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The Urban divide, within

The urban divide should not be confused with the urban-rural divide in India. The urban divide is about the gulf between the Americanised Urban dweller and his conservative counterpart, both rubbing shoulders on urban streets in cities like Bangalore. That gulf seems to widen by the day.

For marketeers, this divide poses a bigger dilemma than the one that keeps rural India away from their urban counterparts. In the urban-rural scenario, the distinct groups are well defined with members of each sharing common characteristics with each other within the group. Creating product and services for such distinct groups and managing pricing, distribution and communications is easier as compared to doing the same for the split within the urban segment. How can marketeers create varied offering for the cool Americanised types and the conservative types, and then get both groups to buy in successfully to the offerings within the same geographical space, urban India?

This divide has been illustrated in an interesting article, Schizoid Cityscapes, in the Outlook Magazine. Take retail for instance. Should store formats be customised in pockets of Bangalore populated by the 'conservative' types as against those populated by the Americanised types? What about the product/stock mix within these stores? Will a bottle of marmalade find a place in the first set of stores? What about prices? How will communication campaigns be manged to appeal to both the segments across the divide? Are there any unifiers? A common thread perhaps, that would make life easier for marketeers?

All these questions have to be considered carefully by marketeers before venturing into urban markets in India.

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