Cellular service provider Airtel is on an upcountry marketing overdrive in Tamil Nadu. It recently announced the launch of Airtel Express, a series of initiatives and a mass contact programme for customers to go mobile instantly, at their doorstep.
The programme has been drawn up for a period of a month, and will cover 100 towns. Several cellular services have taken the highways to rural Tamil Nadu in a bid to educate and woo the sub-urban audiences.
Most cellular services in the state have made their forays periodically into the rural heartlands of the state. Reliance has consistently announced its entry into upcountry markets with one-to-one reach out programmes. Tata Indicom had recently ventured forth into the upcountry markets riding on its tie-up with Rajnikant-starrer Chandramukhi.
Raghunath Mandava, Vice-President (Operations), Mobility, Tamil Nadu and Chennai, Bharti Televentures Ltd, said, “Airtel Express is a first of its kind movement in Tamil Nadu and it is our initiative to further bolster the overall telecom landscape by offering the most affordable and easy options to customers choosing to go mobile. More importantly, these options, for the first time, are being taken to the customer's doorstep.”
A lot of marketing initiatives had been undertaken by Reliance Infocomm’s marketing communciations team to win over the confidence of the locals, company sources said. Almost all doors are knocked with the help of promoters, informing residents about the advent of RIM, its advantages, features and offers. The belief is that in rural markets, one-on-one meeting with customers also result in tremendous ‘emotional bonding’.
The marketing team also organises traditional folk performances, including Karagattam, Poikal Kudirai, Mattu Vandi Campaign with bells on bullocks, the symbols of festive occasions in Tamil Nadu.
With the state-owned BSNL enjoying a first mover advantage over private players in terms of reaching rural markets, private players are now focused on tapping the masses through reach-out programmes.
“In Rome, do as the Romans do! Instead of going hi-fi in a small town, we go the local way. All people are locally hired. We hire bullock carts, drummers and musicians. Wall posters, town specific jingles on auto rickshaws attract everybody,” disclosed a Reliance Infocomm official from ROTN (Rest of Tamil Nadu).
Market watchers added that the personal contact would help in educating the rural audiences better on a relatively high-information category like mobile. The Airtel caravan would sell prepaid and post paid connections and present bundled handset offers too, said a company release.