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DDB Mudra readies Terra for high growth

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MUMBAI: With rural and semi-urban India seeing rapid growth in income and consumption, DDB Mudra Group?s rural marketing agency Terra is gearing up to seize the opportunity.

Almost four years into existence, Terra is drawing up plans to expand. The workforce has been built gradually over the years to a strength of 100, skills have been acquired through a process of learning from experience, and the agency is ready to pitch aggressively for more business.

Says DDB Mudra Max head and president (experiential, retail and OOH) Mandeep Malhotra, ?India is a country where media darkness is significant considering the population of the towns and villages. As an agency Terra has come a long way in a short time. Our work force stands at 100 today and we have teams that can cater to a population of 5000 people at a time. Whenever a corporate or public service body calls for a pitch for rural marketing, Terra is definitely considered.?

Having recently appointed Rohit Samarth as senior vice president to assist Malhotra, Terra is looking to target the virgin territories of the heartland.

Says Samarth, ?Though 2011 was not so good, we expect 2012 to be a good year in the communication sector. We as an agency have a well spread network with people actually living in the areas where the communication has to be carried out. We expect to cash in on the momentum we have built over the years and gain pace into our operations.?

Industry experts believe that the rural marketing space itself has evolved to a great extent in the past five years. At a time when telecommunications and mobile has penetrated the semi urban and rural spaces, the population in these areas has seen a sea change in outlook and exposure. This has altered their attitudes and increased their needs, wants and desires. Fundamentally speaking, the rural audience has evolved.

Samarth says, ?Today we find rural pockets around big cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Rural marketing is becoming more about experiential marketing in this age.?

Though the industry as a whole may still be struggling to find its ground, Malhotra is sure that the agency has a bright future. ?We are confident that the future for Terra is bright considering the growth and learning it has registered for the past four to five years. As an industry on the whole, the future is a tad bit uncertain considering its unorganised nature. The margins are also not that lucrative,? he explains.

Recognising the challenges of the market, Malhotra is not yet ready to share his growth targets. "We will be aggressive," is all that he is willing to say at this stage.

So get ready to hear more from Malhotra as he presses the accelerator to post high growth this year.

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