Challenges in Rural / Village advertising
The rural Indian market is growing at a rapid pace for many products and simultaneously, the tastes and choices of rural consumers are getting transformed drastically.So, Rural advertising is gaining ground in today’s competitive advertising market. The services and products that are being offered to rural folks may or may not be different from the ones in urban areas. But the strategic way they are promoted and marketed has a point to research. To face these challenges, marketers are using a combination of advertising and promotional techniques and also unique media communications for rural areas.
There has been a lots of discussion on advertising in Indian villages. Rural India presents immense o
pportunity for sure but for everyone trying to make moolah out of it, there are unique challenges that the area presents and need to be cautious.Today I would like to share my experience, which I have gained after multiple years of off and on field research.
1.Logistics and Distribution: Infrastructure continues to be top challenge in Indian villages. Additionally, dearth of an efficient distribution system prevents complete reach of services/products into rural Indian villages. One of the most preoven models in recent times has been the usage of the Indian postal service by mobile companies is penetrate scratch cards to the rural areas. The mighty Indian Postal Service with more than 1,50,000 post offices is the largest distribution network across the globe, and has more than 120000 centers in India’s villages.
2.Payment collection: Although times are changing very fast,the majority of the population in Indian villages are still devoid of banks. Clearly cash collections, are unclear and hard to monitor, especially since cash cards or technology-driven centralized Point Of Sale (like Suvidha or E-mitra) have still not reached all rural areas. The proven manufacturer,distributor and retailer network has been the only success so far, although setting up such a structure is hardly feasible. Indian Villages advertising – Challenges and Opportunities
3.Pricing: While pricing for Sachet may have worked well for shampoo and detergent brands, the overheads in payment collection create hinderances and don’t always allow easy flow pricing. It is easier to collect in larger amounts as every instance of collection and carrying of cash has associated costs. Extra income, though, isn’t always high since the bulk of rural population is dependent on agricultural and income cycles using crops are very un predictable and not constant as used to be in the case of us salaried professionals.
4.Scaling scope across demographies: India is a country of different cultures, the trend becomes even more scattered in the case of remote villages. Setting up business operations on a PAN-India level encounters different kinds of issues in various states ranging from social to political factors. Any business model where scalability means scaling on real grounds operations is bound to run into unknown issues as we switch from one state to the other. Added the differences in consumer priorities and behavior across locations than in the relatively less scattered urban Indian population.
5.Developing inorganic scale: Developing artificial scale through partnerships has resulted in growing overheads in the rural Indian market. Finding the right person with reach in villages is not so easy to start with. Moreover, there are very few companies who are strong on these people across multiple areas. Hence, a whole-India roll out requires multiple strong partnerships resulting in growing partner management overhead costs.
6.Social and cultural barriers: The kiosk model has successfully in some parts and not worked in other parts of rural India due to socio-cultural fabric. One of the prime reasons for the fall down of the kiosk model was the lack of usage by women ,reason being their discomfort in going to kiosks run by opposite gender. MyHoardings don’t at any point want to play down the potential that is present. Most of the points just go back to the basic assumption that rural India is a volume market and need scale that is organically is the largest challenge. Ones who will succeed in solving these problems will definitely change the world around us.
Most of consumer product and service agencies in India are rapidly targeting Indian village markets for expanding their ground businesses. Some of the companies which have already made their presence registered in the rural areas are LG Electronics, Britannia,Hindustan Unilever, Coca-Cola, Philips, Palmolive and various telecom operators and life insurance companies.For the first time in India, ITC started its rural mall “Choupal Sagar” in remote areas of the country in order to serve high potential rural consumers. This Choupal sagar provided warehouse storage facilities for the storage of farm produce purchased from the farmers and also functions as a shopping-cum-information center for rural consumers.Recently Axis Bank took new measures for growing its network in rural areas. It’s also planning to appoint more field staff in villages and set-up centers with Internet and other basic services at rural branches. The target behind all these efforts is to create awareness and changing spending habits among farmers and others about bank services and benefits.
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