Rural . Rural . Rural | Pillar for Bharat and visible vent for India!
<p>Unfortunately, we are going to cross a million COVID-19 positive cases by the end of this week, while Top 10 states are contributing above 84% of the cases as per latest India Situation Report by WHO.</p><p>Amidst this, now everyone has not only started talking, but focusing on…hey…what is there in rural?</p><p>Well, my view is that just measuring ‘Substitution Effect’ to get more enquiries (read demand in general) in rural is not going to help, rather we’ll have to take a micro-look on ‘Income Effect’ in order to give a sharp impetus to what economists call as drawing the ‘Compensated Demand Curve’.</p><p>I love digging deeply to countryside and here are some points in support of what I mentioned above:</p><ol><li><p>Define the rural: If we go by the way RBI uses a threshold of 10,000 inhabitants to define rural, we’ll probably not be in a position to define it for our product/service. It needs to be categorized further, wherein certain other criteria related to income pattern, consumption schema, and most importantly, socio-economic pattern might be required to get added. The new SEC System as developed by MRSI and MRUC might be of some help here, but will again have to be redefined case-to-case basis.</p></li><li><p>Which slice are you talking about: OEM (read seller) will have to define which segment it is going to target. Are you willing to mingle with the rural having agriculture as main source of income or the rural elite or the persons who are simply dependent on ‘2 Bigah Jameen’ and are currently just an aspirant to come to the mainstream? In fact, MoRD’s recent vision document, if gets implemented as planned, will further strengthen my point of view and require a high-pitched approach to this point.</p></li><li><p>Just selling doesn’t work: The two vital elements which give boost in rural are ‘Trust’ and ‘Relationship’. FMCG sector at large is the biggest example to quote here. FMCG giants like HUL, Dabur, Pepsico etc. had realized it decades ago in India and that is the reason why even mom-and-pop stores in rural, trust in these brands even at transactional level! Being one of the oldest agribusiness companies in the country with over 160 years of serving farmers, Rallis India Limited became able to build a long-lasting relationship in rural with their unique 4S campaign and this is one of the foremost reasons to think in this direction pertinently.</p></li><li><p>CX in Rural: I remember my initial stint with India’s first and the largest rural retailer of their time, DSCL, wherein top brass of the organization used to spend significant hours every week brainstorming on what new is to be experienced by “my customer” in the next seasonal launch! Scope of out of the box thinking is far more in rural than urban irrespective of any sector. Givers love to implement here and takers admire to witness the change!</p></li><li><p>Aware and increase the coverage: In case of rural, sales cycle might be required to start from educating rural about your product / service. Maruti understands it very well and that’s the reason why their ‘Video on Wheels’ campaign resulted into 112% increase in CR within a span of 1 year! That’s the reason why Mahindra (Farm Division) focused on educating their SCs at the dealership before educating their esteemed customer base. And that’s the reason why DSCL started laboratory-like comparison videos for each cropping season and for each crop variety!</p></li><li>Technology to connect: There is no dearth of medium to connect with rural. The latest report by IAMAI and Nielsen showed that rural India had 227 million active internet users, 10% more than urban India’s about 205 million, as of November 2019<strong>.</strong> YouTube has in a sense become a Google for rural Indians who prefer video to text and are more comfortable in their regional language. First 100 million users on YouTube were from metros predominantly for entertainment, while the next 100 million were from metros, other cities, towns and villages, and they are using YouTube for information and education, apart from entertainment. Besides, we’ll have to also see why MoRD alone has 6 major mobile applications only and only focusing on rural.</li></ol><p> </p><p> </p>