jerryking + marketing + discernment   1

Bark with bite
January 30, 2012 | FT | By John Quelch.

Academics succeed if their names are linked to one important idea that outlives them. Professor Theodore Levitt’s name is linked to many. The first was a blockbuster. “Marketing myopia” was published by Harvard Business Review (HBR) in 1960, one year after Harvard Business School plucked Prof Levitt, the son of a German immigrant cobbler, from the University of North Dakota.

The article famously asked: “What business are you in?” It critiqued railroads for “letting their customers get away from them because they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business rather than the transportation business”. They were product-orientated rather than market-orientated....the importance of tangible evidence to reassure customers choosing among suppliers of intangible services (the impressive bank building, the authoritative logo)....I gave him a wide berth until it was time for feedback on my thesis proposal after three months of hard labour. The meeting lasted five minutes, barely long enough for Prof Levitt, whose mentoring style was more tough love than hand-holding, to dismiss me with: “Throw this out, start again and come back in a week with something important!” Fortunately, I did.

Prof Levitt’s advice was always to work on important problems that are important to important people in important companies. It spurred me to get out into the field, talk to business people, write case studies and understand the messy complexity of the world, rather than work behind my desk on mathematical models based on unrealistic assumptions.
advice  discernment  feedback  hand-holding  HBR  HBS  John_Quelch  marketing  market-orientated  messiness  myopic  primary_field_research  product-orientated  reminiscing  sophisticated  Theodore_Levitt  tough_love  worthiness  worthwhile_problems 
december 2013 by jerryking

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