To understand the mindset of rural consumers, MBA students of premier B-school Management Development Institute, Gurgaon conducted a disguised market research in Pataudi village of Haryana on October 24th, 2012. The research was organized on the day of Dussehra when the 109 year old Dussehra Mela attracts more than 4000 people in the village.
Every year corporate and MDI students collaborate to understand the Rural Indian consumers better - while students get valuable lessons in management, the corporate get invaluable insights for their brands. With different concepts for various companies every year, illumina is conducted in form of a ‘khela’ or a short interactive play for the village folk. It is in the guise of this play that villagers are profiled according to demographics and the responses are collected to be analyzed.
What differentiates this research from the others is the absence of a standard questionnaire or loud brand placement. Disguised market research is conducted without letting the villagers know they are helping a brand solve a consumer-related problem. MDI students take a different approach for the target audience as most of the respondents are illiterate or semi-literate. In order to capture their attention, they design the research centre like a movie or play set and the concept has been effective and successful. Moreover, the researchers get amazed at the recall value and awareness level of the respondents who are observant as well as perceptive.
This year, the research was conducted for Berger Paints, a premium paint manufacturer in India, which is expanding its services to the upcountry market. As Berger Paints looked to cater to the demand service gap in rural segments with a hassle free painting experience, MDI students conducted a research with a Bollywood theme – wedding of Bollywood stars Saif Ali Khan and Kareen Kapoor. The ‘khela’ revolved around the theme of their marriage with the concept that the villagers painted their homes for the visiting couple. It held a special relevance to the villagers as Pautadi is also the ancestral village of Saif Ali Khan who is now the Nawab of Pataudi. A day long affair the rural version of the festival gave students first hand lessons in rural marketing and a view of their customers-to-be. With an aim to gauge the mindset of the rural consumers, this is one of its kind event to cover all demographics for a market survey.