The word of mouth works!

Askari adds that rural marketing in South India is comparatively easier than North

Almost a decade ago, advertising professional Khurram Askari quit his job, for the simple reason that there was nothing creatively challenging Hyderabad had to offer. Back then, he veered towards a hardly untapped territory — that of a rural marketer. An occupation which demanded that he and his team travel through the heartland of South India — from village to village — promoting the usage of different FMCG and food brands, motorbikes, affordable cars and so on.

Askari, who was among the 25 people recently felicitated with the “Most Talented Rural Marketing Professional in India Award” by CMO Asia and the Rural Marketing Forum, says that India’s towns and villages are responsible for 50 per cent of the country’s GDP today. With the urban markets stagnating over the last few years, the corporates have been increasingly trying to develop a rural consumer base. And Askari is the man for the job in the region.

“Corporations consult with specialists like me about how to send their brand message to villages. We conduct research in these areas and come up with communication strategies, such as street plays and burra kathas,” he says.

Askari adds that rural marketing in South India is comparatively easier than North, because of the infrastructure and connectivity through roads, more villages have electricity in the South and also the literacy rate is around 65 per cent, so it helps in explaining a prospective user, what a product is all about. He says, “With TV and mobile phones penetrating into the rural areas, a sense of aspiration has been self-instilled, because of which people want to invest in cars, bikes, fridges or any other durables. But even then, more than a TV ad, word of mouth works best for any brand in these areas.”

( Source : dc )
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