Key players in the industry investing more in experiential initiatives of rural marketing


With a comprehensive knowledge of consumer insights, and over two decades of experience in brand marketing solutions, Dalveer Singh, Head Experiential Marketing, Asia Pacific , Dialogue Factory, has been a pioneer in successfully implementing & replicating the Indian model on rural and low income consumer operations in over 10 other emerging markets. In this interview with EE, he talks about the challenges associated with the rural markets and how brands are taking over the experiential route to reach out to this audience.

EE: How important is the rural market for brands?

I think that rural India is going to be the next emerging market for the world. It is a market with emerging income, aspirations and purchasing power. The rural market has a huge potential to tap into first time buyers across products thereby making it a virgin market for most categories.

With the right product – value equation the next generation of brands can completely be built through rural markets alone.

EE: What are the top three benefits that a brand can achieve by reaching out to the rural audience via the experiential route?

Rural India, unlike the popular perception, is not low spender but a value seeker. Since most of rural India has limited media reach, experiential initiatives are the best ways to connect with them.

Experiential marketing really helps connect with the target group at three important levels – Sensorial, Personal as well as, Emotional

The experiential route helps the consumer to touch, feel, smell and taste the product thereby resulting in a stronger impression, engagement and talkability.

EE: As a player in the experiential industry, what are the top challenges you face to execute the initiatives?

While there are multiple layers to it but I would broadly put it as – Cost and Measurability

Cost: Rural India is spread across 6.2 lakh villages covering over 70 per cent of the population. Unlike an urban centre, that is concentrated around a particular hub, villages are spread wide and far. This makes the cost of reaching the biggest challenge hence it becomes really important to build cost effective mediums to tap these markets.  

Monitoring: Unlike a TV medium where there exist tracking and monitoring tools , the rural marketing environment does not have these syndicated tools that can help the marketing team sitting in, for instance, Mumbai to monitor the promotion going on in Bhilwada. We at Dialogue Factory are working on the industry’s best monitoring tool that would help the brand team track at a click of a button.

EE: As experiential activities require a high investment, do you see many brands investing in this?

Absolutely yes. Companies like HUL, Colgate, Godrej actually get a larger pie of their sales from rural than urban.  With changing trends, key players in the industry are beginning to invest more in experiential initiatives of rural marketing.

EE: Which sectors are investing more in rural markets? Do you see any noticeable trend?

The expansion to rural markets is not restricted to a particular sector. Companies from FMCG, telecom, local education institutes, auto, agri & many local and regional brands (hosiery , tea) are investing in rural markets.

Tags assigned to this article:
Dalveer Singh Dialog factory Group M rural marketing

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