Marketing Myopia

Executive Summary

Marketing myopia is considered as one of the integral parts of marketing that managers often undertake to carry out the business activities in an effective and efficient manner. At a point of time, every industry is considered as growing and as of now, retail industry is one of the leading sectors around the globe in context to revenue generation, employment etc. But, this industry usually falls down under the shadow of mismanagement because companies operating in market focus on selling and not on marketing.

There are several issues that managerial level people of Tesco plc can face while implementing the marketing myopia. Despite of having the capabilities, it can create different obstacles for the managers or senior officials because Tesco operates in different parts of the world and it is undertaking customer oriented approach at each level that might develop various conflicts and issues. In context to this, marketing manager of company should focus on different stakeholders of Tesco plc as just focusing on customers or end users will not help it in achieving the overall corporate aim and objectives.


Marketing myopia can be defined as the inward or short sighted approach of marketing that mainly concentrates on the need of company instead of defining products and services of the firm in relation with customers (Levitt, 2004). Present report focuses on evaluating the role of marketing myopia for Tesco plc. However, for operating in such a competitive market, it is important for Tesco to also analyse the need of itself apart from giving the priorities to the requirements of customers. The main purpose of researcher behind conducting this study is to enhance the knowledge and to develop skills regarding marketing concepts, scope and issues surrounding marketing myopia for the management of Tesco plc.

Background to the Case

Key Mission

  • The mission of Tesco plc is “To make what matters better, together” so that requirements of each stakeholder can satisfied in the best suitable manner.

Key Products and Services

Being one of the biggest British Multinational Grocery and general merchandise retailers, Tesco plc offers a wide range of products and services to its target audience so as to satisfy their different needs and wants. Key products and services of company are:

  • Supermarkets
  • Hypermarkets (March, 1994)
  • Superstores
  • Tesco club-card
  • Tesco Bank
  • Petrol stations

Key Markets

  • Tesco is one of the largest retailers with half a million colleagues to serve millions of customers around 12 countries of the world through stores and online (Tesco plc, 2015).

Definition, Discussion and Development Marketing Myopia Theory and Literature

Origins of Marketing Myopia Concept

Marketing myopia in general is a term used in marketing and it is the title of marketing paper written by Theodore Levitt. However, this was published in 1960 in the Harvard Business Review which clearly defines that businesses will do better at the end if they focus on meeting the needs of customers rather than concentrating on selling their offerings. According to the editor, to continue growing, companies irrespective to their sector must ascertain and act upon the needs and desires of customers and must not depend upon the probable seniority of their offerings.

Traditional Marketing Myopia

At a point of time, every industry is considered to be growing and now, retail industry is one of the leading sectors around the globe in context to revenue generation, employment etc. But this sector usually falls down under the shadow of mismanagement because companies operating in focus on selling not marketing. However, as per the marketing paper of Levitt (1960), selling focuses on the needs of seller and marketing undertakes the requirement of buyer. Thus, marketing myopia is important for a company like Tesco since it is operating in such a competitive market.

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New Marketing Myopia

On the basis of study made by Boone and Kurtz, (2015), new marketing myopia is related to three phenomena 1) a single-minded focus on the customer to the exclusion of other stakeholders, 2) an overly narrow definition of the customer and their needs, and lastly, 3) failure to recognize the changed societal context of business that is a necessity for addressing multiple stakeholders. Furthermore, author defines that marketers these days are suffering from the new marketing myopia that treat customers as only a consumer or a commercial entity that is seeking to satisfy short term, material needs via consumption behaviours.

Importance of Marketing Myopia for a Company

According to the work of Levitt, it can be clearly stated that marketing myopia plays a crucial role in marketing as well as helps in providing significant information to company’s owners and managers etc. However, by the means of this marketing approach, firms in the retail sector tend to understand that they have been missing the opportunities which could achieve once they adopted the wider view of marketing in the target market. On the basis of this paper by Levitt, short sighted approach is the only reason due to which companies operating in any of the sectors are unable to predict the future of industry appropriately.

Gummesson, (1998), states that thinking logically along with practically is the major part of marketing these days. However, people nowadays are smart enough to judge what is best for them which create a very little space for marketers to influence the target audience and encourage them to buy products and services. But contradicting to this, Lamb, Hair and McDaniel, (2011) defined that marketing myopia does not exist in almost every sector in which top level management of companies fails to see the bigger picture and accordingly, to mould the functioning. In case of Tesco plc, it is the case because being the giant in UK and different parts of the world, its top level management can see the future by defining their own policies and procedure for the market. But nowadays, it is difficult with increasing competition as senior officials have to focus on the needs and wants of customers so that they can offer the desired products. (Importance of Marketing Myopia, 2010)

Evaluation and Discussion of Marketing Myopia Issues from a Managerial Point of View

As discussed above, myopia concept of marketing is based on the values and vision as well as on the mission of company. However, it is the management who is responsible for determining the strategic approach through the means of which they are planning to carry out or conduct the business activities (Smith, Drumwright and Gentile, 2009). There are several issues that managerial level people of Tesco plc can face while implementing the marketing myopia. Despite of having the capabilities, it can create different obstacles for the managers or senior officials because Tesco operates in different parts of the world and undertaking customer oriented approach at each level might develop various conflicts and issues. In this context, Stock, (2002), states that the type of industry assists in identifying the future growth of firm. However, in case of Tesco plc, executing its business activities in such a large market space with identifying needs and wants of customers and offering products accordingly might be the major problem. In this regard, study of Levitt, (1960) defines that, it is because there are large number of audience that Tesco targeted and offering products and services according to each individual can lead to develop major issues at all the level of business enterprise (Lamb, Hair and McDaniel, 2011).

Other than this, Kurtz, (2015) illustrates that, cost is another main issue that company faces because managers are responsible for minimizing the costs of sales but identifying the needs and wants customers requires high amount of investment which may directly or indirectly affect the working capital of business. In particular, at the time of conducting market research, company has to make a lot of investment that might affect the overall financial balance.

Apart from this, there are several people that are working at the managerial level of Tesco and thus, all are having different views and approaches while carrying out the work or activities of organization. In this regard, conflicts between managers approach might be one of the major issues that can be seen at the managerial level of organization (Boone and Kurtz, 2015). Complying with different methods of approach and methods may bring conflicts with the senior officials of company at the time of implementing only one of the major strategies.

Therefore, these are few major issues that can be faced and managerial level irrespective to company or sector. It is the responsibility of senior authority to make sure that each of the managers follows one approach so that corporate aim and objectives can be achieved in the best possible manner.

Other Emerging Views of Marketing Myopia

There are several other emerging views of marketing myopia that are defined by several other authors in their respective studies. According to Cunningham, (1979) marketing stakeholder is the major aspect on which managers should focus accordingly to mould the overall approach to ensure the satisfaction level of customers. However, as per the marketing myopia, manager of Tesco has to concentrate on the target audience and to define them appropriately (Levitt and Cunningham, 1979). After doing so, manager needs to undertake suitable and reliable strategies and tactics that influence and encourage different customers to buy the products and services. Looking at the present corporate environment, it is essential for companies operating in retail to make sure that they undertake the stakeholder perspective while developing strategies and tactics. However, it is not essential that customer is always right but looking at the present condition of retail industry, it can be said that they have relatively higher bargaining power and companies like Tesco and other retailing giants have to mould their functioning according to the needs of customers. Contradicting to this McDaniel, (2011) states that it is the responsibility of managerial level people to focus on all the stakeholders of business entity because only customers are not responsible for successful run of enterprise (McCole, 2004).

According to Stock, (2002) scope of marketing for a company is very wide. It is crucial for manager to make sure they focus on each part of their working equally and accordingly develop strategy for the betterment of company's future contingency (Gummesson, 1998). Just focusing on pricing and product promotion may limit the category of customers that company is targeting. This type of approach in highly competitive in market and may affect the overall functioning negatively.

In the study of Boone and Kurtz, (2015) researcher identified that there are several other issues surrounding marketing myopia which may affect the strategy and tactics of an organization like Tesco and leads to failure or declining state. Authors in this have defined that ethics is the major concern while using marketing myopia because marketing is a value oriented framework and analysing the ethical problems on the basis of values can be infringe (March, 1994). Furthermore, excluding the potential customers from the market and using selective marketing to discourage the demand from undesirable market sectors come under this concept. Similar to this, Levitt, (1960) states targeting the vulnerable like children or the elderly people can be ethical point of issues in

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