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Home » Viewpoints » Experiential marketing: The right choice to sell fintech in rural markets
Experiential marketing: The right choice to sell fintech in rural markets

By M4G Bureau - September 15, 2021

Rural customers cannot be converted merely with advertising. So for complex products like digital payment infrastructure, a clear awareness on a mass basis can be generated only with experiential marketing, says Rajesh Radhakrishnan, Chief Marketing Officer, Vritti Solutions.

Rajesh Radhakrishnan, Chief Marketing Officer<br>Vritti SolutionsIn the midst of the opening of economy amid the pandemic,  there was a news doing the rounds recently that Paytm was planning to employ 20,000 field sales executives (FSEs) to drive sales in small towns. This is a good move, which will help provide employment opportunities to a lot of youth and drive the economy.

At the same time, digital payment companies need to try their hands on experiential marketing, a promising form of marketing for fintech companies, banks and insurance companies to tap hinterlands.  

On a mass scale, it is the best way of educating small-town residents and merchants on the relevance of digital payments, on how digital payments needs to be initiated, generate maximum downloads of apps among users, opening a bank account, having an insurance policy, etc.

Experiential marketing can create platforms on a mass-scale basis to promote and educate on concepts such as all-in-one QR codes, all-in-one POS machines, soundbox, wallet, UPI, postpaid, merchant loans, insurance offerings, etc. The campaign can be done at a crowded market or public place or State Transport (ST) Bus Stations.

It is also to be remembered that we are not yet out of the pandemic. There are still talks of a possible third wave. There are limitations on manual marketing. So, companies need to adopt a balance of restriction and relaxation. Experiential marketing companies have the experience of conducting activation maintaining strict social distancing. 

Rural customers cannot be converted merely with advertising. Therefore, in a rural or a small town set up, a simple advertisement banner may work for a FMCG product such as soap or a detergent. However, for a complex product like digital payment infrastructure, a clear awareness on a mass basis can be generated only with experiential marketing. There must be a mix of manual and experiential marketing to educate the customer, which would be the ideal way. If he is convinced, he will tell four of his friends.

With a bit of education, the real potential of the country i.e. the small towns and the villages, could be explored for digital payments. As more and more data penetration is taking place in the rural parts of the country, this is the best time for fintech companies and the banks for tapping the rural.

Case Study: An experiential marketing case study involving Citicash Tatkal Cards with passengers at State Transport (ST) Bus Stations:* 

Among several places, ST bus stations could be a very strategic location for educating the masses about fintech products. On an average, 20,000 people visit a bus station, which ensures a very good crowd engagement. An average waiting time for a traveler at the Bus Station is 30 minutes. Very easily about 500-1000 people could be engaged within a bus station in a day. Awareness can be imparted at the consumer level as well as the merchant level. By generating proper awareness among the consumer, the right word-of-mouth can be generated. Also, the public starts demanding the merchants for the service if he is aware about it. 

In a bus station, the fintech players can do perfect branding of his products with promo tables, banners, posters, where promoters can educate public about its products and services. Awareness can be done even inside a running long-distance bus. This sets the right word of mouth among the public about the financial product. 

An activation was done for Citicash in Maharashtra. Citicash had tied up with the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) to sell pre-paid cards or “ST Tatkal cards” among the public. This card is similar to pre-paid cards used in the metro trains. A card can be pre-paid with amounts of Rs 200-300 or 500 and goes on debiting with each travel. Our team of promoters educated the consumers at the bus station and inside the buses. Conductors were trained on using devices to read cards and deduct the charges. Within a few days, the card became popular with MSRTC travelers. As trains are limited, much of the public today travel in buses. Also, since it is a cash less method, it is safe during the present Covid times.

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