IFC Marketing wanted to understand who their viewers really are. Conventional wisdom was strong and insisted they were mostly media savvy young males. They were so convinced of this that Marketing could not get the resources to do the research they knew they needed – until recently…
Partnering with Sachs Insights they conducted quant first and arrived at segments, which they then illuminated through in-person, in-home, in-haunt videography.
They found Authentic Influencers who tended to be wannabe musicians, artists, and think of themselves as the artists they figure they really are inside even if they work for banks….
They influence Responsible Rebels who insist on edgy writing, irreverent humor, uncensored programming that includes sex, drugs, and rockandroll (where artistially justified?). They want thinking people’s programming that makes them feel in the know and apart from the hoi polloi. They talk about the IFC brand the way they talk about themselves.
They learned that viewers accept them as authentic and trust their recommendations. They learned that their target valued quality over obscurity: Mad Men, even though it’s on a network. But they did not identify IFC as providing high quality product. They thought IFC was smart but only about independent film that requires as certain mood and commitment before viewing.
IFC wanted to shift thinking from “what film is on IFC?” to “what is on IFC?”
They threw all of their rich ethnography and segmentation at creative shops asking for a synthesis around a new identity.
One shop came up with Always On, Slightly Off.
Sachs went out into the field to research the line and came back with associations for independent, fun, and (most important) “like me.”
The research changed everything – from advertising messaging and media to content acquisition and development. An ongoing Vision Critical panel maintains communication between management and viewers.
IFC feels they have taken their perception of viewers far beyong the traditional numbers channels have normally used as metrics.
The presentation from IFC Research, IFC Marketing, and Sachs Insights showed us a very elegant and effective marriage of segmentation and ethnography.
We broke for lunch instead of questions but I did get a chance to ask what opened the spigots and got senior management to fund an elaborate and sustained research program where before they had stonewalled. With no chance for full details (hope to report more later), they all three agreed that it took a relentless onslaught, including bringing in Sachs to present and “being a pest.”
Great presentation with video I hope we can link to.