Low prices for mobile devices and broadband have created huge potential for marketers to play the Hunger Games with as yet untapped audiences.
Representative image. France Press agency
India is a land full of marketing opportunities, a playground for learning and throwing away learning, experimenting and building successful case studies. A land of diversity, a mixture of cultures, a cauldron of hundreds of languages and many religions brewing together. India ties everything together in a common thread of values and ideologies, loose ends connecting the old and the new. In all this contrast, the one thing that has created a homogeneous cover and put the nation on a common platform is digitization. No other country has assimilated and adopted internet and mobile technology the way the Indians did.
Low prices for mobile devices and broadband have created huge potential for marketers to play The Hunger Games with a broad, hitherto untapped audience. This affordability and accessibility to new age technology has opened up a potential horizon waiting to be opened. Mobile technology and growth made India Son Ki Chidia (Golden Bird) again. It’s marketer fun. Today, India has become the world’s fastest growing market for mobile applications. Mobile apps help collect user data that gives insight into consumption patterns and gives brands opportunities to target smaller audiences and create more personalized content.
With a sound mobile marketing strategy and increasing mobile penetration in India (Deloitte study says India had 1.2 billion mobile subscribers in 2021, of which 750 million are smartphone users and the smartphone market is expected to reach 1 billion smartphones by 2026), mobile first strategy is the need of the hour! The pandemic has precipitated the entire digitization process. Rural and urban areas, along with sunrise sectors like hi-tech, e-commerce, food delivery, pharmaceuticals, educational technology and many more have declined. General advertising, AR/VR use, mobile gaming, and local marketing are all new ways to target potential customers. According to a report by The Next Ten – Artificial IntelligenceVoice technology, along with augmented reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence, is set to fundamentally change the way brands can communicate with their audiences. Digital payments have replaced any literacy restrictions. Today, UPI and e-wallets such as Phonepe, Paytm, Google Pay, etc. have increased transactions across geographies. All you need is a bank account!
How do marketers communicate with rural audiences
• Missed Call Marketing Campaign and Mobile Entertainment Channel: This works amazingly in India. In a country where more people are opting for prepaid mobile plans, missed calls are an economical method, when you have limited calling minutes. Customers choose to select ads by calling a number on the screen and disconnecting before calling. The marketer then starts sending text messages and more calls with ads and information.
Hindustan Unilever The campaign was Khajura Ticino It reached Harvard Business Review as a case study of missed calls and mobile entertainment strategy. They tasted success for the first time with the “missed call” strategy of the popular laundry detergent wheel. To gain a greater share of the voice and get more brand reclaim, they launched a mobile entertainment channel accessible through a toll-free number offering free music, movies, news and ads for select products. Ponds’ White Beauty, Close-Up, and Wheel combined spontaneous awareness and growing brand recall with eight million new subscribers!
• General messages: For a country of 1.3 billion people, only 125 million people have an English-speaking base. This realization along with comprehensive coverage of mobile technology has sparked the interest and potential of the country’s regional linguistic Internet users. Rural and urban dwellers voraciously consume information and content in their native languages. This is a profitable market.
PEAT GmbH is a German based company with the world’s most downloadable mobile app for farmers called Plantix. The farmers who are their clients are able to obtain accurate diagnoses related to their crops and identify diseases. Plantix Mobile Kheti – The app is dedicated to Indian farmers in Punjab and Telangana and has created interactive games and interaction tools that align with on-the-ground initiatives to increase the accessibility of all farmers in these areas. Automatic payment alerts help them connect with their communities and give them information about the latest in their sector. Vernacular messaging is a huge factor in enabling this revolution. Today, apps like Takatak, Moj, and Josh are some of the successful players due to the regional messaging strategy that has given them far-reaching reach into the country.
• Consumption of video ads: Video ads are here to stay for the foreseeable future and with the advancements in mobile technology and the increase in mobile phone usage, video ads are only going to grow. In India, the majority of the rural population has access to smartphones. The majority of people in these areas are increasingly inclined towards OTT platforms, thus video ads can help promote and attract customers. According to a 2021 Bain report, online video consumption is likely to explode significantly by 2025. It’s lower than its global peers, but is growing at a very healthy rate of 24 percent annually.
• Geo-targeted ads:
Micro targeting is the way to go, and geographic targeting is just one way to reach niche audiences. This helps improve messaging and related messaging and improve ROI. It’s all about sending the right messages to the right people at the right time. It helps businesses become locally relevant and helps marketers reach more people, increase brand exposure, and speak to rural audiences in a culturally appropriate way.
• In-app ads:
Leveraging mobile advertising as a marketing strategy is a must today. It speeds up people’s reach and engagement, and increases brand visibility and loyalty. In-app advertisements are intended to communicate with the audience at their places of convenience. It reaches people based on their likes or search history, making it convenient for brands to identify and connect with their target audience. Showing a banner ad while using the app can lead to better engagement and persuasion to the audience. It can be time and effort saving for audiences and brands. India has nearly 65 per cent of its population residing in rural areas.
With the formation of the majority, it becomes necessary for both government and business to communicate with them and make them participate in the course of development and progress. The easy availability of smartphones has contributed to digital empowerment and bought a paradigm shift in the rural digital market. Until now, missed calls and SMS messages have been an important part of mobile marketing. However, the increased penetration of mobile phones and improved online access in rural areas has amplified market opportunities and business growth prospects. Social apps, entertainment apps, etc. have largely adopted the strategy of in-app advertising in rural areas through which it caters to a large number of eyeballs and attracts target users.
Growth and participation are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, mobile marketers have emphasized making rural consumers an essential part of the digital marketplace. The deployment of mobile marketing in rural areas can be a potential solution to bridge the development gap between the rural and urban classes. Mobile marketing has provided a solid platform for brands to reach rural audiences. With the increase in the use of mobile devices, brands will be able to reach a large segment of the rural population and then it all depends on how well they can benefit from it. Brands that do well will eventually enjoy the fruits of an attractive, loyal, and growing user base.
The author is Vice President of Globale Media. Opinions are personal.