R V Rajan | April 26, 2006 10:32 IST
Barring a few, notable exceptions, rural marketing in India is still about a van campaign, a badly-made commercial, a few painted walls and the occasional participation in village haats and melas.
But then, "rural" means different things to different people: from 500,000 people for consumer durables, to less than 50,000 for fast-moving consumer goods.
Still, it is heartening to note the increasing awareness of the importance of rural markets - or, at least, of companies wanting to move beyond urban boundaries.
According to estimates by the Rural Marketing Agencies Association of India, the total budget for rural marketing is only about Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion), compared to the over Rs 13,000 crore (Rs 130 billion) allotted to mass media.
This is grossly inadequate to cover the huge potential for different products in rural markets. Of course, clients' reluctance to spend big money for bigger results in rural markets is because there are no standard performance yardsticks for judging the efficacy of the rural marketing efforts.
The TRPs and NRS/IRS data help you determine the efficacy of TV and press marketing. But there is no study to tell you what is the ideal cost per contact or what is the ideal number of eyeballs or footfalls for different rural activities.
But only consider the huge successes of some regional brands, especially in the FMCG sector, which are giving the multinationals a run for their money.
Companies like Cavin Kare (Chik Shampoo, Meera Herbal Powder, Fairever Cream and so on), Anchor (100 per cent vegetarian toothpaste), Ghadi detergent powder and Power soap are proof that regional brands can become brands to reckon with. And don't forget Nirma, the most enduring example of a brand that began as a regional player and is now a giant.
What did these products do that was so different? Most of them identified a segment that was vacant in terms of product and area of... [continues]
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