Rural Marketing to take centre stage at RMAI Conclave

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Marketing | May 06, 2015
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RMAI's Rural Conclave is set to bring together some of the most experienced and successful marketers, innovators, entrepreneurs and technology players, to unlock new possibilities in rural marketing.

Sometimes, headlines don't tell the full story. Rural India is the next growth destination. While some marketers have hopped on to the rural bandwagon early and are reaping results now, many have tread cautiously.

The income levels in the rural hinterlands have been on the rise. With a 19 per cent increase in the per capita expenditure (higher than the urban growth rate), the number of mobile service subscribers has risen to 378 million, and internet is making successful in-roads into the lives of rural consumers. Social media and e-commerce are no longer the things of the future here. Reports suggest that, in addition to the 10 metro cities where e-commerce has seen traction, there are as many as 3,133 tier-II and III cities, and 1,233 rural hubs, also embracing the online retail phenomenon. Movements like Jana Dhana and rural electrification, besides roads infrastructure, are set to give a massive push to rural consumption.

Rural Marketing Association of India

The two-day conclave will focus more on 'How Rural' than 'Why Rural'. Through a series of thought-provoking panel discussions, presentations and case studies, this program gamut will address the challenges and opportunities afforded by new media, technology, new insights and more.

Sanjay Kaul

Discussing the idea of the event, Sanjay Kaul, CEO, Impact Communications, says, "RMAI has been propagating the cause of going to rural for a very long time. Why companies should go rural has been at the forefront of several endeavours of RMAI. The significance of rural markets for companies today is well established. While more and more companies have forayed into rural, the rural market in itself has witnessed tremendous evolution in the last decade. The changing dynamics of new aspiring rural consumer class, increase in disposable incomes, media penetration, mobile almost becoming ubiquitous, there is a need for renewed approach for rural marketing. As the president of RMAI , I have initiated this well-deliberated shift from 'Why Rural to How Rural?' in our knowledge initiatives."

He adds, "My idea is to bring together the most forward-thinking marketers, innovators, entrepreneurs & technology players to navigate the potential of rural markets in this two-day Rural Conclave. The intent is to create this as a platform where the two generations of marketers come together to share their learnings from the past and forward thinking initiatives of the present. The discussions, debates and deliberations will be focussed on unlocking the new possibilities in rural marketing. The attendees will get a vast window to insights, endeavours & knowledge that can be applied to their relative business."

Vipul Mathur, category head and head mobile & rural marketing at Hindustan Unilever, says, "Everyone knows, and everyone agrees, but still most of the time is spent by marketers on trying to prove why rural is their next best bet. By the time they decide with consensus that they want to do rural, there is hardly any time left to plan on what next. What are the best practices? What should be the enablers, what are the triggers and barriers? What is the role of technology? Is TV the best to build rural? It's time we stop debating the first and focus on how to build long-term capabilities to tap rural as a market."

S Siva Kumar

Commenting on the theme of 'Navigating the Future', S Siva Kumar, CEO, ITC (ADB), says, "In this age of rapid changes, the best way to navigate the rural markets of the future is to co-create the products and services together with the rural consumers themselves. The rural markets of the future will not be conquered just by innovating 'low cost last mile' solutions, but by 'intelligent first mile' insights about the rural consumers."

The event will see the amalgamation of two generations of the rural marketing fraternity. Experienced industry veterans and the new-age professionals will share with the attendees, the most progressive best practices and advanced strategy insights into rural marketing.

The Conclave is designed to ensure that attendees take away with them insights and knowledge that can be implemented to their own businesses.

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