The advent of 4G, the introduction of smartphones and increased internet penetration heralded the first signs of transition in the Indian retail ecosystem. With technology driving a change in consumer buying behavior, the need for businesses to adapt has become imperative. But, it ultimately took the global pandemic for brands to trust and truly harness the power of digitalization.
Today, low mobile device prices, affordable internet and better connectivity have presented marketers with a huge opportunity to target vast, previously untapped audiences, especially in the rural and regional sector. Armed with price and accessibility, new era marketers, likely for the first time, can unlock the potential of rural audiences through mobile marketing.
While the core principles (product, price, place, and promotion) of marketing remain the same, mobile innovations have not only opened up more channels, but also continue to change the way marketers approach these decade-old principles. year. As India is rapidly becoming the world’s fastest growing mobile app market, mobile marketing is arguably the most effective tactic for brand building, development and product sophistication in rural and regional areas. .
Need a Mobile-First or Mobile-Only Strategy
With increasing mobile penetration in the country, mobile-first or mobile-only strategy has become an integral part of digital marketing as modern brands try to find innovative ways to market themselves. The global pandemic has played a key role in accelerating the adoption of technology tools by businesses to stay relevant and competitive. Whether it’s rural, urban, or even emerging sectors like fintech, pharma, and education technology, among others, everyone has identified the need to find new ways to target potential customers. This, in turn, has led to the adoption of transformative practices such as vernacular advertising, the use of augmented reality and virtual reality, mobile games, and hyperlocal marketing to stay current with changing the market situation. Likewise, voice technology, when paired with augmented reality/virtual reality and machine learning, can facilitate a needed shift in how brands communicate with audiences. Furthermore, digital payments have also superseded the predefined limitations on the use of technology, as clearly evidenced by the exponential increase in transactions made from UPIs and e-wallets across India. While the mobile-first approach is more common, the mobile-only strategy isn’t for everyone. As evidenced by the fashion industry, the mobile-only strategy has not achieved the desired goals, especially when compared to the home and utility services sector where it has proven to be a game changer.
Innovations to engage rural audiences
Missed calls and mobile entertainment strategy: India may have seen an increase in mobile and internet penetration, but the fact that more people tend to use prepaid mobile plans means that the reach of mobile marketing is quite limited. In this case, especially when targeting rural and regional audiences, brands can opt for the dynamic “missed call” strategy which is not only economical but also very effective. Without having to waste call minutes, customers can opt out of advertisements by giving a missed call on the number to request details about a product or services. This can work wonders for both the brand and the customer, as they can both save time and money to achieve their respective goals. In a bid to gain more voice share and gain more brand recall, companies can also introduce a mobile entertainment channel that can be made accessible through a toll-free number, offering music, movies, free news and advertisements for certain products.
Vernacular messaging: Despite its large population, India has a fairly limited English-speaking base when it comes to regions. While initially seen as a major marketing hurdle, it eventually turned out to be a major marketing opportunity due to the use of regional languages. Regardless of their region, new era mobile users are voraciously consuming information and content on their respective devices. So, in a bid to reach and engage rural and regional audiences, modern brands can communicate via SMS in regional or local languages, which can not only build trust but also increase engagement. For example, the Indian farming community constantly needs information about innovations in its industry. To contact them, companies related to the agricultural industry can inform them about their products via push notifications in their own language for better impact.
Video ad consumption: Advancements in technology may have changed the marketing landscape, but there’s no denying that video ads remain one of the most effective and impactful ways to promote a brand. For a long time, televisions have been the go-to platform for video ads, but with a growing reliance on smartphones and mobile devices, video ads will continue to facilitate brand awareness and visibility in the modern age. When it comes to rural and regional audiences, smartphone and internet accessibility can still be improved, but it still offers a large untapped market for businesses looking to promote their products or services. So, by leveraging the power of video content, brands can target rural and regional audiences with product-related ads to promote and attract customers.
Hyperlocal Demographic Targeting Ads: In the world of digitalization, geo-targeting has highlighted new opportunities for marketers. Since they allow brands to deliver tailored content or advertisements to consumers based on their geographic location, geo-targeting ads can be a game-changer when it comes to reaching or engaging local prospects. Localized marketing has, for a long time, helped local businesses and small businesses (with few locations), but big brands can also benefit from it – which has been made possible thanks to hyperlocal ads. With better and relevant posts via hyperlocal advertising, brands can become locally relevant and improve their communication with rural and regional audiences in a culturally relevant way. This, in turn, can enable businesses to improve their ROI, brand penetration and engagement in rural and regional areas.
Similar to other segments, mobile marketing continues to be influenced by technological innovations in the future. With a significant improvement in the consumer experience, our reliance on mobile devices as an integral part of our daily lives has reached an all-time high which, in turn, continues to provide new opportunities for marketers.
Integrating the latest technologies to find innovative channels and using industry data to better target customers has enabled brands to meet the challenges of ever-changing market situations. Whether it’s the seamless integration of mobile apps, user-friendly features like voice search, or innovations like augmented reality, mobile marketing has become an essential tool for businesses to grow their business and accelerate their growth.
Likewise, when it comes to rural and regional audiences, mobile marketing continues to help companies expand their presence in untapped markets. There is a rise of innovative concepts like Easy Pay which facilitates fast and hassle-free mobile recharges, bill payments and even ATM services for rural and regional audiences who have technology challenges. So, in the coming times, mobile marketing may prove to be the probable solution to bridge the gap between rural and urban sectors.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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