Marketing Myopa and Web 2.0


Theodore Levitt died last week at 81. For all of us reading HBR about marketing, this is probably as a period closing as the recent loss of Peter Drucker for management. I don’t know what your reaction is when you receive such a headline, but I naturally go back to my library and start to open again these old books I read many years ago.

My notes and highlights on each of these take me back to what my thinking and marketing interest was at that time. Marketing Myopa, republished in July 2004, was a huge success as the example of the railroad industry myopa : focusing on railroads instead of thinking about their business as the transportation of people and goods. Closer to our times, Airline Carriers had to expand their thinking about competition to include fax machines and e-mail as their most profitable customers were business men negotiating contracts.

This is still with us today in the IT world and some crucial questions around the software business for instance. Is the software industry about selling licences for static installed software on personal computers or delivering functionalities to subscribers over the network ? To put it more specifically, is Microsoft business model history and Google or Salesforce.com taking over ? Or even more bluntly : do we still need to own a PC ?

Okay, this is a bit sarcastic, the way I’m asking it is pretty much showing what the answer is in my opinion. By the way, we know Ray Ozzie has a huge challenge in front of him to reinvent Microsoft inside out. As I did have the great opportunity to meet him several times when working for Lotus Development in the nineties, when marketing his flagship product Lotus Notes, I personally know Ray will be up for it.

So, revisiting these classics with the Web 2.0 in mind can be very refreshing. As Marketing Myopa already taught us back in the sixties (I was still a kid!), the strategic challenge for a company is to do the things that will make people want to do business with it more than focus on selling its products or services. Today, our customers and prospects can tell the world what they want, what they care about and what they think of our corporations in a very direct and public manner. The Web 2.0 is a fantastic vehicle to redefine the way we assess their needs and desires.

Dear fellow marketers, let’s take this in our marketing plan for the future … today.

2 responses to “Marketing Myopa and Web 2.0

  1. Emmanuel,Good to find you on the “blogosphere”! Hope you’ll inform us live about what appears in California.About a world without PC, I was looking for the name of that company providing an embedded OS inside an USB Key you told be about. Could you help me ?A+Guillaume

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  2. Hi and thanks Guillaume, I’ll try to keep the pace on live info from the bay area but now the web makes it so easy.Good point about USB key. I recommend to you some french guys http://www.framakey.org who did a wonderful collection of open source “pocket” version software that you can embark on a USB key. I’m using it and now my traveling PC is a 1G memory USB key that I just plug in any connected PC. Great ! (a 512M would do as well, their stuff needs 280M in the full version)But this one is not bootable i.e. works on WindowsBootable USB Key can be done in Linux, check this http://openfacts.berlios.de/index-en.phtml?title=Linux_bootable_USB_key_HOWTOI know you’re a techie despite your denial, but here is a company selling all-in-one made key for you : http://www.fingergear.comI’m still trying to remember the name of the company who started this kind of business but it’s not coming back at this point.

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