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Consumer giants find haats are hot

Despite the economic gloom, Indian companies are finding a hope in the rural India. A number of consumer firms are visiting weekly rural haats (fairs), not to shop but to chase cash-heavy prospective rural customers.

business Updated: Dec 14, 2011 21:11 IST
Rachit Vats

Despite the economic gloom, Indian companies are finding a hope in the rural India. A number of consumer firms are visiting weekly rural haats (fairs), not to shop but to chase cash-heavy prospective rural customers.

“There are 45,000 plus haats across India and for any consumer firm this is the best place to woo the target group,” said S Venkatesh, director, RW Promotions (rural marketing agency). “The slowdown in 2009 was the time when most brands started looking at rural areas and that trend is returning now.”

So, one can expect Cadbury encouraging mothers to try out the Bournvita, or the State Bank of India helping rural consumers invest in mutual funds, all at the rural haat.

“The vision for these activations was to take the capital market to the smallest of the places. There is a huge untapped market but it requires a lot of investor education and such activations are cost effective,” said Sreenivas Jain, chief marketing officer, SBI Mutual Fund.

SBI saw good traction after the rural activation in Durgbhillai, Chattisgarh.

“This started out as an experiment in small villages in Maharashtra. We are now looking to expand the scope of this activity and take it to other states,” said Milind Walwkar, marketing director, Anacin.

“Rural is an untapped market for direct-to-home services and haats give us good results. On a an average, we cover 75 haats every month and a strategy is being put in place to cover haats across various villages in Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bengal and others,” said a DishTV spokesperson.