Advertising to Rural India

May 24, 2011
School of Business, Bengaluru

Even as the world grapples with the effects of climate change, green technologies are providing some hopes for a better future.

Experts say that the promise of these technologies might find fulfillment in Indian villages and Chinese towns more rapidly than anywhere else; it is here that millions of people are aspiring for a better quality of life.

Green technologies

Small settlements in these two fast-growing economies may well become the hotbed for new innovations and technologies that promote sustainability. It may be here that we get it right, for the first time.

Accordingly, consumers at the bottom-of-the-pyramid in these two countries are generating a lot of interest among academicians and industry practitioners from around the world.

Recently Dr. Pooja Sharma of the Amrita School of Business, Bengaluru was invited to deliver a lecture at the State University of New York, Buffalo. The lecture was titled Reaching the Rural Indian Market through Creative Advertising.

Dr. Pooja’s lecture was part of the Asia at Noon series, sponsored by the Asian Studies program on the Buffalo campus that regularly hosts visiting faculty from Asian nations.

Dr. Pooja Sharma

“Rural India consists of about half a million villages and is home to around 70% of country’s population,” Dr. Pooja stated. “It constitutes a market, where life has evolved through deeply rooted community values, social rituals, joint families, traditions and age-old customs.”

“The rural market is heterogeneous, fragmented, complex and remains largely untapped,” she underlined.

Noting that the saturation of urban markets and demanding urban customers were forcing companies to look for an entry into the rural consumer market, she highlighted the inherent uniqueness of India’s hinterland.


“Indian media experts and planners have pioneered new media forms such as digital media, video vans, and E-Choupals,” she said. “They have mastered the art of crafting customized messages to meet regional sensibilities.”

Highlighting how the dynamics of rural marketing has changed over the years, Dr. Pooja emphasized that rural advertising now involves only products and issues that are pertinent to rural India.
“Today, marketers are considering using communication tools, such as personal selling, product placement and sales promotions in addition to more straightforward forms of advertising,” she concluded.

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