and Intellect, the research and technologies wing of the Lintas Media Group, have collectively launched a new rural research mechanism called Bharat Barometer. This is a kind of methodology to uncover facts about rural consumer behaviour and the dynamics of rural markets.
Lynn de Souza, director, Lintas Media Group, says, "Today, as a result of the competitive rush for new customers, brands are exploring new segments, attempting new strategies, pushing to increase product usage and even bringing out new variants. In this respect, the untapped and difficult to reach rural masses are gaining importance each day."
The hurdle in reaching the rural markets is the limited knowledge of brand marketers about the special needs of these markets. The Lintas Media Group hopes to help its clients get more accurate and quick information about rural consumers and markets through the Bharat Barometer.
The Lintas Media Group will design specific questionnaires to be filled out online by rural consumers, on the basis of which it will compile relevant information for its clientele. ITC, through its e-Choupal initiative, will help in facilitating all this. It will allow consumers to fill out the questionnaires online, on its network. The Lintas Media Group is positive that with this initiative, it will become very simple to track and obtain crucial inputs from the rural segment.
The process will work like this: Once the research design has been established by Intellect, the data will be collected across the e-Choupal network. "The network promises a very high rural penetration and high sample sizes at times unachievable with conventional research methods; particularly with the fast response time of the service," say Lintas Media Group officials.
While Intellect will prepare the research design and analyse the data, ITC's e-Choupal will provide the expertise of targeting and eliciting information and teleporting it to the Intellect databases.
Shailendra Tyagi, vice-president, marketing, ITC-IBD, says, "ITC's e-Choupal carries with it a rich legacy of trust and transparency with rural India. It is this relationship and e-Choupal's credibility with Indian farmers that enable us to gather critical information, which isn't readily shared otherwise through traditional research."
For the record, ITC's e-Choupal is an Internet based information sharing network inspired by the traditional 'choupal' concept, wherein villagers would meet at the village square to share knowledge, news and gossip. Today, the e-Choupals serve as both a social gathering place for exchange of information and an e-commerce hub for over 35 lakh farmers. Each e-Choupal network is looked after by a host farmer called the Sanchalak, who coordinates with an average of 600 farmers in four-five surrounding villages within a five kilometre radius.
Currently, there are over 6,000 e-Choupal networks spread across seven Indian states.
The initial projects have proven the effectiveness and ability of this research channel to generate consumer insights -issues pertaining to durables purchases, FMCG choice and media and social issues have been investigated. The service is available to all to research areas of brand awareness, intent to purchase, loyalty and attitude, media consumption behaviour, social trends, etc., through Web-based customised questionnaires.
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