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Centralised planning vital for rural marketing strategies

By - May 22, 2024

Rajesh Radhakrishnan, Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, Vritti Solutions, a leading innovative marketing solutions provider to brands, writes that most brands delegate rural strategy development to on-ground managers, which is detrimental to the expected business outcomes.

Rajesh Radhakrishnan

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, urban brands, especially FMCG and consumer durables, must adapt their marketing strategies to stay competitive. One area where many companies fall short is in their approach to rural markets. While urban centres are often saturated with marketing campaigns and structured sales teams, rural markets remain relatively untapped and underserved. This presents a significant opportunity for companies willing to invest in targeted strategies for rural areas.

A gap in rural strategy

Despite the potential, companies often overlook rural markets due to a lack of strategic planning and resources at the corporate level. Many brands leave rural strategies to their managers on the ground, relying on them to develop localised plans. However, this approach can lead to a lack of cohesive strategy across the organisation and a missed opportunity to fully penetrate these markets.

The need for standardised rural teams

To address this gap, brands must establish dedicated rural strategic teams at their corporate offices. These teams can drive overarching strategies and ideations that align with the company's goals while being tailored to the unique needs of rural regions. By collaborating closely with sales managers, these teams can create targeted plans that focus on long-term rural market development and penetration.

Identifying innovative media and digital strategies

One key aspect of a successful rural marketing strategy is identifying innovative media channels and digital solutions. While local brands often have a deep understanding of the region and can effectively leverage local media, larger brands may struggle to establish the same level of connection. By partnering with third-party innovative marketing players, brands can gain insights into local markets and develop highly customised rural marketing strategies.

Focusing on smaller towns and districts

For companies to truly succeed in rural markets, they must expand their focus beyond larger towns and cities. Many brands concentrate on areas with populations of over 100,000, neglecting the outskirts that have lesser population. This leaves a void that local players can exploit. By developing outreach strategies to target outskirts with populations less than 50k to 10k or even as low as 5,000, companies can maximise their outreach and drive brand awareness in these underserved areas.

The role of third-party innovative marketing companies

Third-party innovative marketing solutions providers with expertise in rural markets can play a crucial role in helping companies achieve their goals. These agencies can offer media solutions, create outreach plans, and develop brand awareness strategies tailored to each district. By partnering with these agencies, companies can benefit from a "think local, act local" approach, ensuring their strategies resonate with rural audiences.

Restructuring retail and corporate models

To fully embrace rural markets, Brands must rethink their retail and corporate models. This may involve restructuring retail networks, streamlining distribution channels, and adopting an integrated approach to rural marketing. By aligning corporate strategies with the realities of rural markets, companies can build stronger relationships with local consumers and establish a more robust presence.

Rural markets offer significant opportunities for companies willing to invest in targeted strategies and partnerships. By establishing dedicated rural strategic teams, leveraging third-party marketing agencies, and focusing on smaller towns and districts, brands can unlock the potential of rural markets and drive sustainable growth. As the business landscape continues to evolve, those who adapt and embrace rural marketing strategies will be better positioned for success. 

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