Tuesday, May 01, 2012
The Facebook Farmer and Rural Twitter
A: Malik, social networking sites hold immense potential for a range of applications. These applications need not necessarily be for urban educated folk alone. The opportunity is ripe for the rural farmer as well.
On the other hand, for the Corporate, the social networking site does away with the one big issue most corporate organizations grapple with: access to market. Access to market today is defined not by physical product presence in the market, as much as the access to information about the product. Imagine a fertilizer or a seeds company that can network with the farmer online, offer prices on quantities, offer consulting and counseling services, and then finally sell. All this is today possible, thanks to the social networking site.
In the old days, a corporate entity would define for itself the urban market space as the space it could manage to cater to, due to distance. Today, every corporate can have an e-presence and an e-commerce and e-consulting and e-counseling plan in place. This means that no corporate is too far away or too close to the market. In many ways, the social networking site re-invents the model of Pure competition, where no player is too far or too close from the market. The potential is therefore pregnant.
Farmers can use these sites in several steps. Step one would be to garner information. This can relate to weather, cropping patterns, crop-volume-estimation across growing areas, rainfall patterns and more. In addition, farmers can network with brethren-farmers across the world and utilize the power of peer group influence in terms of buying and selling. Add to it the possibility of a more knowledge-enriched farmer, and you have the potential of a shift of power back to the farmer, from the current days where the power and margin largely rests with the middle-man. In many ways social networking sites can help dis-intermediate the market and help the farmer retain larger margins.
A: Shephali, yes, premium advertisers think radio as a non-premium medium. There is just too much of it, and there is ample research available that tells you that the premium-category shopper does not depend on awareness scores for luxury brands from radio. In fact radio tends to negate effort for luxury brands as of now. Proves counter-productive to effort. Radio is much too mass for luxury brands.
Premium luxury brands will still depend on niche mediums. Niche mediums such as niche print for instance. Airline in-flight magazines work beautifully here. Even for the small town traveler. In fact he carries away these in-flight magazines and salivates and shops. Works better than radio for sure.