoid “marketing myopia” by focusing on customers. We argue that they 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. The 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/her needs; and 3) a failure to recognize the changed societal context of business that necessitates addressing multiple stakeholders. We 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. We offer five propositions for practice that would 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. We conclude by noting their implications for research.

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