Similarities in urban rural consumer behaviour discussed at seminar

MUMBAI: One of the sessions at the ongoing Rural Marketing Summit being organised by Ficci looked at rural consumer behaviour. The session shed light on the fact that rural folk are not that different from their urban counterparts when it comes ot choice of products.



P&G India chairman Bharat Patel who chaired the

session argued that the rural consumer should not be

treated as someone quite different from his urban

counterpart. "For instance television is just as effective an advertising means to reach them as it is in the

cities. The notion that rural people watch Aamchi

Mathi Aamchi Manse (a DD show) is wrong. What

marketers should also understand is that the wholesale

system can be very effective in reaching the rural


"However one difference is that in rural areas men

have more power in purchase decisions. Also they buy much more on a daily basis on account of their daily wages."



Pepsico India director Westen region Praveen Someshwar too spoke about the power of television as a marketing vehicle. "40 per cent of the rural population spends their leisure time in front of the TV. They watch films on TV once a week. Also the recall for brand ambassadors is as high in rural areas as it is in Urban. Amitabh Bhachchan has a recall of 83 per cent.

"Sachin has a recall value of 80 per cent. When we

launched our 200 ml product we used hoardings and

banners to get the message across. This was supported by TVCs. The result was a shift in perception about cold drinks. From being an expensive value proposition our product as seen as being reasonably priced.

AC Nielsen ORG Marg India executive director - retail measurement service Sujit Dasmunshi pointed out that in one out of four rural households the child is the most educated member. Therefore marketers would do well to keep an eye on the upcoming generation, which will harbour aspirational needs.



Quoting NRS data he said that 30 per cent of rural households have television. Out of this 36 per cent have access to cable and satellite.

"When you look at the population base this is a huge

number. Also cricket is a great platform for

advertisers to reach the rural masses especially in

the North and West."

According to him one of the myths surrounding rural

marketing is the fact that only sachets do well. "Jams

have a range from 12 grams to one kilo. In fact

sachets no longer are the biggest contributor to the

kitty of FMCGs. However that is not to say that sachets are passe. Also our research shows that national brands can do well in local areas. There are some categories where the share of the local brand is negligible.

"Products that are faring really well in rural areas

are Parle G, Lifebuoy, Lux, Nirma and Ghari. There is not much difference in product importance between

urban and rural areas. Toilet soaps come out on top in

both regions. Another myth is that attempting to reach

the rural population directly does not pay off. In the

case of Stay Free Sanitary ware they managed to

increase their share from 41-60 per cent by making

marginal improvements in the dealer network."

Another session last evening dealt with how companies go about developing products for the rural market. Tata AIG Life Insurance director alternative channels Sudershan Banerjee said that the company used mobile vans to spread the message about their microinsurance services. "Our scheme focusses on livelihood generation through community enterprises. We created a film showing how a married woman benfits. 50,000 people have bought our scheme. We are trying to get women to spread the message."

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