Rural Marketing: Why C & D Market Residents Shouldn’t Be Overlooked in Your Advertising Strategy

Rural Marketing: Why C & D Market Residents Shouldn’t Be Overlooked in Your Advertising Strategy


Do you have a rural marketing strategy? Often overlooked, rural consumers are Americans living in smaller, yet highly lucrative, C & D markets.

Why is this an important distinction for advertisers? Roughly 20% of the country’s population, these consumers have different values and engage with media differently than their urban counterparts. Advertising strategies that are effective for urban consumers may fall flat with their rural counterparts.

They are also very price and value conscious, and they exhibit different planning and shopping patterns.

As prices continue to rise moving into June 2022, rural consumers are adjusting their habits more than their urban counterparts:

  • Rural consumers reported seeing price increases up to 9% more than their urban counterparts across multiple categories including grocery, gasoline, dining out, and home improvement.
  • Nearly half (45%) of rural consumers surveyed report driving less than urban consumers; 40% are making fewer shopping trips.
  • Rural consumers are 5% more likely than urban consumers to decrease their overall spending as prices rise, and they are also more likely to defer purchases such as dining out, apparel, entertainment, home improvement, and automobiles.

In response to these price increases, especially fluctuating gas prices, rural consumers are more likely to shop sales and 21% more likely to use more coupons than urban consumers. How can you target these value-oriented shoppers with compelling offers and coupons to acquire new customers?

Rural Consumers Respond to Print

Rural consumers are more likely to be influenced by print advertising and offers when making a variety of purchase decisions:

  • Dining Out
  • Grocery
  • Home Improvement
  • Apparel & Clothing
  • Automotive
  • Medicines
  • Beauty Products

Mspark delivers value to the consumers most likely to become your best customers.

If this audience is important to your business, we can help you reach them. We specialize in driving brand growth and customer engagement strategies for national and local advertisers in these important markets. These strategies include Total Market Coverage (TMC) newspaper replacement options. Relied on by advertisers across the nation to reach consumers in these markets for years, TMCs are disappearing. Gannett alone cut more than 100 during the first 5 months of 2022. We can help you fill these gaps with targeted print campaigns.

By combining consumer and marketplace data, we craft coordinated media campaigns using a seamless mix:

  • shared mail
  • direct mail
  • trigger-based marketing
  • digital advertising solutions such as display, retargeting, and Mobile ID tracking extend reach and response of your campaigns

–all strategically crafted to drive the right audience attention to achieve your marketing goals.

If you’d like to learn more about marketing and advertising strategies, some of our recent blog posts can provide additional insights:

10 Reasons Why Direct Mail Marketing is a Core Component of Today’s Strategic Mix

Extend + Amplify + Acquire—Make an Impact with a Multichannel Marketing Strategy – Mspark

Source: Prosper Insights & Analytics

Did you know? The U.S. Census Bureau is expected to reclassify up to one-third of urban areas as rural later this year

1,300+ small cities, towns and villages designated urban a decade ago would be considered rural under the new classification. The Census Bureau is switching from counting people to counting housing units to determine if an area is urban or rural. Bureau sources said this change will make it easier to update in between census updates that only happen once every 10 years. The Census Bureau also says a new privacy method aimed at protecting identities of people in small geographies actually introduced errors into the census data. The new method will enable more accurate counts. For example, under the existing classification, at least 2,500 people were needed for an area to be classified as urban. Now, urban classification will be determined by areas with at least 2,000 housing units (approximately 5,000 people). While a revised list of urban areas won’t be released until later this year, expect one-third of current urban areas to be reclassified as rural under the new criteria. Source:, May 1, 2022