Each & every small shop I passed through reminded me the two books I have read on rural Indian markets, " The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid" By C.K. Prahalad and " We are Like that Only " by Rama Bijapurkar. My eyes were surfing through the leading brands hanging at almost every shop in the villages which include products like Mineral Water, Cola's, Shampoo, Detergent Powder, Tooth Paste and even Packed Snacks.
There was a time when the whole world thought that the rural India was a land of snakes and holy men with magical powers, maybe its time to re-acquaint ourselves with the true identity of the rural side of our country.Coke / Pepsi or Chic / Pantene or Colgate / Close Up or Ariel / Surf or Lays / Cheetos are house hold brand names in rural markets today!
"The future lies with those companies who see the poor as their customers" says C. K. Prahalad in his book " The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid " . He clearly pinpoints on the raw fact that there is vast potential for profits in the rural markets. He says, globally the bottom of the (economic) pyramid consists of 4 billion people living on less than $2 per day. If we stop thinking of the poor as victims or as a burden and start recognizing them as value-conscious consumers, a whole new world of opportunity will open up. Prahalad suggests that four billion poor can be the engine of the next round of global trade and prosperity, and can be a source of innovations.
He cites numerous examples of companies that have generated wealth for the poor and profits for themselves by focusing on underserved rural markets. As urban markets become saturated, more businesses are retooling their marketing strategies, and in many a case their products targeting rural consumers with tiny incomes but rising aspirations, giving birth to a new era of rural marketing.
To expand the market by tapping the countryside, more and more MNC's are foraying into India's rural markets. Among those that have made some headway are Hindustan Lever, ITC, Coca-Cola, LG Electronics, Britannia, LIC, HDFC Standard Life, ICICI, Philips, Colgate Palmolive and most of the Telecom companies.
In this article let me share with you my views on Opportunities & Challenges for all the Companies targeting to tap this huge rural untapped markets