In 2004, the Harvard Business Review suggested that “Marketing Myopia” was the “most influential idea in marketing in the past fifty years.”

The most influential idea in marketing over the past fifty years!!!

Now that’s quite the accolade. Have you heard of it?

If you haven’t, don’t be surprised.

Many people in business have no idea what I’m talking about when I bring this up.

Let me explain…

In 1960, an American Economist and Harvard Business Professor, Dr. Theodore Levitt published an article called Marketing Myopia.

In it, Levitt suggested that the decline of many industries had been caused by companies having a misguided focus when it came to marketing.

He explained that most companies were too focused on what they do as being the reason for their success and existence.

This unclear focus came at the expense of truly understanding who they were providing products and services for, and more importantly – “why?” What was it their customers really wanted?

Levitt’s primary example was the railroad business.

It was a booming industry only years earlier when it suddenly found itself in serious trouble when people realized they could get around in cars.

Levitt said the decline was because industry executives assumed they were in the railroad business. They were wrong.

Levitt believed they would have continued to thrive and remain competitive had they understood they were in the transportation business.

It’s a concept that many companies still struggle with today.

Many believe that the thing they do, sell, or offer in exchange for money is the most important component of their success.

Restaurants, in particular, are easy to single out. If someone masters Grandma’s meatballs at home, then suddenly they’re ready for the restaurant business. Sometimes it’s true, but most of the time it’s not.

Far too often restaurants think they’re in the food business – and 99.7% of them aren’t.

The top restaurants in the world understand get it. I have restaurants clients who get it. They give extreme focus and care to the entire experience. They understand they’re not in the food business.

In my upcoming book, Evergreen, I call this the principle of Content.

I provide companies with a systematic process to ensuring the way you present yourself to your prospective and current clients is done right.

Is the right message being portrayed to your clients in your sales and marketing materials?

Is the experience harmonious with the one your customers expect?

You might have answered yes to both questions. But here’s the thing…

Customer loyalty is a function of day-to-day marketing. You can’t build loyalty, though, if you think you’re in the railroad business when your customers just want transportation from point A to Point B.

As my daughter would say, Chugga Chugga Choo-Choo.