One of the most important aspects of changing India will be unlocking the potential of its rural population. Several daunting roadblocks await, however. Variations in rural population density make uniform logistical planning difficult. Because of the high illiteracy rate, many rural consumers are unable to identify brands, making them susseptible to counterfeits. Low income usually limits large, one-time investments. And rural consumers are swayed by local influencers and traditional media intervention has low impact. To overcome these roadblocks when marketing to rural consumers, consider the following strategies, the four A’s:
- 1.Affordability Offer items in smaller sizes and lower prices and products that cost less to produce. Help consumers save money with DIY product kits, when appropriate. Offer loans for financing options to facilitate larger investments.
- 2.Accessibility Instead of targeting organized retail, it is important to consider targeting 47,000 weekly markets, called haats, the nerve centers of rural commerce where products worth roughly 50,000 crore rupees (US$ 8.4 Billion) change hands annually.
- 3.AwarenessUse vernacular language, integrate local cultural inferences, and design packaging with memorable visual cues to improve brand recall.
- 4.Acceptability Market through word of mouth recommendations from opinion leaders with high credibility.