Planman media hosted a special interactive session on May 28, 2010 focusing on a very contemporary and relevant topic in the automobile sector – ‘The fight between the urban and rural consumer’ – at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. As almost all automakers in the country are heading towards the Tier-II and Tier-III cities to generate a sustainable growth for the future, we decided to explore how strategies differ when it comes to convincing the rural consumer versus the urban consumer. The session was attended by industry stalwarts, media representatives, journalists and also members of the editorial team at Planman Media. The welcome address was given by Planman Media’s editor, Prof. A. Sandeep, where he questioned the importance being given to rural markets – as rural customers earn almost five times lesser than the urban customer, and spend much less as compared to the urban consumer. Pankaj Dubey, National Business Head, Yamaha Motors (India) was the first speaker, where he threw light on Yamaha’s rural strategy. Notably, after gaining a considerable position in the premium segment, the Japanese two-wheeler major has recently made its presence felt in the executive segment with the YBR 110. The next speaker Sanjeev Goyle, Senior Vice President – Marketing (Farm Equipment Sector), Mahindra & Mahindra, defended the rural consumer commenting that Mahindra & Mahindra has become the world’s largest tractor manufacturer last year, purely based on sales in the Indian rural markets. Goyle focused on how the rural consumer, both behaviourally and in terms of need based purchases, is different as compared to the urban consumer. At the same time, the subsequent speaker, P. S. Choudhary, Head-Marketing, LML, stressed on the fact that there were many similarities between the urban and rural consumer, especially while considering the automobile industry. Choudhary shared his 4A theory for rural India – affordability, awareness, availability and acceptance. The next speaker, Udit Bhandari, CEO, Indimoto, peppered his speech with research findings that differentiated rural from the urban consumer. The last speaker, Anuj Guglani, CEO, Ace Associates, provided hard statistics, research data and convincing figures that augmented the past speakers’ various points. The concluding session saw the speakers agreeing to disagree on how much advertisement spend should be invested in the rural segment. In all, a critical and incisive conclave.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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