Rise In Internet Users In Rural India A Call For Mobile Marketing Strategy
Due to increase in use of mobile devices in rural India. India has a huge opportunity for mobile commerce. The rural people are able to explore low cost, latest products which they fail to get from the market. Recognizing this fact, companies are finding ways to penetrate the rural market the with a sound mobile marketing strategy.
In rural India, mobile handset penetration is growing at a faster rate as compared to the urban areas. By 2020, half of the internet users will be from rural India said a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The internet penetration in rural could grow to as much as 35%. The penetration is much higher than television, leaving brands with no other option than the mobile medium to reach the larger segment of the audience.
Due to the digital boom 60% of the country’s population would have smartphones and fast and reliable data connectivity by 2025. With the increase in mobile usage the buying pattern is showing positive trend. The market has the potential to reach $10 billion to $ 12 billion.
The online shoppers would reach to 450 million because of high internet penetration. By 2021 retail M- commerce sale would double from $ 20.6 billion to $ 40.5 billion.
Mobile seems to be the simplest solution to connect well with the rather disconnected rural consumers.
Customers in rural India may not have access to television or computers, but they are likely to have a mobile phone and that’s where a brand needs to reach. A mobile-first strategy is the need of the hour to connect with rural consumers and it can be used for brand building, product refinement and even enhance the target audience.
Numbers do the talking here.
There are about six lakh villages in India that are media dark but account for 60% of the new mobile subscription growth.
With such strong numbers that are rising by the minute, brands have to take the mobile route to reach and engage their potential audience.
According to a Colgate-Palmolive (India) Limited spokesperson, “With growing connectivity, increasing smartphone penetration and data adoption, mobile-first will definitely be a key strategy to reach the rural TG.”
The reach and affordability of the mobile medium allow personalization and Geo-targeting.
With affordable smartphones and mobile internet, brands can now experiment beyond messaging or missed calls. Mobile website, banner ads, text campaigns and a variety of other options available to marketers can be highly effective whereas SMS-powered communication can work with even low-end devices.
Long-term or short-term; stand-alone or integrated campaigns
Most brands employ long-term mobile programs and integrate into other media channels as it allows them to enable maximum touch points. As mobile is far-reaching, brands are inventing diversified ways of using mobile as a communication channel to create customer relationship that will help drive the sales.
Mobile marketing strategy- Combining the reach of mobile with appealing content is usually a winning combination.
Here are few examples how brands leveraged the power of mobile to engage the media-dark demographics through contextual mobile content.
Parle-G appealed to the rural demographic driving brand awareness. In just over 3 months, the campaign touched 222 towns in 59 cities and villages reaching over 674k users.
The campaign by Parle G combined geographical presence with mobile interaction. Aimed at driving sales in the rural segment, the ‘Parle G Truck’ visited villages allowing consumers to downloadfree vernacular content via Bluetooth onto their feature phones.
Kan Khajura Tesan, Unilever
Through this campaign, 140 million minutes of content was heard with 24 million calls and 13000 engagements. This shows when a brand attempts to relate to its audience by offering them content that engages them, it is likely to translate into sales.
Kan Khajura Tesan which literally means “earworm radio channel” is a free mobile entertainment radio channel in which the content across all categories is interspersed with HUL brand communication. The model was simple, “Missed call lagao, Muft Manoranjan Pao” which means give a missed call and get free entertainment. The multiple award-winning campaign leveraged mobile on a large scale to reach Unilever’s target group of rural India.
Colgate-Palmolive (India) Limited
The mobile ring-back service provides access to dental care information in rural India.
Their low priced sub-brand Cibacacatering to the rural consumer launched the ‘Pocket Dentist’ initiative.
It is estimated that by the end of 2018, the cumulative mobile marketing budget of companies could touch 10,000 crores.
Entertainment in the form of video and audio content drives the internet consumption in rural parts of the country. To connect effectively with the otherwise media-disconnected rural audience, mobile marketing is the key.