As I scrolled through my social media feed during the morning of Oct. 9, I came across several references to a major marketing faux pas by Dove. As I read through the first article, I immediately thought about our class discussions on Sept. 20 and 27 regarding marketing intelligence and targeting & segmentation. My first thought was, what kind of research did Dove conduct prior to launching this ad? Based on the poor taste of the ad, I suspected the answer was they didn’t do much research. However, it didn’t take me long to find another article from Target Marketing from 2015 praising Dove for their effective use of data in developing their marketing strategy at that time.
The article discussed a number of ways in which Dove collected non-experimental primary research through personalized questions and interviews with women, data collected through social media and the “Dove Patches” that enabled the company to monitor the behavior of women within their homes through video diaries. Dove was well respected for their approach and ability to really understand women.
How does a company that fairly recently made such incredible use of marketing intelligence and data “miss the mark” so dramatically this time?
What struck me as most ironic is that this isn’t the first time that Dove has been under scrutiny for a similar incident. This occurrence from 2011 seemed remarkably similar to the incident from last week.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Dove had been down this road before and should have learned from their mistake, but that wasn’t the case. The long term impact of Dove’s poor decision will have lasting effects on the company. I can’t help but think about the value pyramid and how many elements of value the company lost as a result of this most recent snafu. Prior to this most recent incident, Dove had multiple values that addressed all 4 of the needs mentioned in the Elements of Value article – Social Impact, Life Changing, Emotional and Functional. As the two images illustrate, I suspect that Dove’s latest incident had a significant impact on their perceived value.
While Dove’s commitment to social issues remained unchanged, I suspect the life-changing elements are no longer relevant. I also suspect that the quality and connectivity formally felt by consumers is gone. Moving forward, I would hope that Dove revisits their 2015 marketing intelligence strategies. If they continue to disregard the value of marketing intelligence, I am confident that they will continue to see themselves under fire and will lose additional elements of value.