Digital media will augment rural OOH
By Bhawana Anand - July 17, 2020
Experts point out that digital media complements OOH/BTL activities in the rural markets
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a big seismic change in the media consumption habits, including those in the rural areas. As per a Kantar study, currently estimated at 574 million, the number of monthly active internet users in India has grown 24% over that of 2019. And the highlight is that India’s rural areas are driving the digital revolution, with a 45% growth in internet penetration in 2019 as compared to urban India’ s 11%. Rural India has 264 million internet users, this is expected to reach 304 million in 2020. The analysis comes from the ICUBETM report prepared by data, insights and consulting company Kantar.
Local language content and video drive the internet boom in rural India, with 2.5 times rise in penetration in the last four years. Mobile is the device of choice for 100% of active users to browse the internet.
Does it mean that digital marketing will gradually edge out OOH/BTL activities in the rural markets? Rural marketing expert Prashant Mandke says, “I don’t see both these mediums competing with each other. OOH branding has always been relevant and will continue to be so in rural markets. Marketers will need to analyse the digital options for targeting the rural audience in these times of social distancing. Hence the combination of physical onground activation and digital marketing to amplify it will be used by the marketers looking to manage their territory sales”.
However, there will be an inevitable change in rural branding initiatives, states Rajesh Radhakrishnan, Director - Sales and Marketing, Vritti Solutions. “There will be a quantum change in the approach to marketing with the purpose of driving sales growth for the next three months. Marketers will look for innovative approaches for pushing sales. Post Covid-19, there will be a significant mindset shift in the urban and rural market alike,” he explains.
Rajesh, who is spearheading a specialist rural marketing agency, says, “The marketing methodologies will change along with communications and product propositions, but outdoor branding will remain tactical in catching the attention of consumers with minimal investment and maximum output. This is a time to rethink, reinvent and remodify the approach”.
Prashant believes that both OOH and digital media can work hand in hand. “While OOH/BTL branding, especially at transit touchpoints, is about creating stationed visibility with a base level of engagement. digital can amplify the engagement level with its interface, voice calls and integrated modules,” he explains.
Vritti Solutions has undertaken a digital + OOH activity for Dabur called ‘Apni Dukan’ where the product promotion and sales were done via mobile application and taken on-ground to direct consumers and retail at the 2nd level.
Rajesh says that brands will look to play a greater role in the rural markets through their CSR models and social impact division.
Also read: ‘Stay true to your rural marketing strategy’
“OOH needs to keep innovating with creativity and stay relevant by offering efficiency than just offering visibility and that experience can be weaved around the outdoor communication,” states Prashant.
Rajesh adds that call centres handling the communications in rural markets in the local language will greatly augment the sales growth. “The localised call center model will come into play for impactful targeted BTL activities – whereby the communication will be done in the consumers’ native languages for strong sales lead generation. At the same time, digital media will help amplify such activities,” sums up Rajesh.