India is known to have the largest youth population in the world, as of 2014, 1.8 billion people in India were aged between 10 to 24 years, this comprises of 28% of the total Indian population. A simple calculation thus shows that 19.6 % of the Indian population is aged between 10 to 24 years and lives in rural areas.
Even though the United Nations defines youth as people belonging to the age group of 15-35 years, the adolescents consist of almost 10% of the rural population and thus should not be excluded from the above number.
Rural Youth is approximately 20 percent of the total population.
The statement makes it clear that rural youth is an important demographic categorization in India; they not only consist of significant number now but will become the majority 5 to 10 years down the line. This makes their consideration crucial while devising any marketing strategy for a long run in rural areas.
Why targeting rural youth is important?
Numbers speak volumes but at times they might not be sufficient for the rural marketing agency therefore let us list some other benefits as well.
- More exposure and reach for the brand as target audiences expand.
- Brand loyalty increases if the relationship is established at a younger age which assists in retaining customers through tough business patches.
- Communication is more effective as youth are more participating as an audience.
How to target the youth?
Unlike urban youth, its rural counterpart cannot be effectively communicated with through social media channels or other electronic mediums due to lack of resources at their end. This poses a challenge in front of the rural marketing agency as to how to find a touch point where the large audience can be targeted.
There are ways such as colleges and schools which can be adopted in this scenario but not all brands find them suitable or appropriate. Thus a fresh, fun and more effective way is required.
Search of the activity that combines attention and entertainment alike
One activity that rural youth can relate to easily is- Sports. In the light of lesser electronic and modern day sources of fitness and entertainment, most of them choose to utilize their time on the grounds.
The low cost and high impact appeal attracts many young people to the sport ground. As Wilfried Lemke said,
“Sport builds bridges between individuals and across communities, providing a fertile ground for sowing the seeds of development and peace.”
What rural advertising agencies need to do is use this bridge to get access to disciplined and attentive audiences to sow the grounds with seeds of brand development and communication.
How to use sports to create a platform to target rural youth?
The target audience can be approached by:-
- Holding interactive sessions at existing sports centre and using the veil of entertainment and refreshments to convey the brand message and product information.
- Organizing a sports meet in association with local clubs to market the product through banners and presentations. This is the best suitable alternative if the target audience needs a diverse mix of adults too.
- Providing sponsorships to clubs in return of marketing the brand through merchandise, uniforms, hoardings etc.
Sports have proven to be the backbone of troubled youth in India and have time and again shown the capability of transforming lives. It is only a matter of time before it starts transforming rural branding process and marketing activities.