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Customer needs

Theodore Levitt was a German born economist whose family fled Nazism and settled in the United States.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

In 1960, economist Theodore Levitt published what has since become one of the most important articles in marketing literature.

First appearing in the Harvard Business Review, ‘Marketing Myopia’ drew parallels between short-sightedness and the standard marketing strategies and practices of the time.

Some commentators later described Levitt’s article as more of a manifesto, a plea to companies to move away from a focus on the products they could produce to a focus on customer needs.

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‘Marketing Myopia’ was the first time a renowned scholar examined and questioned the underlying premise of early marketing, namely that production is the source of company growth.

This assumption is captured in that quote famously attributed to Henry Ford (1909), ‘Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants, so long as it is black.’

Your task

Read ‘Marketing Myopia’. We’ve provided the reference below but there are also a number of PDF copies available online.
Write a brief summary and reflection on the article (no more than 300 words), noting the most important aspects.
Reflect on the relevancy of the Ford quote provided above for modern companies. Can you think of contexts where or when such an approach could still be relevant?
Share your reflection in the comments and discuss why you think Levitt’s article is still so highly regarded.


Levitt, T. (1960). Marketing myopia. Harvard Business Review. Website link

Note: You will need to access the Harvard Business Review via Locate and then search the article title to access the full text.

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
This article is from the free online

Strategic Marketing: Marketing Orientation and the Marketing Planning Process

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