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Rural transformation opens doors for brands

Government’s social welfare schemes and technological disruption are bringing paradigm shift in the rural markets 

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MART, a leading marketing management and consulting firm organised a Rural Summit 2018 in New Delhi Thursday. The summit saw a representation from India’s leading thought leaders, corporates, government officials and development professionals, academia, and media. 

Speaking in the first session, MART’s founder, Pradeep Kashyap, recounting his association with rural India, classified the 90s as the decade of DENIAL by the Indian marketeers, followed by decade of DOUBT (2000-10) while the current decade is when corporate India voyaged beyond the metal roads to DISCOVER rural markets, though still not fully convinced of the opportunities. The next decade, he says will be of DIGITAL, when the rural markets will be redefined, with the accompanying disruption that technology brings with it. 

Sharing the Hero MotoCorp’s success in rural markets, Danish Siddiqui, National Head, Rural Marketing at the two wheeler company emphasised the paradigm shift being observed in the market is true. He highlighted that Hero MotoCorp is developing business models and looking out for shift in micro-trends for co-creating with the bottom of the pyramid. He shared the emerging trend of the lady of the house, age group 35- 40 years with her aspirations to ride a two –wheeler, along with the children making a purchasing decision and therefore the need for marketeers to design programmes to influence decisions catering to these changing trends. He shared Hero MotoCorp’s programme Chalo Sakhi Pleasure Seekhein, where the response of 18+ year girls was overwhelming. 

Nitin Puri- Senior President, Food & Agribusiness at Yes Bank shared that teens should be educated about Rural India and companies are now more willing to invest in rural so marketing, packaging, collection, processing will be important and also coming back to the roots of consumers will be important.

Speaking on rural transformation, Dalveer Singh, Head, Experiential Marketing, APAC - WPP Group, shared some some government schemes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) is putting money into the pockets of BPL families and rural labourers who are turning to be big consumer group of brands. Similarly, he highlighted the role Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in providing last mile connectivity to the rural areas which strengthened the distribution network for the marketers in the hinterlands. Similarly, he also highlighted the rural transformation brought by National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) and rural housing scheme. 

Radharani Mitra, Global Creative Advisor, BBC Media Action broadly focused on the value of communication and thereby behavior change communication or seed in a food for thought for the rural folk to think in a certain manner. She shared the vast potential of rural India and that geography is history, appetite for risk and importance of creating engaging content is the mantra for having a successful campaign which in turn helps connect with the masses. She shared that any technology is of use only if it is scalable as well as adaptable by people.

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