How to Plan a Rural Campaign
A usual question that a rural marketer often is asked, “Cost per contact for a rural outreach campaign is too high. How can I bring efficiency in my budgets?”. Before answering this question, we attempt to define Rural India.
Q 1:- What is Rural
Answer: – The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) defines ‘rural’ as an area with a population density of up to 400 square kilometer, villages with clear surveyed boundaries and 75% of male working population involved in agriculture and allied activities.
RBI defines rural areas as those areas with a population of less than 49,000 (tier -3 to tier-6 cities)
It is generally said that the rural areas house up to 70% of India’s population. Rural India contributes a large chunk to India’s GDP by way of agriculture, self-employment, services, construction etc.
As per National Sample Survey 63rd round “monthly per capita expenditure”, rural expenditure accounts for 55% of total national monthly expenditure.
The rural population accounts for one-third of the total Indian Fast Moving Consumer Goods sales
Q 2:- What it means to marketers?
Answer: – Nothing.
Q 3:- How should it be redefined from a Marketer perspective?
Answer: – Rural is unreached, virgin territories for a brand.
Thus, rural for a computer peripheral company, for a high end camera company and that for an FMCG brand can’t be the same.
Q 4:– How to define this population as a market place?
Answer: – Rural is not a homogeneous mass of population. It has applicability that is vast and wide. Tamil Nadu is not Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh is not Gujarat
Q 5:- Can we have a template approach for this heterogeneous mass?
Answer: – As per the Census of India 2011, there are 7,935 towns in the country.
The number of towns has increased by 2,774 since 2001.
Many of these towns are part of urban agglomerations and the rest are independent towns. The total number of urban agglomerations/Towns are 6166 in the country.
No Marketer can claim to know all of these Towns. If a Marketer has traveled to most of these markets, that necessarily means he has covered at the outset approx. 30% of the places. This also means that his learning is at least a decade old.
Q 6:- How?
Answer:– The best of marketer travelling for 20 days in a month X 12 months X 10 years X at the best 1 such locations = 2400 locations.
Now, this person would have traveled largely across 2-3 states in a year at the best. This means, he has traveled largely in 8-10 states.
India is a young country. This means that if this guy started the job at the age of 22 and is now 32. The youngsters of his age also have grown by the same years.
Q 7. Now, those who he met with and claims to know firsthand, have they retained the same thought and behave the same way as they used to do 6-10 years back?
Answer: – It is highly unlikely. This simply means no one knows Rural India.
Also, the advent of technology, smart phones, Internet, 3-G and growth in buying is a recent phenomenon of last 6-7 years.The impact in Rural India is visible only in last 3-5 years. This means that no Marketer in the country knows this rural more than 10%
And yet we have rural experts.
Q 8:– How to define a Rural Expert?
Answer:- A rural expert is the person who can bring to the table the understanding of culture of targeted zones, states, cities, villages in that order of thinness.
She can define the touch points for these markets.
She understands that each project is yet a learning for her also. S
She can make an impact with technology and retain the learning for the next set of generations as we say artificial intelligence is understanding us now.
Q 9:- How she operates on a rural project?
Answer: – She first understands the topography of the place, the soil, the crop, the usual occupation from where earning comes for masses.
She defines selective touch points.
She now maps availability of handsets that are smartphones and rest that are feature phones. She creates visual communication with jargon free words and tests that to at least 50 people per market.
Now, she gets the message redone for say a voice Short message Service, an enhanced message or a Whatsapp video basis social and digital media consumption habits of the TG.
She fully understands that the content is the key. How to set the delivery up and who is identified as the messenger are salient points. It is the message bearers, who are the only communicators. She should recommend organizations to put their monies on the messenger.
Q 10:– Would you have novelty through hi-end technology enabled fabrications, high end equipment?
Answer: – If the caliber of the guy who takes the talks to these markets is not that of you, me and our colleagues, or equivalent of a doctor, engineer and a chartered accountant, it’s injustice to any money being spent in these markets.
So, guys choose wisely. Invest in people who carry the message.
Q 11:- What is average cost per contact?
Answer: – Firstly, let’s understand what does this mean and from where this term has generated. This means spread of rupees spent vs. the numbers who may have possibly seen a message.
This term was coined by media guys in advertising agencies when no other benchmark existed to measure the efficacy of a campaign.
Argument against this term is – no media can claim to know exactly as to how many guys saw, received, understood, and made an opinion about a message the way it was intended.
They at the best, even today can say that these many houses, newspapers delivered, historically or in an extrapolated survey finding basis, these many had the opportunity to read, these many read.
They can also possibly state that these many responded. Or, these many households with digital or manual set top boxes noted the particular channel for a particular program airing a particular message to a particular room.
Whether there was anyone in the room, whether her concentration was on the message, whether she was the intended recipient, whether message was decoded right, what could be the curiosity that she may have to retain, remember and act, only God knows about it.
In one line submission, it’s at the best a guesstimate of a widely circulated assumption basis known habits of years as no on the go survey is being done at this scale to give you confidence
Whereas, in a direct interaction program, you can not only pick the feedback, you can re-expose the beneficiaries with the intended message, get a feedback in their exact words and check their exact retention, and all that is possible in an almost exactness that no media in the world can get you.
Yet, we will be busy creating films with celebrities and air them across multiple channels, do lot of surround spends. Create digital sound and expect good eyeballs, resulting into return on investments.
Clarion Call: – So, guys, it’s a wake-up call. Stand up for the direct one to one and one to many interactions. Talented guys at the end of the last mile targetedg the target group with the precision of serving a lady in a parlor.
None of your pennies will go waste ever. And each learning will be unique for the industry and for the world. So, think through and act.
Adios. Sayonara. Khushamdid.
Talk2users is marketing consultancy in Delhi NCR