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MART’s rural research approach is very relevant for any technology innovation in emerging markets
Ravi Kaushik,
Director of Marketing, Maternal Infant Care, Performance, GE Healthcare
We conduct market research for gaining complete understanding into the eco-system, the consumer and the influencers, so as to design business solutions in emerging markets, such as developing product, developing ‘last mile’ distribution models and designing effective communication models.

We use ethnography research tools like participatory rural appraisal (PRA) to understand the rural environment, listen to consumers, empower the respondents and voluntarily engage them in the research process. Since Western rating and ranking tools are often inappropriate in getting accurate responses from the less literate and less exposed BoP audiences, MART has developed a range of research tools using color association and visuals which are found more appropriate in such settings.

Our Differentiators

Our bottom up approach and high engagement of respondents in the research process ensure that our business solutions are reliable and implementable.

 

Product Concept Research

Challenge/Problem: Traditional cook stoves emit smoke that is hazardous to health of both mother and child

  • Studying the indoor air pollution in rural homes across 11 states of India
  • Studying the types of stoves used and adoption of improved cook stoves under government program
  • Developing insights to design a cook stove having a business opportunity
  • Testing the proto-types developed in real test conditions in households

Our Approach: MART conducted a three level research

  • A secondary study on types of cook stoves used in different states and the government programs
  • An ethnography research to study the cooking environment, type of cooking, type of fuels used and cooking behavior. Insights were used for product development.
  • Based on the research, five prototypes were developed and tested in 120 rural households over a period of 6 weeks

Results/Solution:  The study helped the client in developing an advanced cook stove (ACS) which is now being marketed across several states in India.

  • The product uses 50% less fuel wood, cooks faster and emits no smoke
  • More than 250,000 ACS have been sold in the last 2 years
  • The program aims to sell more than 5 million stoves in India and other emerging countries

Business Modeling Research

Challenge/Problem:  Our client, a major global pharma company wanted to enter the Indian BoP market with its quality nutrition and medicinal products. The challenge was to deal with unorganized private sector health service provider and government in rural India.

Our Approach

  • MART conducted a research study to assess the health seeking behavior of patients for both preventive and curative ailments
  • Studied the health service providers, doctors, diagnostic centres and chemist stores for the quality of services
  •  Designed a business model for ‘last mile health care delivery’ to enable quality treatment for serious ailments like tuberculosis and availability of quality medicines

Results/Solution  

  • Arogya Parivar, the BoP marketing model for Novartis, is now implemented across 138 districts reaching out to 12 million people in India.
  • Treated more than 12,000 tuberculosis patients.
  • Women and children have benefited from nutritional products like calcium and iron. 

Segmentation Research

Case I

Challenge/Problem: Institutional rural financing has been restricted largely to primary lending for agriculture or under development schemes of Government of India. Our client, an NBFC, saw an unmet demand in small lending business and wanted to understand how to best address this need

Our Approach

  • Conducted an exploratory study to identify different occupation profiles and clustering them into potential segments - farmers, traders, businessmen, artisans and salaried people.
  • Studied their financial behavior including perception of money lenders, problems faced with documentation, collaterals and procedural issues in borrowing from banks.

Results/Solution: The study helped the company in identifying potential consumer segments and understanding their financial needs at different times of the year. The insights were used to design appropriate product offerings for the target segment.

Case II

Challenge/Problem: Rural consumer segmentation and demand estimation

  • Measuring the reach and penetration of mobile phones in rural India
  • Studying the rural population for their knowledge, usage and attitudes towards mobile phones
  • Testing 3G application concepts for their relevance and acceptability

Our Approach: A pan India study was conducted

  • Both qualitative and quantitative approaches were adopted
  • Conducted quantitative study to measure the reach, penetration and market readiness for technology applications in different parts of the country

Results/Solution

  • Identified five consumer segments based on usage and psychographics.
  • Estimated the growth of rural market for mobile phones for a period of 5 years
  • Tested the new concepts of video telephony, dynamic discounting and telemedicine which found a favorable response

Value Chain Analysis

Challenge/Problem:  This study was conducted to understand the value chain of seven crops from farm to agri-market. The challenge was to identify and add value in the chain such that efficiencies are improved along with improving quality of accessing commodity and trading.

Our Approach: The research study was conducted in 11 states across India to understand the value chain of the selected crops produced in different states and sold in agricultural terminal markets

  • Studied the farmers’ post harvest behavior towards warehousing/ cold storage of their produce
  • Studied the market infrastructure in terms of warehousing/cold storage, transportation, finance, packaging, food processing etc.

Results/Solution

  • Identified the pain points in the value chain both at the producer level and in the market
  • Discussed need gaps with the stakeholders and opportunity for intervention by  the client were identified
  • Designed strategies to enhance participation of farmers and traders in online commodity trading
Saroj Kr. Mohanta

Saroj Kr. Mohanta: Saroj’s interests lie in understanding consumers in low income, high volumes markets or the ‘emerging markets’. He is a qualitative researcher with experience in ethnography and has built deep understanding of rural consumer life, aspirations and behavior. He has developed innovative approaches in market research like adapting social research tools to market research tools. He has done a number of projects for global organizations.

Satya Sunder Mohanty

Satya Sunder Mohanty: He lives to be a quantitative researcher, on a look out for ways to appropriately modify tools and techniques for quantitative assessment of the BoP consumer, his beliefs, behavior and practices. He has been instrumental in developing MART’s Market Attractiveness Score (MAS), a market planning tool for marketing managers. He joined MART in 2000 straight out of B-School and except for about two years in between, has been a core member of the research team

Rajni Teriar

Rajni Teriar: Call her the internet wizard, researching the fast changing marketing games, the world plays. She has played anchor to projects which require understanding on new product ideas and emerging concepts. She was actively involved in supporting the author, Pradeep Kashyap, for his ‘Rural Marketing’ book. She joined MART in 2008 after working for five years in the marketing research industry.