The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) print publication maintains a loyal readership; however 30 percent of its readers are over the age of 70. CSM needed to leverage its strengths and attract younger audiences. To do so they wanted to find out more about both general news readers and their target audience as it relates to their journalistic likes and dislikes, what their current news diet consists of, and what it lacks.
CSM had conducted extensive quantitative research to arrive at their audience segments. While the idea of running a subsequent quantitative study did cross their minds, they knew that by doing so they ran a very high risk of generating basic, almost superficial responses. They wanted the “why” and to truly connect with and understand their audience. Partnering with iModerate, a qualitative approach was designed in which one-on-one conversations were employed to engage “General News Readers” and CSM’s target market.
iModerate’s conversations brought the audience segments to life for CSM. The groups went from being flat descriptions on paper to living, breathing people. Editorially, the insights provided additional support for CSM’s focus on the human element as a vital component to their stories. The journalists themselves really latched onto the conversations too. Having specific examples of stories the audience liked and disliked and what sites they use for their news was something they could readily relate to.
Lastly, from a marketing perspective, the results gave CSM the assurance they needed to promote their history and reputation as a balanced news source, as both the industry and current readers recognize them as such. This is extremely opportune for CSM, as the study clearly showed that a balanced news source is precisely what potential new readers in their target audience are looking for.