Marketing of FMCG in Smaller towns and villages

The FMCG companies are clamouring to market their goods in smaller towns and Villages. They are doing this either through large grocery stores or starting their own shop. But how do the people living in these areas come to know about the Branded products or products of these companies (all products FMCG)?

Even in the above mentioned areas small towns and large villages are receiving newspapers, telecasting (TV), Radio and using Cell phones or mobiles. The advertisements through these make people aware of the FMCG products of different companies.  These companies advertise their products through these media and people living in say rural areas come to know about the FMCG product. They also want to use these products and therefore the FMCG companies are justified in setting up their shop.

Consumer goods major Procter & Gamble determined to hard sell its stuff in rural India. After a two year long push into the hinterland, P&G has come up with a new addition to its marketing strategy in the form of a character called SB, a dedicated housewife. The personality was conceived to push P&G’s leading brands, Tide and Head & Shoulders as a dual proposition called ‘kamyab jodi’ in rural areas of the country. After much deliberation over the eight to nine categories that P&G operates in, marketers picked the detergent brand Tide and shampoo Head & Shoulders as the focus in this particular rural initiative.

More than 100 villages in central UP were covered as part of the pilot stage of the ‘kamyab jodi’ initiative a couple of years ago. The exercise involved teams narrating SB’s story, an educated married woman, who highlights the benefits of using the two brands. The challenge was to communicate it to the target audience on the benefits of using a brand superior in quality.

Considering that the rural markets have been a battle field with national players like HUL, Dabur and even regional players like Ghari looking to penetrate further, P&G had its task cut out. India is a consumption driven economy. FMCG companies including Procter & Gamble want to market across India and therefore use the right brand portfolio and marketing techniques. The rural market is important considering rural India comprises 12.2 % of the world population.

The rural march is on and has already established rivals like Hindustan Unilever, ITC, P&G etc., which have over the years added to its rural distribution muscle through dedicated programs.

Non-city consumers want more quality and quantity in their consumer products:

The journey of brands usually connects with consumers emotionally also. What we define as ‘rural’ is really a place which is difficult to access and reach physically. Rural India, on the other hand, comprises all places that are not urban. Rural India is a significant contributor to our economy with a 60% consumption. It has a large number of credit cards and holds a huge potential for mobile telephony.
Over the past few years there was a good harvest and consequently there was an increase in income and consumption levels. This year, industry analysts expect that the FMCG sector in rural India will grow further and faster. Companies have launched value pack versions to encourage rural consumers to participate in their brand franchise and are affordable for single use or consumption as and when required.
Thanks to television, today an illiterate consumer in rural India is quite brand literate. The combination of increased awareness, higher disposable incomes, and higher mobility amongst smaller towns to rural consumers is generating a sizeable market in house construction materials, apparels, durables and FMCG goods.

Most companies are now looking at the huge potential offered by the above referred markets and focusing on these. Brands complete their transaction with the consumer based on what they offer. For the ‘Trust’ factor which is the result of a long and hard travel that companies usually undertake. For brands that consistently deliver to what they promise, this trust is built up and helps the brand to target the power in the consumer’s pocket.

Brands like Colgate Palmolive, Horlicks, Tata Tea, and Tata Salt have been building this trust over the years and have reached a stage where they are able to enter the rural consumer’s purchase basket and preference set. Companies like P&G, ITC, HUL have gone a step ahead to build trust.

Of course the FMCG companies ensure that the lower end products are distributed in these areas and people with lower income can have an access to these products and therefore they can buy them. Everybody is aware that the income in the above areas (Small towns and villages) is lower than cities.  Even the population in transit due to some work in these areas will also buy their transit requirements of the FMCG products.

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