Rural consumer is not a poor urban consumer

Marketers need to look beyond price-led innovation and ATL activities while marketing to rural customers, and create value for them, say industry experts

e4m by Abid Hasan
Updated: Mar 6, 2012 8:30 AM
Rural consumer is not a poor urban consumer

Media and communication evolution is bringing about a lot of changes in rural markets. Technological advancements such as mobile phones and DTH connectivity have made a huge impact. It has thus become imperative for marketers to focus on understanding the different needs of the rural consumer and extracting the full potential of rural marketing, said Manisha Lath Gupta, CMO, Axis Bank.

She cited an example of a product such as toothpaste. A toothpaste brand that works for the urban consumer will not work for the rural consumers if marketed as defense against cavities, as rural consumers will not relate to it. “The rural market is still a “spill-over” category and marketers need to start innovating in the rural market rather than just working on price-points and packaging,” said Gupta.

Rural areas have poor sewage and garbage collection. Marketers should serve rural consumers by focusing on the before mentioned areas. By understanding the consumer’s livelihood and their way of living, marketing can be done in a sustainable way, Gupta observed.

Siva Nagrajan, MD, Mother Dairy, stated that rural India held a big opportunity for marketers. It is extremely important for marketers to understand the rural mindset, their income and spending patterns, penetration of various products in the market and most importantly, give value to the producer.

He said, “For brands to set up a strong base in a rural market, it is essential to realise that the rural consumer is not a poor urban consumer. Marketers should not solely rely on price-led innovations but focus on offering product value. Marketers need to have an interdependent eco-system, which involves players such as the government, NGOs, banks, and so on.”

Manisha Lath Gupta and Siva Nagrajan were speakers at AIMA’s second annual World Marketing Congress, held in New Delhi on March 2-3. The theme for this year’s congress was Exploding Marketing (Power).

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