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The Great Indian Rural Mall: Winning markets through Rural Melas

The Great Indian Rural Mall: Winning markets through Rural Melas

I have highlighted the importance of Melas in rural market. With more than 100 important Melas held throughout the year, crores of revenue can be generated from them.

Welcome back friends, in the series of The Great Indian Rural Mall, in my last video and blog, I discussed about the importance of Rural Haats in reaching rural markets. While simplifying rural marketing, today in the second blog of the series, I am going to discuss the effectiveness of Rural Melas in reaching the maximum number of rural consumers.

A market that generates thousands of crores of business every year attracting crores of consumers, a market where consumers come with their family for purchasing and entertainment, market where marketers can interact with their consumes. Yes, I am talking about Rural Melas, a platform that no marketer can miss.  

In India, there are more than 25,000 melas held every year out of which top 100 Melas are of significance to marketers since they have longer duration and attracting crores of consumers for shopping and entertainment. As many as 70% of visitors in the Melas come from nearby villages. These melas provide golden opportunity to the marketers to showcase and give first hand experience of their brands to the rural consumers.

Melas are held periodically, seasonally or annually, they can be religious, cultural, commercial or sports related. In rural India, Melas carry great importance for commodity exchange, trade, cultural activities, religious rituals, entertainment and sports. Due to their higher religious and cultural significance, people visit Melas with their families and kids for leisure and shopping.

Melas offer opportunity for long term marketing tie-ups with wholesalers and traders. Some small producers transact more business at a single large mela than they do by sitting at single haat over several months. 

The mass gathering provides a big platform for companies to showcase their brands by opening their stalls, branding at strategic points, experiential marketing and sampling. Marketers can shine in such Melas by using right mix of media... conventional media such as Radio, TV, newspaper, outdoor media, direct marketing and non-conventional media such as video vans, theatre, songs, puppet along with magic shows.

Now a days companies are using CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities to reach the masses. They are also using technology and innovation to outperform their reach with the consumers. Companies need to hire partners that have a good understanding of the consumers and can develop right communication mix that can generate Attention, Interest, Desire and Action which is also called AIDA model. Right communication strategy along with innovation can be lethal to make a mark in the Melas.

On of the largest such human congregation in India known as Kumbh Mela, held every third year, rotating in four locations; Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. However, Magh Mela, organised every year in Allahabad, is also called Mini Kumbh. The 56-day long Kumbh Mela in Allahabad in 2013, witnessed 12 crore visitors and estimated to have done a business of Rs 12,000 crore. The marketers can get the lion’s share by approaching with right mix of marketing strategies.

Here, I am going to share two important success stories of consumer outreach in melas. The first one by Hindustan Unilever (HUL), created a buzz across the world. In 2013 Allahabad Kumbh Mela, HUL caught the eyeballs through its Roti campaign. The innovative marketing activity has been, so far, known as the most successful and talked about branding campaign in the history of branding activities in any melas. The FMCG company, for its Lifebuoy soap, created a special heat stamp and embossed a message ‘Lifebuoy se haath dhoye kya?’ (Did you wash your hands with Lifebuoy?) on the Rotis (Indian bread). For this, HUL did a tie-up with local dhabas and restaurants where in 25 lakh rotis at lunch served to the devotees with this message. This simple, clutter breaking idea helped the company reach out to a massive audience, with Lifebuoy’s simple but important message. 

Another big mela activation story came with leading FMCG company, Dabur in Magh Mela in 2018 in Allahabad. The company ran a campaign, ‘Dabur Red Paste Dant Snan’. Under the initiative, at multiple locations across the Mela, visitors were invited to brush with Dabur Red paste. Massive visibility was created around “Dabur Red Paste Dant Snan” through posters and banners at key touch-points. With this initiative, Dabur India spread message of oral hygiene amongst lakhs of devotees, making them potential consumers of the product for future. 

Besides Kumbh, some prominent melas where marketers can catch up with large rural population are Nauchandi and Bateshwar melas in Uttar Pradesh, Nagaur, Pushkar and Desert fairs in Rajasthan; Gangasagar Mela in West Bengal, Surajkund Mela in Haryana; Jagannathpuri Rath Yatra in Odisha, Sonepur Mela in Bihar among many others.  

Considering the mass gathering majority of auto, FMCG, telecom, agriculture, consumer durables companies are latching this opportunity to showcase and connect with the consumers. Melas provide great platform to create connect with millions of rural consumers and still the rural consumers are open to new 

products and services, so there lies big opportunities for the marketers. 

Here is a place where you can showcase your brands in a big way. Friends, the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad is just few months away, so to generate big business, get ready to anchor your ship in the forthcoming Kumbh.

If you would like to get a detailed plan or any assistance on Melas, write in the comment section, we will be happy to assist you in planning your Mela activations. 

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To watch the video on How to win big in Rural Haats.

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