3 Marketing Lessons I’ve Learned On My Last Train Trip


Over the last few years, I’ve been working with the digital marketing team, and all I can listen to, understand, and breathe is the marketing approach. I never planned or thought of becoming a marketer, but I gradually understood that we all are marketers—knowingly or unknowingly.

Even when digital marketing provides customer insights and a detailed view of the buyer’s journey, offline marketing tactics never cease to surprise me. In this blog, I will share three marketing lessons I learned on my last train trip.

Flag Your Target Audience 

Much to everyone’s surprise, a beggar gave me this marketing lesson.

So, it happened like this – after waiting for 5 stations, I got lucky enough to grab a side window seat. I was relaxing my back and then a lady came to give a paper with some content regarding “जो तुम्हें मिला है सब परमात्मा की देन है और इसलिए भलाई करो”. She gave these pamphlets to many other passengers, and she went. I started reading to find out what it was about, and one other passenger nearby told me that she would come again to ask for money, so I may leave this paper. The lady dressed decently and didn’t look like a beggar. But, the passenger who advised me was also older. I decided to take his word. 

As he mentioned, the lady came for money, and when I didn’t give it, she told me to give the paper instead. She took the paper and went to another compartment. As every elderly person quotes, “हमने बाल धूप में सफेद नहीं किए हैं।” That proved to be true again😀. Her act gave me a light bulb moment. I was smiling while analyzing her approach. The lady used papers to flag her target audience and came to those with an approach of converting. It resembled a lot like targeted marketing to know her demographics and audience filtering she performed for better expectations of conversions. 😀

Marketing Funnel And Conversion – Aroma Therapy

If you are a food business owner, this marketing lesson is exclusively for you!

Even when everyone talks about health and hygiene, cravings and hunger don’t care about hygiene at all. People eat a lot in trains, and by a lot, I mean from every vendor at least 30-35% of people in every coach take one thing or another. That’s the case when all the middle-class and lower-middle-class travelers keep at least one lunch box with them, depending on the journey’s timeline. 

So, like many food vendors, there was this boiled chickpea chaat seller. He walked in our coach for 3-4 rounds approx.; as far as I’ve seen, no one purchased from him in the first round. On the first round, I was like naah; on his second round, the strong aroma of onion, tomato, and coriander was tough to ignore. When he came for the third time, I started checking the coins change in my pocket, and on his fourth round, I was converted! 

I mean, I purchased a bowl of chickpea chaat from him and after that 3 more passengers nearby shopped.

After a while, this whole cycle of my conversion made me think about my conversion journey. I felt like this chickpea seller used aroma therapy to drive passengers’ attention. As he made the first two rounds, we all were in the Awareness stage. When he made the third round, me and some other people came to the Consideration stage. And, on his fourth round with the same coach, many of us went to the Conversion stage. I was like… dang! That’s the buyer’s journey I read about.  

Marketing Jingles

I’ve been going to vegetable market with my mom since childhood, and of course, I listened to marketing punchlines by local vendors like this one: “बीस के चार, मत करो विचार”. But, this one from jaamun vendor on a train took my heart – “खाओ खेत का ताज़ा जामुन, भूल जाओगे गुलाब जामुन!” 

I was like, wooooowww!!! One side of my mind was jumping to say that jamun and gulab jamun have no taste relevance! 

I never loved Jamun, so I was not his target audience. But, my writer version loved the punchline this man came up with. This made me think that marketing jingles were always there in the market, looking for the audience’s attention. 

Closing Notes 

That’s all about the marketing lessons in the train. I’ve also learned ways to use time passes in trains without actually gluing to your smartphones’ 5-6 inch screens. I will tell you about it in my next blog. 

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