Most businesses want to grow and be successful, but what they often don't realize is that success doesn't happen overnight. It takes hard work, dedication, and a clear vision of what you want your business to become.
One of the biggest dangers that can prevent a business from achieving its goals is marketing myopia.
In this article, we will discuss what marketing myopia is, what causes it, how to avoid it, and some examples of businesses that have suffered from it.
It often leads to businesses making decisions that are not in the best interests of their customers or that fail to take into account changes in the marketplace.
Top Causes of Marketing Myopia
A Disconnect between The Business and Its Customers
The most common cause is a lack of understanding of what customers really want. This can happen when businesses focus too much on their own products and services and not enough on what customers are actually looking for.
Marketing myopia can also be caused by a lack of investment in marketing research. This can happen when businesses believe they already know everything they need to know about their customers and the marketplace.
An Unwillingness to Adapt
Another common cause is a failure to keep up with changes in the marketplace.
This can happen when businesses become too comfortable with their current products and services and fail to adapt to new trends or technologies.
A Focus on the Past, Instead of Future
Many businesses become myopic because they are too focused on the past.
They may be reluctant to change their products or services, even when it is clear that customer needs have changed.
How to Avoid Marketing Myopia
1. Prioritize customer needs.
A few years ago, my favorite color was red, I ate takeout on a regular basis, and the only plants I took care of were artificial ones. Today, I cook 90% of my meals, I’m a new (and successful) plant mom, and orange is more my vibe now.
As individuals, we know our wants and needs change as we grow. But it’s often difficult for brands to expect the same of their customers.
It would be easier if consumers stayed the same – you’d only have to do market research once, identify the strategies that worked and stick with them. Unfortunately, the truth is more complicated than that.
A couple of months can make a world of difference in consumer behavior.
Take 2020 for instance - when the pandemic started in March, brands were forced to pivot their marketing strategies, and in some cases, their entire business models
Those who failed to realize this shift was necessary and relied solely on prior success likely experienced great financial loss.
However, not every shift is this drastic. Some happen over time.
Take the topic of social responsibility. Ten years ago, this wasn’t a major concern for everyday consumers.
However, today, sustainability is a major selling point for consumers and impacts their purchasing decisions.
You can also look at the online landscape and how users are consuming content. Where blogging was 10 years ago podcasting is now.
This is all to say that keeping your finger on the pulse is key to avoiding a myopic business.
2. Foster innovation within your team.
Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn't mean it's the best way. That mentality is what leads to marketing myopia.
To break out of that, it’s important to create an environment in which your teams feel inspired to innovate.
What does this look like? It’s a combination of big and small actions like:
- Inviting new ideas.
- Experimenting with various strategies.
- Allowing failure and risk-taking.
- Hiring diverse perspectives.
By staying open-minded and flexible, you'll be in a better position to avoid marketing myopia.
3. Invest in competitive intelligence.
One way to stay on top of your game is by keeping up with others in your industry.
Competitive intelligence is the practice of monitoring and gathering data on your competitors through legal and ethical means. This can look like social media monitoring, setting up Google alerts for specific brands, and downloading offers to review content strategy.
4. Optimize your marketing strategy.
When you get too comfortable in your approach, that’s when you risk marketing myopia.
Even if your marketing strategy is working well, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on optimization. After all, companies like BlockBuster saw immense success – until they didn’t.
The past doesn’t dictate the future. However, it can help inform it.
With this in mind, review your data, take the time to gain insights, and then come up with ways to improve your performance.
Marketing Myopia Examples
In the early 2000s, Blockbuster was the undisputed king of the video rental industry.
But by 2009, the company had filed for bankruptcy. What went wrong?
Many experts believe that Blockbuster's downfall was due to marketing myopia. The company was so focused on its existing business model that it failed to adapt to the changing marketplace.
As streaming services like Netflix and Hulu became more popular, Blockbuster refused to embrace them. Instead, they clung to their brick-and-mortar stores and DVD rentals, which eventually became obsolete.
Kodak is another example of a company that fell victim to marketing myopia.
For years, Kodak was the leading name in photography. But as digital cameras became more popular, Kodak failed to adapt.
The company focused on film and prints, even as its customer base shifted to digital. As a result, they lost market share and eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
3. Old Spice
Old Spice is a good example of a company that was able to avoid marketing myopia.
When the company was first founded, it marketed its products exclusively to men. But as the marketplace changed, Old Spice recognized that there was an opportunity to reach a wider audience.
They began to produce new products specifically for women and shift their marketing strategy. As a result, Old Spice was able to avoid the decline that many other companies have experienced.
By staying focused on its customers and being willing to adapt to change, Old Spice was able to avoid marketing myopia.