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Business Strategy in “Marketing Myopia” by Levitt

Reading Notes

Article APA Format: Levitt, T. (1960). Marketing Myopia. Harvard Business Review, 1(1), 138-149.

Central Theme

The article “Marketing Myopia” by Theodore Levitt is a masterpiece detailing the significant aspects of business strategy. Positive management is something that can ensure a business organization is doing better. A powerful business should concentrate on the changing needs of the targeted customers (Levitt, 1960). When this is done, a business will grow and eventually make profits. The author uses powerful examples to support this argument. For instance, the failure of the railroad industry occurred since many business people in the industry did not focus on the transportation needs of the targeted customers.

The author has also presented several lessons to the reader. For instance, companies and industries that believe their products cannot be rivaled eventually become obsolete (Levitt, 1960). The emergence of a superior substitute eventually affects the performance of an existing business. With poor focus and inability to address the needs of more customers, a business will definitely “descend into stagnation” (Levitt, 1960, p. 140). Leadership is also critical towards ensuring an organization achieves its objectives. Leaders should create visions that can deliver results. The followers in every business should include the targeted consumers (Levitt, 1960). According to the author, successful businesses are the ones that create more customers and satisfy them.

Critical Analysis

This article by Theodore Levitt presents powerful lessons that can be used by organizations to achieve their business potentials. The article offers powerful arguments that can dictate the performance of an organization. To begin with, the central theme of the article is that every business approach should promote exemplary strategies that have the potential to attract more customers. Levitt gives numerous examples to explain how (and why) some industries have failed within the past decades.

This central message can be used by entrepreneurs and organizations to support their future business goals. Leaders should promote the best ideas and initiatives to empower the targeted customers (Levitt, 1960). Consumer-development remains one of the best practices towards making more firms successful.

Some fallacies and misconceptions have been embraced by many industries despite the existence of verifiable opposing evidence. For example, many players in the oil industry believe strongly that their products are superior and might never face any form of competition. Consequently, many firms in the industry do not consider the changing needs of their customers. The author argues that new solutions will emerge thus supporting the needs of more consumers (Levitt, 1960). This will be a major blow to the oil industry.

The author also gives a powerful framework for combining marketing with leadership. Managerial practices should “embrace the best approaches that can provide customer-creating value satisfactions” (Levitt, 1960, p. 149). Entrepreneurs should, therefore, implement powerful initiatives that can attract more stakeholders. Such stakeholders will do business with them. Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) must also create effective environments characterized by positive leadership styles and attainable goals (Levitt, 1960).

The article indicates that many companies “treat marketing as necessary consequences of their respective products” (Levitt, 1960, p. 145). As well, the article explains why businesses should always be aware of the needs of their potential consumers. These strengths explain why the ideas presented in the article should be taken seriously. The masterpiece does not have any weakness thus making it an outstanding Harvard Business Review (HBR) piece.

The arguments presented in this article have transformed my knowledge of business management. For many years, I have always believed that successful businesses are the ones that design superior products and deliver them to their consumers using appropriate distribution channels. This fact also explains why many firms focus on their products instead of monitoring the demands of the targeted customers (Levitt, 1960). Many firms also embrace the power of research and development (R&D). I also assumed that leadership was something aimed at monitoring and guiding various activities in an organization. The article has explained why leadership should address the ever-changing needs of the targeted consumers. This approach will make it possible for more companies to use the best practices and empower more consumers.

I have always treated marketing as one of the core aspects of successful organizations. This is the case because many companies have diverse functions that work simultaneously to produce desirable results (Levitt, 1960). However, I did not treat the function as one of the major strategies towards making an organization successful. The discussions presented in the article, therefore, highlight the best practices, considerations, and strategies that can make a difference in every firm.

Main Takeaways

This article offers numerous examples to support the above central theme. Such examples highlight the unique changes that have emerged within the past few decades. Most of these changes have emerged because many firms fail to satisfy the changing needs of their consumers. Some companies have always focused on their superior products without having a proper strategy to continue satisfying their consumers (Levitt, 1960). The author informs the reader that a company that does not gauge the changing needs of its customers will eventually become irrelevant. The reader also observes that the actions and policies embraced by CEOs will have significant implications on the success of their organizations.

The important thing is to understand that firms that fail to track and gauge the needs of their consumers will find it hard to survive in the market environment. Firms that focus on the strength of their products will eventually be forced to welcome new substitutes (Levitt, 1960). Most of the substitute products and services tend to address the major consumer needs ignored by many players in the targeted industry. That being the case, companies should be aware of their future goals to remain significant.

Managers can also use these ideas to implement various aspects of R&D professionally. The R&D practice should be informed by the nature of the market and the expectations of the customers. Firms can also use this knowledge to deliver new products and services depending on the anticipated needs of different customers. The important thing to note is that an organization that is aware of the consumer will remain relevant for a very long time (Levitt, 1960). This knowledge is applicable in every industry.

That being the case, companies should consider the best approaches that can improve the level of survival. It is appropriate to focus on issues such as leadership and human development. A proper analysis of the existing market demands can deliver positive results. Leaders should also possess the intrinsic will to succeed and achieve positive goals (Levitt, 1960). They should also ensure every targeted customer is a follower (Levitt, 1960). Organizations that embrace these leadership and marketing concepts will find it easier to achieve their business potentials.


Levitt, T. (1960). Marketing Myopia. Harvard Business Review, 1(1), 138-149. Web.

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"Business Strategy in “Marketing Myopia” by Levitt." StudyKraken, 28 Sept. 2021,

1. StudyKraken. "Business Strategy in “Marketing Myopia” by Levitt." September 28, 2021.


StudyKraken. "Business Strategy in “Marketing Myopia” by Levitt." September 28, 2021.


StudyKraken. 2021. "Business Strategy in “Marketing Myopia” by Levitt." September 28, 2021.


StudyKraken. (2021) 'Business Strategy in “Marketing Myopia” by Levitt'. 28 September.

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