Technology, Big Data, IoT are the Buzzwords in Rural Today — Siddhartha Choudhary, Cropin

Industry Watch | March 23, 2017 | Interview

RMAI RMAI Flame Awards Rural Marketing

Gone are the days when the reach of technology and the very idea of it being used or available in rural was considered far-fetched. Today a farmer in rural India is as evolved in their mindset as an urban customer and does not shy away from integrating learnings into his day to day life.

Cropin Technology is one such modern-day organization which is known to provide farm-businesses/growers with farm management software and mobile apps, which enables them to do connected, data-driven farming. It allows them to take advantage of real-time data and insights from farms (an accurate view of their operation throughout the entire growing season) and to improve financial, operational and agronomical aspects.

Siddhartha Choudhary, the Chief Revenue Officer of Cropin Technology is a rural marketing veteran who has incredible experience creating clutter-breaking successful brand campaigns in the rural hinterlands. In an exclusive conversation with EVENTFAQS, he talks about the recent trends in rural marketing and the way forward . Siddhartha Choudhary is also a Jury Member of the RMAI Flame Awards Asia 2017.

Being a rural marketing veteran, share with us how marketing has evolved in rural India over the last decade.

The rural of today has access to the same cable TV channels and the same data (internet) as the urban population. So, an average Rural person is aware and aspires to the same things as an average Urban person - best education for their kid, latest tech devices, white goods, etc. The old channels of communicating with rural may not be valid anymore. So, Marketing must evolve along with the fast-changing consumer in rural.

This means that both the mediums to reach out to rural, the messaging and the look & feel of the advertisements should change. Also, just brand promotions would not hold good in rural. The value proposition should be clearly spelled out to be successful.

There have been multiple discussions on what a typical Rural Consumer is. What do you think are the few traits that define a rural consumer?

The urban looks different from the rural in terms of infrastructure, better workplaces, higher earning and spending capacity, etc. But then in terms of personality of a rural customer, it is fast becoming like that of an urban one. While it is difficult to define traits of a rural customer, I would say if 70% of people in a community depend on farm income, it is rural. So, an average rural person, while aspiring for better things in life, is still dependent on rainfall for his farming and his income. One needs to be sensitive to such nuances.

Most brands still feel that ATL is non-existent today in rural India. Is it true or do brands need to start focusing on ATL in rural too?

ATL works for a select few products even in urban. It is also a very costly medium. I used Radio very effectively 10 years back and even today it works beautifully not just in rural but urban too. TV is not effective if one is selling an Agri-product to the farmer but may be effective for a soap brand which is making inroads in rural.

In your opinion, what are a few pointers a brand or agency should keep in mind while they are targeting rural?

Apart from everything mentioned above, everything that works in urban now works in rural. Only the execution may follow different platforms.

Share with us some of the most successful campaigns that you have created at Cropin and previously when you led WaterHealth.

At CropIn we are running a few sustainability and livelihood initiatives at the farm level. Here technology takes the center stage and everything that we do for every initiative whether it is woman empowerment, stopping child labor, increasing productivity, etc. is through it.

At WaterHealth, we ran Unnati campaign where we identified bright rural children who were awarded education scholarship. On the business side, the impact of the campaign was great, with an ROI of 170%.

How important do you feel are platforms like RMAI Flame Awards to honor the best work in rural marketing. What has been your experience so far?

It is an amazing platform for bright idea sharing and to felicitate deserving ones. Both WaterHealth and CropIn operate in a niche space within the Agricultural & Rural Industry and hence usually are not connected with the ecosystem. With RMAI and Flame, both the organizations have got the right exposure from stakeholders.

Any landmark changes you predict that are set to impact the rural marketing domain of the country?

Technology, Big Data, IoT, Precision Agri are the buzzwords around the world in Rural. These terms will change the face of Agriculture to be able to solve the global food challenge and with this, the rural economy will change too.

Note- The Last Date for Registrations for RMAI Flame Awards 2017 is 25th March 2017 & Submission of Entries is March 31st, 2017

In an exclusive conversation Siddhartha Choudhary talks about the recent trends in rural marketing and the way forward.

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