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Marketing Imagination, New, Expanded Edition Paperback – April 21, 1986

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Editorial Reviews


Philip Kotler Northwestern University Ted Levitt's name is synonymous with marketing. His writings consistently offer rich insights served up in a souffle of good style. In The Marketing Imagination, Levitt takes the reader through some important new concourses in the marketing world that he has explored deeply during this decade.

The Wall Street Journal MBAs everywhere encounter Ted Levitt's name on their required-reading lists, and it is likely to remain there long after experts on Japanese management, one-minute management and high-output management finally drop from the bestseller lists. The Marketing Imagination is a much-needed reminder of the ideals to which managers should bind their ambitions.

Newsday Ted Levitt is the best marketing mentor around...The Marketing Imagination is guaranteed to provoke controversy. It's a crackling text...every argument it stirs will be worthwhile.

Tom Brown Honeywell, Inc. A book for everyone in business. It is provocative and challenging.

Industry Week Ted Levitt's literate, thoughtful treatment takes the reader from the broadest theoretical concepts to specific how-to pointers.

Atlanta Constitution and Journal Marketers will eventually have to learn the lessons of The Marketing Imagination or risk a career change.

About the Author

Theodore Levitt is Editor of the "Harvard Business Review" and Edward W. Carter Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. One of the most widely read and respected figures in marketing, he is a four-time winner of the annual McKinsey Award for the best article in the "Harvard Business Review."

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Exp Sub edition (April 21, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0029190908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0029190906
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #539,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Of the more than 27 billion books on marketing now in print, none has had a greater impact than has this one. It is truly a masterpiece. By way of background, in 1960 (in its July-August issue), The Harvard Business Review published "Marketing Myopia" in which Levitt ties marketing "more closely to the inner orbit of business policy." Specifically, "Management must think of itself not as producing products but as providing custom-creating value satisfactions." Companies should be marketing-led rather than production-led. That will happen only if and when there is a total commitment by senior management (and especially by the CEO) to satisfying current customers so that they remain loyal, and, to attracting new customers. Only marketing creates or increases demand. Without demand, there are no customers.

In the same article, Levitt makes an important distinction: "Selling concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting people to exchange their cash for your product. It is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about. And it does not, as marketing invariably does, view the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse, and satisfy customer needs." Given this background, you can now place The Marketing Imagination in a proper context. "Marketing Myopia" is reprinted within the revised edition, first published in 1986.The chapter titles correctly suggest the scope of the subjects Levitt discusses:

1. Marketing and the Corporate Purpose

2. The Globalization of Markets

3. The Industrialization of Service

4. Differentiation -- of Anything

5. Marketing Intangible Products and Product Intangibles

6. Relationship Management

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read Ted Levitt's awesome article 'Marketing Myopia' some years ago and promised myself then that I would find out more about the thoughts of this unique writer. This man is a Guru of the old school - shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Deming, Drucker and Mintzberg. He is referenced by Tom Peters and other 'modern' writers. As a non-marketeer I did not know quite what to expect - what I got was an (at times breathtaking) insight into areas of the marketing 'black art' that I didn't know existed! He covers Relationships, Service, Product lifecycles, Differentiation and much more. He writes with such style and passion for his subject that you cannot help but be infected by it. Anecdotes of marketing genius and stupidity are peppered throughout the book. Key words, concepts and phrases are repeated over and over, to the point that the words hit you like a blunt instrument. You don't forget them - you wouldn't dare! Some parts are quite detailed and technical, but your attention cannot wane lest you miss the next part of the roller coaster ride. This is an old book of old articles, but the ideas are as fresh as ever - seasoned marketeers should read it just to recharge their enthusiasm if nothing else. Levitt uses several metaphors to illustrate his ideas - the most prevalent being sex. At times I found this to be a bit irritating but it was always used with taste and humour which mitigated my irritability. I first got this book from the library and had to own one - Levitt is the Stephen Hawking of Marketing - buy it, read it ENJOY.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is, simply, the best marketing book ever written. Ted Levitt, a Harvard B-School professor, previously wrote "Marketing Myopia," where he told us the railroads went belly up because they thought they were in the train business rather than the transportation game.

You cannot buy a product. Rather, you buy the feelings you expect to receive from your vision of the product -- and generally your vision is fuzzy. People are not rational decision-makers -- we judge books by looking at their covers.
An astute marketer never sells a commodity. Only fools sell on price alone. Add some service to the mix and transform what you're selling into something else altogether.
The Marketing Imagination is not a how-to book like the various Guerilla Marketing tomes. Levitt gives you frameworks for thinking about things and making sound decisions.
I have a couple of decades of marketing under my belt, and this is the only marketing book I ever reread. Do yourself a favor. Join me
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Chris on June 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
Though it was first released in 1983, I still do not believe there is a better book on marketing that The Marketing Imagination. It's not a "marketing fad of the week" kind of book, but rather a practically worded treatise on basic concepts that are more often than not overlooked or ignored by those who chase fads and wonder why they're not more successful. Chapter 4, "Differentiation---of Anything" should be tatooed on the forehead of every marketer.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dan Wallace on May 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
Ted Levitt, along with Peter Drucker and John McKittrick, conceived of the marketing concept: In short, that the purpose of business is to create and keep satisfied customers-- with profit being the reward for doing this. Early on Levitt also saw the importance of globalization, technology and brands. In The Marketing Imagination, published in 1982, Levitt predicted an ongoing global convergence toward simplicity, standardization, reliable brands, and low prices. All of this came true.

Levitt was also an early proponent of design and the importance of intangibles in marketing, particularly for the growing sector of services. He wrote, " Common sense tells us, and research confirms, that people use appearances to make judgements about realities." He further said, "Expectations are what people buy, not things."

He rightly described business transactions as a relationship, and he showed the natural tendency for people to take relationships for granted over time. Specifically, he cited surprise and bad forecasts and signs of a bad relationship. He said this entropic tendency must be consciously counteracted.

In the chapter The Marketing Imagination, which is also the title of the book, he urges businesses to take risks, innovate, and focus on meaningful differentiation. He also warned of the limits of low price and financial innovation as strategies. He starts the chapter with, "Nothing drives progress like imagination. The ideas precede the deed." Then he encourages leaders to boil strategy down to a few simple and clearly written sentences.

In the chapter, Marketing Myopia, Levitt cautions that the greatest dangers come at the point of the greatest success.
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