The 5th Annual Rural Marketing Strategies Conference held at Mumbai between July 18th and 20th, 2012, was a must-attend for professionals that stand to gain from marketing insights shared in the conference. It covered a range of areas starting from Marketing & Sales, Trade Marketing, Customer Propositions, Branding, Advertising & Communication, to Product Research, Marketing Analytics & Intelligence, Business Analysis & Planning and Strategic Management. Organised by global event and corporate services company Marcus Evans, the event was a platform for marketers looking for new opportunities to network and assimilate intelligence on aspects of rural marketing strategies. Subjects delving into distribution innovation; promotion, pricing innovation and cost management; partnership-building; communication and brand management; consumer insights and use of technology in rural strategies were discussed.
The list of key speakers at the event included industry big-wigs like S Sivakumar, CEO, ITC Agri Business; G Sundararaman, Executive Vice President, Corporate Development, Godrej & Boyce; BM Vyas, Former Managing Director, GCMMF LTD (AMUL); Dr Anurag Priyadarshee, Director Rural Business and Planning, Department of Posts, Government of India and Sanjeev Goyle, Senior VP Marketing, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd Farm Equipment Sector (Tractor Division). Vritti i-Media was a Silver Sponsor at the event, where Mr. Rajesh Radhakrishnan, Marketing Head, Vritti i-Media, presented his views on new trends and developments with respect to rural marketing and advertising inIndia.
In his presentation, Mr Rajesh elaborated on grasping the invaluable demand base and consumer loyalty in rural markets by harnessing novel breakthroughs in distribution, promotion, pricing and media technology vehicles. Although wall paintings, hoardings, puppet shows, road shows, dramas, free sampling and onsite demos were tried and tested tools of rural marketing, the need for a more flexible, easily manageable, cost-effective medium has been felt by the leaders of the industry.
In this regard, Vritti i-Media has initiated a ground-breaking innovation in rural advertising by developing a computer-controlled audio advertisement network across ST bus stations in Maharashtra. The fact that the iMedia Audio Network is available at 100+ MSRTC bus stations in the state only highlights the vast reach and ensured effectiveness of the medium. Through its public private partnership with MSRTC, the company has been able to extend its marketing channel to the state’s most inaccessible regions by covering all districts, important taluka towns as well as pilgrimage towns. In fact, the company has strategically touched those towns where its marketing channels can reach populations from every village in Maharashtra.
To evince the success of these methods, Mr Rajesh shared several success stories with the audience. He explained how by employing the mentioned medium, Lokmat’s newspaper sales at bus stands grew 25%, while the company was also able to effectively entrench top-of-the-mind recall and encourage sales for FMCG brand Suhana in Maharashtra. In the case of Maruti, the brand garnered top of mind recall in talukas and received 100+ enquiries at ten taluka locations for a month. In fact, there have been instances when farmers have come to bus stands just to listen to the farmer advisories issued by the government. Moreover, Maharashtra State’s agriculture department has bagged several e-governance project awards for this innovation.
Nielsen conducted a Media Effectiveness Study of audio advertising at bus stations and compared this medium with other media at bus stations. It found that 98% respondents rated the audio medium as useful, while 99% of respondents highly appreciated its sound clarity. An average of 2.2 brands were recalled through this medium, which was also found to have a captive audience of 85% at ST bus stands. However, the list of iMedia Audio Network’s benefits does not end there.
In addition to a sure captive audience, the medium also integrates public utility value with its PA system to reach a floating population of 100 million. Apart from this, the medium is highly cost-effective with a price of less than a paise per person. It creates ten times more impact at 10% of the cost of traditional media. Since it can be centrally controlled, its content delivery system enables advertisements to go live in a few minutes. The company is shortly looking to provide its rural marketing services in Punjab and Karnataka. Rural social-economic conditions in these states make them perfect candidates for increased marketing exercises here, allowing Vritti i-Media to leverage their channels for the benefit of advertisers looking for greater ground-level marketing reach in these regions.