New Delhi: When US car maker General Motors Corp. (GM) decided to drive down the rough roads to rural India with its small car— the Chevrolet Spark—it faced the challenge of making non-urban consumers aware of GM and then building actual sales in a market where it had no hands-on experience.
It brought in New Delhi-based marketing firm RC&M India Pvt. Ltd, which had undertaken similar projects for clients across industry sectors, including Bharti Airtel Ltd, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) and Colgate-Palmolive (India) Ltd.
RC&M designed an integrated communication programme, “Jeevan mein umang—Spark ke sang” (Bring joy into your life, with Spark), to reach out to 350,000 people across eight states. It ensured that prospective rural customers could test-drive the Spark from dealerships, says Priya Monga, business head, RC&M. The firm’s approach towards every project is to engage customers, and “take a product beyond the imagination of the consumers”, she says. Here are Monga’s tips for marketeers:
Distribution network is key: Five years ago, GM had very few dealers in rural areas. While building awareness about its Corsa model, RC&M persuaded local entrepreneurs to become dealers. Within 10 months, the number of dealers rose threefold.
Spread the message: Products—or at least product information—should be made available at places such as e-kiosks, post offices and microfinance offices.
One point at a time: Castrol lubricant does not evaporate even at 300 degrees Celsius. That’s what RC&M chose to highlight in its campaign for the product in rural markets. It’s easier to remember one value proposition at a time.
Monitor and backtrack: When RC&M did work for Colgate Palmolive and HUL, their monitors kept track of the inventory sold every day with retailers, for one-and-a-half years, which was continuously backtracked. This is to check the availability of the merchandise and brand recall among retailers and consumers.