Top Story


Home >> Marketing >> Article

Marketers, ignore the potential of the upcountry market at your own risk

Font Size   16
Marketers, ignore the potential of the upcountry market at your own risk

The recent Bollywood hit 'Bunty aur Babli' reflects the hopes and aspirations of small town India that is aware, educated, and what's more, even has the spending clout to match their city-dwelling cousins. One can refer to them as country cousins or country bumpkin at his/her own risk.

Said, RC&M Business Head, Priya Monga, "I feel that the semi-urban markets today are showing much faster growth in terms of increased purchasing power, increased awareness level of products and the desire to improve living standards. All this has made it imperative for companies to offer the right product, with the required features and at competitive prices to these markets."

"While the urban markets are growing at a rate of approximately 35 per cent, in semi-urban areas this growth has been almost 100 per cent. This year also, these markets will show a good growth rate, keeping in mind the various initiatives and policies that the government has taken to upgrade the lifestyle of the people, and to help various companies to reach even the remotest areas. The other factor that will drive growth of these markets is increase in the education level in these areas," she pointed out.

Monga further said that recognising the untapped potential of this market, several marketers had increased their marketing spends in semi-urban areas. "There is a large market just waiting to be tapped. And the task remains to reach out to the customer in the most efficient and effective manner," she maintained.

"Among the companies focusing on the semi-urban areas are CTV and refrigerator manufacturers, which already have a high penetration in urban areas," Monga said. "In 1997-98, rural sales formed about 25 per cent of the total sales for CTVs, refrigerators and washing machines. This went up to 36 per cent in 2001-02, and are expected to go as high as 41 per cent in 2006-07," she added.

Elaborating on the work done by RC&M in markets with low levels of penetration, Monga said that brand familiarity and brand experience remained the most important tasks for her company.

"While advertising and promotions have a role to play, several marketers are realising that it is far more economical and effective to employ the services of an agency which specialises in upcountry marketing. We provide a host of services to our clients, which enable them to connect with the consumer. Some of the work that we have done in the recent past includes product launches, for which we have undertaken house-to-house promotions, direct marketing, retail uplift exercise, mystery customer exercise, market priortisation, distribution networking, road shows, events, mobile exhibitions, on-line marketing, static promotions ((bill boards, hoardings, dealer boards, wall painting, etc), co-promotion at petrol pumps and customer loyalty programmes," Monga added.

Further elaborating on the target audience, Monga said that it was at two levels – level one was the rural audience with low literacy but high aspirational values, while level two was the upcountry audience residing in big towns, districts, tehsils, block levels, who were exposed to media and new trends and had easy access to solutions.

No longer are these small towns those nameless, faceless dots that one whizzes past while traveling in an express train. With marketers thronging to tap the potential that they offer, we will soon see the small town Buntys and Bablis crossing over to the other side. Confused? Refer to a dialogue from this comic caper (roughly translated), "There are two kinds of people in this world – the ones who serve tea and the ones who drink it. The sooner you move to the other side, the better." The Buntys and Bablis are being served much more than tea now and thank goodness for that!


Vijay Mansukhani, speaks to exchange4media about the resurgence of Onida, the scope of growth of consumer electronics market in India and the reasons why Indian consumer electronics brands don’t compete on a global scale

Projjol Banerjea opens up about hiring Anne Macdonald and GroupM's Rob Norman, and the brand's new identity

Meera Iyer tells exchange4media that in FY 2016/17, bigbasket clocked a revenue of Rs 1,400 crore. The online supermarket currently stands at 70,000 orders a day, with operations in 25 cities.

CMO, Kashyap Vadapalli on the start-up’s marketing play, why it has decided to stay away from IPL and response to its furniture rental apps

In terms of affiliates, India ranks on the top. Spurred by the fast growth of mobile users and hence internet users, there are millions of websites, apps, WAP-sites and blogs using affiliate marketing...

Insecurity in the workplace due to the idea of AI encroaching on your job, or being sidelined at work because of your small town background? Sandeep Goyal has the right answers to help you deal with w...

As National Sales Head at, Ashish aims to bring on board a maximum number of advertising partners and consolidate the network’s position as a leader in the space.