The rural market has long been the final frontier for marketers. Confidently familiar with consumer tastes and buying habits in cities, brands often struggle to crack the villages. This is where a clutch of companies are making waves. They are helping marketers decipher India’s villages and make new fortunes there.
The key challenge in grabbing a share of the Indian rural pie is distribution. Smart firms have learned that it is critical to set up cost-effective ways of getting products to the hinterland. For example, the tobacco-to-hotels conglomerate ITC has its IT-enabled eChoupal network, while Hindustan Unilever has project Shakti, where women’s self-help groups act as intermediaries. Other private and public players are following suit: the government operates fair-pricing shops, and independent agencies run media vans that show movies in remote villages.
Then there is a host of other marketing issues: market research, strategy formulation and doing pilot launches in remote places. That is why firms such as Fateh Rural, a New Delhi-based firm, are in high demand from brand managers looking to make their mark in the rural market. Its slew of services include research, field-level marketing, doing pilot launches and hand-holding clients through their rural forays. It is also the country’s largest on-demand outreach and data collection network, with 40,000 “digital runners” dispersed in all rural or tier 1, 2, 3 and 4 parts of the country. The company has a strong client roster, including ITC, Tata Motors and Reliance Money. rural marketing agencies in india