We have preconceived notions when we talk about the telecommunication revolution in our country, dont we?
While talking about the phenomenal growth in the past two decades, we conveniently forget (rather ignore) the huge chunk of the rural market. We still consider it a world of some other planet where people still use the good old landlines, black&white television sets, and bicycles.
Well, it is not our fault. A person who has not seen the world beyond metros and big cities cant imagine about the lifestyle and living standards in the remote villages.
I was also amongst the lot until I joined Vritti iMedia and started working on rural marketing assignments. It was an eye-opener indeed. The bookish concepts about Indian villages and rural areas got shattered completely, and I was exposed to an altogether different world.
The Net-savvy Shepherds
Let me share an amazing incident happened recently when myself and my boss Mr Jeevan were traveling to some interior place in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka.
We had a meeting with the principal of a college located in the outskirts. It was a pristine location where a large open field was there around the main building of the college.
As there was a rain fall in the surrounding areas just before a few days we visited, there was lush green grass everywhere, and it was a picturesque scene.
While we were waiting for the principal sir to come, something grabbed my attention.
In the widespread ground, I saw a flock of goat and sheep grazing in the sunny afternoon. The two shepherds who I assumed the owners of the animals were sitting leisurely under the tree.
However, to my surprise, they were neither sleeping nor playing a fiddle (as it is described in the stories and films); but they were watching something very keenly and enjoying it.
The scene was so unusual that I could not resist myself from going there and enquiring about what was going on there? I knew it was not a gentlemen act, though.
When I reached near, I realized that the son was holding a Smartphone in his hand (it revealed me later that they were father-and-son duo) and both were watching a hilarious Kannada movie.
And yes, the movie was not stored offline but they were having a Reliance Jio SIM and 4G connectivity. Yes, you heard it right; it was 4G SIM Card!
It was a great learning for us
We still have the age-old ideas about the lifestyle, likes and dislikes, preferences and choices of the rural population.
Today, if the two shepherds are techno-savvy enough to access YouTube, Whatsapp, and snapchat, then the educated people of rural areas can do much more beyond it.
The time has come that we come out of our prejudices and face reality as far as rural marketing campaigns are concerned.