The low-down from Rural Conclave 2015


Rural Marketing Association of India (RMAI) as an industry body was established in 2005 with the objective of promoting, improving, developing and strengthening the cause of Rural Marketing in India. Amounting to 12.2% of the world’s population, rural market today, represents the single largest potential market and accounts for 53% of FMCGs and 59% of durables sale in India. Thus, in an attempt  to highlight and reflect upon the challenges and opportunities in rural India, RMAI engaged its various stakeholders- corporates, rural agencies, media, academicians, and influencers, in a knowledge sharing and thought provoking platform with the Rural Marketing Conclave 2015 on May 8-9, 2015 at The Grand, Vasant Kunj.

The Rural Conclave 2015 kicked off with a welcome address by Sanjay Kaul, CEO, Impact communications and President, RMAI, who highlighted the importance of marketing in rural for brands in the competitive brand driven business environment today and some effective measures on how community building and business development as two integral aspects should work hand in hand.

Keynote address of the conclave was delivered by Pradeep Kashyap, CEO-Mart, who spoke about the emerging opportunities in the rural areas of the country. “Defining the Rural Consumer 2.0” was a panel discussion that followed next. The session included Gurpreet Wasi, Principal Consultant, IMRB, Alpana Parida, President, DY Works and Puneet Vidyarthi- Head Rural at JCB India as key speakers.  The session highlighted upon the aspirations of the rural community and people towards an urban lifestyle and the phenomenon had resulted in a coinage of “ruurban” as term defining the fusion between the two.

The first day of RMAI also featured sessions on “Geo Marketing” by Sapna Ahuja, Sr. VP, Strategic Operation and Alliance at Map my India, “Path Breaking Execution in Distribution” by Geroge Angelo-Executive Director at Dabur India, “The Advent of Mobile in rural” by George Paul-Director and Head of Marketing at Ericsson India Ltd and “Mobile as a new media engagement” by Vipul Mathur, Category Head and Head Mobile & Rural Marketing at Hindustan Unilever Ltd.

Other important highlights of the first day were sessions on “Public Private Partnership in Rural Sector” headed by Sanjay Panigrahi-CEO at Sahaj E Village Ltd, Dilip Chenoy MD & CEO at NSDC, “Rural in Digital Space” by Anurag Banerjee, Founder, and Director-Digital Empowerment Foundation. The Flame awards case study for Best Channel Development of the Year and Best Use of Technology featuring Mahindra and Mahindra Financial services and Project Disha by Dabur India Ltd marked the end of day one of the RMAI Rural Conclave 2015.

Day 2 of the conclave began with the special theme address by Dr Shivkumar, Chairman and CEO Pepsico India Holdings Pvt Ltd who spoke about the future opportunities and unexplored ventures of rural marketing in the country. Following him were case study presentations by Vijay Sharma, GM, GSK Consumer Healthcare Ltd and Siddhartha Choudhary-Headm Marketing at WaterHealth International. Both the presentation dwelled on how marketing campaigns initiated by both brands aimed at creating a community impact and marketing of the products came as a natural output.

“Rural is more about doing it the right way” was the theme of another insightful presentation by S Shivakumar-CEO of ITC.  S Shivakumar during his presentation spoke about how marketers should try to fill in the missing elements in rural to better market themselves. Following next were sessions on theme “Where does Creativity Begin” and “E- Commerce, Entrepreneur Case” featuring Sangeeta Talwar, MD, Flyvision Consulting, Raj Kr Jha, National Creative Director at Geometry Global and K S Bhatia, Founder & CEO

The post lunch sessions of Day 2 also featured case study presentations of GoodKnight Fast Card, Marico Ltd, Greenlight Planet and Nerolac that enabled the audiences to get a glimpse and absorb the nuances of the successful journeys in the domain of rural marketing. The end of day 2 was marked by the announcement of Corporate Excellency Awards wherein India Post bagged the Corporate Excellency Award in Government Area. In other categories the award for Excellency in services was given to Sate Bank of India, Hero Motor Corp was adjourned as the winners in Automobile category, LG Electronics bagged the honor in the category of Durables and it was Hindustan Unilever that won the corporate excellency award in the FMCG category.

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