With the Government and marketers both going gung-ho about Digital India, mobile apps targeting rural India are flooding in at a rapid pace. This is a good sign as the fact that ‘Rural India is the real India’ is an implicit one and India as a country can grow only when rural India grows too. From the time of our independence till the present, India’s economy is predominantly a rural economy. Rural India has been playing a vital role in contributing to the overall economic and social growth of the country. Thus sooner the digitalization takes rural India under its wings, the better it is for the country’s overall economic prosperity and growth.
The Government’s aspiring ‘Digital India’ mission targets to digitally connect all of India’s villages and gram panchayats by broadband internet, promote e-governance and transform India into a well-connected knowledge economy. Under the ‘Digital India’ program of the Government of India (GOI), the government envisions approximately 265,000 Indian villages to enjoy broadband connectivity and universal phone connectivity. This is indeed a visionary and praiseworthy initiative. However, implementing this vision and marketing it in rural areas is truly challenging.
The increasing speed and reach of mobile networks and the growing competence of mobile devices are encouraging numerous app developers to innovate and help integrate various apps into the daily lives of rural populations thereby increasing their exposure to digital technology and improving their quality of life. The key to success is innovation, which means minimizing the gap between the needs & wants of the rural population and the product or technology on offer and digitally marketing the product by figuring out the right marketing mix. Lately, some of the most brilliantly innovative apps have marched into the app market stepping up the app game targeting rural India. Some of our favorites are discussed below briefly:
mDemand developed by Dhwani Rural Information Systems in collaboration with Samarthan which is a Bhopal-based NPO, empowers villagers to register and track their requests for the construction of toilets in rural areas. The app uses geo-referencing and lets people wanting to own a toilet to upload pictures of their premises. This data can be seen on the dashboard of the app and can be easily accessed by officials working at the Panchayat and Zilla Parishad levels. It helps them gauge the demand for toilets and make appropriate fund allocation. People can also track the implementation status of their applications on mDemand application. The main purpose of this app is to eliminate communication delays. Another prominent feature is that it facilitates the tracking of applications in real-time,
GoCoop is an online social marketplace for India’s cooperatives and community-based enterprises. It has already become quite popular amongst handloom enthusiasts. It aims to support a zillion weavers and artisans working in rural areas. The handloom sector which is known to employ approximately 6.5 million families is facing weaving despair since decades in India. The sector is inflicted with numerous challenges like the inability to market the products, high intrusion of middlemen, and poor-selling prices. GoCoop for artisans allows registered sellers to understand current sales trends, update inventories, quote prices, manage orders, and track status for their goods and is launched to bridge the gaps, and provide a sustainable livelihood for weavers,
3. Kisan Suvidha
Kisan Suvidha got launched in the year 2016, this app serves as a common interface for farmers and agricultural stakeholders providing regular updates on weather, seeds quality, market prices, etc. It also facilitates farmers to gain information on crop protection and significant advisory from government officials. The app already has more than three lakh registered users and is available in five different languages. The app provides region-wise climate updates for up to five days and also notifies farmers about the extreme weather notifications helping them to a great extent, especially in the post-sowing crop phase in agriculture.
4. Cattle Doctor
TNAU CattleDoctor is a mobile app that covers various issues related to feeding management, breeding management, disease control management, calf management, general care and management practices for cattle and buffaloes,
Mooofarm is a facial recognition solution that uses the technology to help farmers tell one cow from the other. The algorithm only requires pictures of each cow or buffalo from different angles, backgrounds, and lighting to identifying unique features of the animal. Founded by Aashna and Param Singh in 2017, Mooofarm is an agritech firm devoted to offering technical solutions to dairy farmers by helping them keep their cattle healthy and increase their income by improving their quality of milk.
The startup has succeeded in building a digital ecosystem of cattle through its mobile app that leverages data analytics to offer various farm and cattle management solutions to dairy farmers such as digitizing the life cycle of their cattle or connecting them to professional veterinarians for health issues and emergencies etc.
Another real-world application of this app technology is that it prevents frauds in the cattle insurance sector and controls fraudulent settlements of uninsured cattle deviously.
6. Meri Sadak
Meri Sadak was launched under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and Bharat Nirman initiative, and it allows citizens to lodge complaints about poor road infrastructure in rural areas. The app uses GPS and offers a feature that allows people to give appropriate feedback on damaged roads by uploading pictures. The app aids rural folk to track their feedback/ complain using the ‘view feedback’ option. Using Meri Sadak, people can get road-related issues addressed in a promised period of a maximum of two months. The app has already crossed over 12,000 downloads on Android,
7. Kisan Raja:
Besides, irregular power supply or load shedding, one of the biggest challenges for our farmers is timely and adequate water supply in the required areas. They have to visit their fields even in midnights a few times to get their crops watered which is both tedious and risky. Kisan Raja is built by Vinfinite Technologies and helps farmers water their crops by using a mobile phone and an IVR system in-built into Kisan Raja. The Kisan Raja box stands between the supply mains and the starter of water pumps. A mobile SIM is inserted into the box, which is then controlled through a mobile phone. The box also has a built-in interactive voice response (IVR) system that allows farmers to select options like remote power on/off and check power availability. Also, this system notifies the farmer if there is no electricity supply, the condition of the pump, and non-availability of water in the well and the best part is that all of it happens in real-time.
The list of our favorite apps targeting rural India is quite long actually and we can’t express our delight about the fact that the technology is making its way to the rural areas with lots of enthusiasm and innovativeness. Also, this has made strategic rural marketing an integral part of marketing in India.
Now comes the part where these technological inventions and innovations once done, call for the need to reach its end users, i.e. our rural population. Following are some major tangible and intangible aspects to be followed for making your digital marketing campaign a success:
When targeting to strategically market the mobile app in rural areas, one of the most significant attributes to be kept in mind is conservatism. Approaching rural audiences keeping in mind all sorts of hurdles and failures you may likely encounter and keep heading forward is the most strategic rural marketing tactic and is known to work better.
Plan with thorough understanding:
Irrespective of whether you are approaching your audience directly or planning to go through hiring experts to help you in the voyage, always be a part of the entire planning process. Unless the client and the digital marketing agency or brand consultancy experts haven’t communicated with one another well or are on the same page, communication with the audience can never be fruitful. Understanding the requirement and then planning the right strategy is the first step for increasing the success probability.
Unlike the older times when rural marketing was underestimated and was taken for granted, in present times the significance of it has been well known and is taken as sincerely as any urban marketing campaign.
The conceptualization of the whole marketing campaign holds high value and should be taken quite seriously by the marketers. The aim should be to stay perceptive to the innate needs of your target population and influence the buying decision of every section of your prospective rural consumers.
The whole campaign should be backed by in-depth rural market research, statistical data, data analysis, and rural marketing insights. A random approach is bound to fail you and risk your whole efforts and investments go in vain.
Another smart strategy is to target and convince the influencer section of the rural population like Asha workers, Gram Panchayat leaders, and members, Anganwadi teachers, etc. whose word of mouth can impact the decision making of the rest of the population as well. Also, they can help you convey your message to your target audience in a more personalized and regionally customized manner.
Simply put, any rural marketing campaign in spite of having a national strategy calls for the need to think, plan, and act locally. Adding a local touch to your rural marketing campaigns can multiply your chances of success. Understanding rural psyche by connecting with their culture, language plays a great role in localizing the content and marketing strategy.
Integrated Marketing Mix:
An integrated package comprising the most appropriate mix of various BTL activities like roadshows, farmer meets, mandi, mela, and haat activation, etc, among other mass media choices including radio, televisions, newspapers, mobile, etc. as well as social media platforms like Facebook, Youtube can be effectively used to communicate and create brand awareness.
Rural merchandising and demonstrations:
Rural merchandising and demonstrations are another powerful way to create an impact because when a brand’s personality and app’s usefulness are demonstrated live after due brand consulting, it can multifold the probability of acceptance in the minds of prospective customers and can increase the probability of purchase/download. Also, this increases the chances of positive word of mouth highly.
Enhancing brand visibility:
Rural marketers go through immense pressure in their struggle to kick start and boost sales. One big challenge is to get an effective visual merchandising display to get the benefit of higher visibility. Choose the rural marketing agency that offers various options for low-cost & effective visibility techniques to create a significant impact on rural audiences and boost app downloads and usage.
The message is quite simple – ‘Create the right strategic marketing mix and fetch the desired marketing results’. Rural marketing when done through the help of a professional team of strategic marketing experts and digital marketing experts can not only fetch you a significant level of brand awareness and brand visibility but also product sales, brand recall, and brand loyalty for your mobile app.