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November 4, 2020 - By Hawke Media

Holiday Hangover: 3 Ways to Avoid Marketing Myopia

The holidays are a time of celebration and excess. Moderation becomes a foreign concept during the time of year when you’re not sure if Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” is playing for the one trillionth time as ambient music somewhere in the distance or it’s become the unwitting background track to your life. You sleep in, stay up late, and your fridge is full of leftovers.

Boom! Welcome to 2020! Time to get back to work. The new year is synonymous with optimism, growth, and reflection, but we can’t help but long for more of those “lazy”, nonchalant days. These two clashing concepts leave you with something that feels a lot like a hangover.

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You shouldn’t feel this way about your marketing strategy, but it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees in the mad dash to the end of the year. You may have done really well during the holiday rush, but there’s a chance you’re suffering from marketing myopia.

What is “marketing myopia”, you ask?

Marketing myopia is a theory coined by economist and Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt. Invoking the medical condition of myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, Levitt posits that marketing should be customer-centric and companies should aim to be solution-based.

Marketing myopia is marketing a product based on short-term interests like an aggressive sales goal rather than having a clearly thought out plan that favors longevity. 

It’s a strategy that overlooks the purpose of your company. It’s a strategy that focuses more on selling a product than providing a solution to a problem.

When you look at your strategy and continue pushing for sales into the new year there are a few questions you should ask yourself:

1) Am I marketing my product or am I marketing a solution?

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This one’s easy. Take a look at your marketing. 

What’s the focus? Do you see a lot of language talking about what your product does and not the problem it solves?

You’re marketing a product. People don’t buy products, they buy solutions.

Joe doesn’t go to the department store to buy a vacuum because he wants a vacuum, he goes to the department store to buy something that will pick up the dander and dust in his carpet so he can alleviate his allergies.

2) What business am I in?

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This one should be simple, but it’s oftentimes the easiest to overlook. 

You can get wrapped up in the need to explain the work you’ve done and how great the product is with all of the bells and whistles but there’s something missing; the customer. 

Your product or service is meant to address an issue and that issue is the reason there’s a market for your product.

Do your research!

Ask yourself what problem your product solves. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and don’t just think about how your product solves the problem, think about what the best solution is for that problem. Does your product perform that function?

Now you have two options, continue to develop your product or don’t. If you don’t you’ll get left behind and someone else will fill that void in the market. If you do, you can reliably market your solution.

Marketing should follow the solution and if the product doesn’t fit, make it fit.

It’s an unapologetic approach to marketing, but it’s the best way to maintain authenticity, utility, and market relevance.

3) How can I communicate that better?

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This is where it gets complicated.

It’s not always easy to focus on customer-centric marketing because marketers aren’t usually the ones in the trenches hearing about the day-to-day struggles of the people that buy your product and what they use it for.

Firsthand experience with customers is what leads to the most authentic communication in marketing.

Listen to sales calls, read surveys, reviews, or study any point of contact with the customer you can get your hands on. These should be your holy grails.

If this all seems overwhelming, feel free to reach out to the team at Hawke and we’ll help simplify it for you and help you reach customers that are looking for your solution.