The New Marketing Myopia

30 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2009 Last revised: 6 Apr 2009

Date Written: February 3, 2009


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.

Keywords: Marketing Myopia, Stakeholders, Corporate Social Responsibility, Marketing and Society

Suggested Citation

Smith, N. Craig and Drumwright, Minette E. and Gentile, Ph.D., Mary C., The New Marketing Myopia (February 3, 2009). INSEAD Working Paper No. 2009/08/Insead Social Innovation Centre, Available at SSRN: or

N. Craig Smith (Contact Author)

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex

Minette E. Drumwright

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Mary C. Gentile, Ph.D.

Consultant ( email )

United States

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