How mobile is charting a disruptive growth story in rural markets


With an increasing number of users, India is on its way to becoming a mobile-first market – and this growth isn’t restricted to urban areas.

According to industry figures, mobile phone adoption in rural India is significantly higher than in television. Rural residents may not have access to televisions, computers, or newspapers, but they are much more likely to have a cell phone.

“There are about 300 million Internet users in rural markets.” There is no male-female skew; in fact, it is nearly equal, and there has been a lot of discussion on this topic, where Voice and Video have begun to become the more sought-after technologies.”

Businesses have no choice but to use mobile to creatively target this relatively large portion of clients on a one-to-one basis. A mobile-first strategy also provides a business with significantly improved customer-centric data, which can be used for future brand-building efforts, product refinement, and better targeting.

Gazal Bajaj, Head – Media Management, Nestle Sagar Boke, Head – Customer & Shopper Marketing – Foods & Beverages, Tata Consumer Saurabh Agarwal, Head – Analytics & Digital Marketing, Lenskart Vignesh Murali Bhat, Head – Marketing, Brand & Corporate Communication, Equitas Small Finance Bank were among the distinguished panelists who took part in the discussions.

“All of us keep talking about how voice and video vernacular are our key trends when we look at urban consumers,” Gazal Bajaj said of using the entire new-age Internet connectivity to drive brand communication and engagement using voice and video. “But in reality, I feel it is going to have more traction when it comes to rural consumers.”

In rural TV setups, you have a panchayat TV that the entire village watches, but the phone takes that screen away from them and puts it in their hands, and that’s where there’s huge growth and opportunity for an advertiser like us.

“Voice is a simpler and more intuitive medium for the rural audience,” Sagar Boke said, referring to the extensive use of voice. According to Google voice search data, vernacular voice searches greatly outnumber technical voice searches. That, I believe, is one sign that voice will grow in importance.

Having said that, do we use voice in Tata Consumer a lot right now? The answer is no, but do we intend to do so? We feel that voice will be the next big thing.

I also believe the ecosystem will evolve; I believe there are a few voice solution players who will improve your voice solution, and I believe they are all learning, and we are collaborating with a number of them to develop solutions.

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