Marketing Myopia!?  This was a term that was thrown at us this week in which we all looked at each other a bit stunned, nervously laughed, scratched our heads and said huh? Marketing Myopia is a term used in marketing derived from a paper written by Theodore Levitt, published in the 1960’s. In simple terms it’s basically looking at your business and the bigger picture. It suggested that by concentrating on customer needs rather than on selling products, you will do better in the end;

Bear with me. The Theory… Levitt proposed that all businesses are in a “growth industry”, if you simply concentrate all your efforts on selling your products/services, you are deemed short-sighted. This is because your business grows complacent and you lose sight of what your customers want. In order to tackle this you have to be innovative in the way that you develop existing and new products. Confused?

Let’s give you an example of Marketing Myopia. Do you remember the Kodak and Polaroid brands? Arguably two of the largest companies EVER, offering simple consumer friendly products and in the case of KODAK, film developing and printing services. Their mistake was to not adapt to change. Burying their heads in the sand both Kodak and Polaroid ignored the digital photography market. A professor of marketing at the University of Melbourne states that “They were focused on the things they were doing at the time … Kodak said ‘we make films’, rather than saying ‘we create storage possibilities for memories. ” It could be argued that they “missed a trick” by not adapting, thus suffered from a classic case of Marketing Myopia.

So what’s this got to do with social media?

In order for your business to move away from the hard sell, sell, sell and to focus on your unmet customer needs, you need to engage with your consumers. What better way to do this than through social media.

Talking to your customer in their environment as they are experiencing the world around them is an untapped tool that has the potential to drive your business forward, whilst being innovative with the process you use to make your decisions. Facebook allows you to create polls in which you can ask simple questions and achieve mass response with your consumers by simply clicking a button.

LinkedIn allows you to create groups in which you can discuss and share ideas and get honest responses from a professional’s perspective. Twitter allows you to talk to your consumers LIVE and with only 280 characters, your customers are going to have to be direct with their answers. We’re not saying that everything that your customers say is set in stone and you have to meet everyone’s needs; that would be a never ending battle.

Once you have filtered the information that is relevant, you can evaluate the “gaps”. Creating a dialogue with your consumers through social media and letting them aid you in building your products/service, they are more likely to invest in your business because they feel valued. Social Media is a vehicle that you can use to really push your business through the “Myopia” and set yourself apart. Don’t be tarred with the same brush, set yourself apart from your competition and be of value to your consumers. Don’t let Marketing Myopia be the end of you.