"Consumer isn't a moron. She is your wife"

This Ogilvy's quote made little sense until a couple of days back when I got the first glimpse of how the superficially similar consumer exhibited a varying gradation of behavior to the same basket of services. It was in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra, where we were attempting to figure out why a prudently launched educational service of a company, which has had considerable  experience in "dealing" with the rural consumer, had evidently failed to take-off.   

In the three of the villages where the services was piloted it was quite shocking to see one that showed no success whatsoever, other that had some signs of partial success and the last one that had a commendable success story which unfortunately failed to sustain the momentum. Even considerable field analysis has not thrown much light on why the educational service package, which was targeted to improve the learning outcomes of primary school children, has failed to triumph. 

There are many questions that still remain unanswered. What explains the gradation of responses from villages which are not farther than a half-hour distance from each other? Was the service which was priced at a minuscule one rupee a day, not affordable to the consumer?  Was there a lack of monetizable value proposition to children or parents? Was the provider, who is ironically known for its undisputed expertise in servicing the rural, not meeting the expectations? Did the company, who knows the game of promotion better than anyone else in the industry, fail in its task of marketing the services? While some might argue that when services provided for free are per se not received well, it is irrational for an entity such as this to expect favorable responses when the same services are charged for. Does the rural consumer mind like that of a "smart" urban consumer correlate price with quality and value? If so then shouldn't an entity charge premium to help the blindfolded rural consumer realize the potential benefits of such services? 

For now, it looks like this rural consumer is much like a wife who I will probably get to know in a few months time!

~ Santosh

rashi gupta
01/16/2008 02:37

I am almost 1 month into it ....and its still a mistry to me .....best of luck to you

08/04/2008 02:26

I could not understand too, wonder if anyone can ever claim to truly and fully understand his wife!
My take on this is similar to dealing with a wife : each situation needs to be analysed seperately and responded accordingly. There is no manual to help

04/26/2011 01:58

Learning to compare prices benefited me in other ways than just my grocery bill. Take going to the movie theature for an example.

05/10/2012 23:09

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06/11/2012 01:06

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