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IMT-72: Rural Marketing-MT2

IMT-72: Rural Marketing-MT2




Q1. “Rural India is undergoing a massive transformation due to interest shown in the rural markets by the public and private sector and even multinationals” Given this, elaborate on some of the initiatives undertaken in the rural sector.


Q2. Define Rural Marketing. Elaborate on “Rural marketing is a two-way process.” Support your answer with illustration.


Q3. The unique characteristics of the rural market environment are:

a. Prevalence of superstitions and taboos

b. Occupational pattern related to agriculture

c. Demand for cheaper and long-lasting products

d. Review the impact of each of these characteristics.


Q4. Infrastructural facilities in the rural areas have undergone a major transformation over the years. Highlight some of the key developments.


Q5. While rural market offers a vast untapped potential, it also poses several problems and constraints in terms of reaching out to this market. Highlight these key problems.




Q1. Elucidate the challenges faced in the marketing of fertilizers and agro-chemicals


Q2. What are the various factors that must be borne in mind while redesigning or re-modeling a product to suit the rural conditions?


Q3. The latest trends in rural marketing are concepts such as Contract farming and Agricultural Export Zones. Discuss.


Q4. Innovative promotions are a key factor for the tremendous growth of the rural market. Justify.

Q5. Elucidate how the formation of various types of co-operative societies has come to benefit the rural producers.




Q1. Discuss the various rural credit institutions available in the country and their objective and functions


Q2. Elucidate the three kinds of credit available to the rural dwellers from the credit institutions.


Q3. How are cooperatives formed? How do cooperatives help in promoting rural markets?


Q4. Discuss some innovative product strategies implemented by marketers keeping the rural consumer’s need at the helm.


Q5. Discuss few strategies used by marketers for keeping the prices low so as to match the rural purchasing power





Rural channel in broadcasting


All India Radio & Doordarshan are two classic examples of institutions whose ‘mission statement’ has certainly not been met with. ‘Bahujana Hitya Bahujana Sukhya’ (the good & happiness of the majority) and ‘Satyam Shivam Sundram’ (truth that is permanent & beautiful)are among the best mission statements of any broadcasting organisations the world over. But sadly, these statements have been totally ignored by policy makers & media planners in All India Radio & Doordarshan. If the good & happiness of the majority is the aim, where are the majority people residing in India? If 64% of India’s population lives in the countryside spread over more than 6.15 lakh villages, far away from the urban influence, it needs to be examined whether All India Radio is sensitised to the information, entertainment & educational needs of this majority (bahujans). Also, the real truth about Rural India is that every third person there lives below the poverty line. Year round employment, easy access to safe drinking water, sanitary toilets & electricity are still distant dreams. So, is Doordarshan portraying these truths, though they are not ‘beautiful’, to promote introspection & public debate.

That Doordarshan is totally urbanised & commercialised is a known fact. Let us therefore examine AIR’s role & responsibility since this is a cheaper medium within people’s access.

Less time: In the straight jacket programme pattern of AIR, the time devoted to ‘rural programmes’ has never been more than 6% and sadly enough, this has remained ‘static’ over the decades. Ten-minute farm new in the morning & ten minutes of farm & home dialogue in the afternoon are the staple items for the listeners by most of the 183 radio stations in the country.


Poor propaganda of development programmes: Successive governments have been implementing rural development & poverty alleviation programmes including wage employment, self-employment & integrated development programmes for many years now. What role has the radio played in creating awareness about the objectives of these programmes? By educating rural listeners about their role, rights & responsibilities vis-à-vis rural development programmes it could contribute to their better implementation.


Gender insensitivity: Media professionals are aware that the informational needs of women are different. Furthermore, 65% of rural women are non-workers (Rural Development Statistics, 1998, NIRD) and thus are available at home for listening to radio. Though most AIR stations broadcast for more than ten hours daily, they do not find it possible to set apart even 30 minutes of programming time for women.


Neglect of children: India’s population pyramid has a broad-base with children below 15 years accounting for 38% of the total population (RDS, 1998, NIRD). We also proclaim that children are the future hopes of the nation. But the tragedy is that the AIR cannot boast of a single programme for children. Broadcast planners have remained under the mistaken notion that it is enough to broadcast programmes for children during the weekends.


Indifferent entertainment: It is disquieting to note that even the needs of the rural audiences are not given any weightage. Hari katha programmes in Andhra Pradesh, Kathakali Padangal in Kerala and Nautanki in Uttar Pradesh & other hindi speaking states – all go on air after 9:30 pm. By this time, most of the village folk are fast asleep. What prevents radio from broadcasting them between 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm? National relays & cntral news bulletins are often cited as the stumbling blocks.

The argument put up by the broadcast planners in lieu of these allegations, is that the Planning Commission has driven them to view every programme from the angle of its revenue earning potential. However, this argument does not cut much ice. On the contrary, it is observed that programmes for rural audiences too have a lot of revenue earning potential. This is borne out by the fact that advertisements about chemical fertilisers, pesticides, tractors, pump sets, certified seeds etc. are crowded around regional news & farm news bulletins.


Serving different categories: Radio for decades, has retained programmes like ‘Anuranjani’ (classical music) which logs zero listening and ‘Sangeet Sarita’ whose listenership is far too negligible compared to film music programmes. In defense of these programmes, radio professional emphasis on their role to uphold cultural traditions & their duty to the society. But they seem to forget that they are as much duty bound to serve the rural masses who are in a majority as against patrons of music & other fine arts who are an elite group & mostly urban-based.


Need of the hour: There is no justification for a public service broadcasting medium depending on public funds, to ignore the interest of the vast majority of peole who need & want its service. There is a wide-spread belief that with the advent of television & more particularly the cable television, radio has almost disappeared from the urban media scene in India.



1. Do you agree with the view that there is a need for a rural channel in broadcasting? Why or why not?

2. How far do you appreciate the stand of AIR and its present programming policy?


3. What kind of programmes do you suggest for the rural audience?



The Mirage in Rural Markets


With urban markets fast heading towards saturation, consumer durable majors are heading towards the rural markets, currently showing a marked increase in prosperity.


Strange Experience: There have been many reports of colour television companies finding their assessments of the rural market going awry. With the rural areas being visibly poorer than urban centers the companies expected these markets to go primarily for the lower end of their products. Instead, these markets have tended to favour the expensive models and have had little need for instalment schemes. The obvious explanation for this unexpected result would be that the rural market is in fact richer than we thought. But analysing this unexpected result in terms of income alone could be misleading. Indeed, the result may also reflect a larger failure in understanding the Indian rural market.


The trends have been noticed in rural colour television sales may well be the result of the factors other than income. Rural areas, and very small towns, continue to see the dominance of the joint family. It is also not always considered polite in rural society to prevent friendly neighbours from viewing programmes regularly on your television set. There is thus a need for the larger screen that most premium models provide. And the rural joint family would not have much use for a monthly instalment finance scheme, as in an agrarian economy income is generated primarily at harvest time. The explanation for the unexpected marketing result may thus also lie in the social peculiarities of each rural society.


Ignoring this social dimension would have its costs for a company seeking to penetrate the rural market. Television makers who decide that the fault lies in their assessment of rural incomes alone would respond by flooding the rural market with more expensive sets. But such a strategy would cater only to the rural elite. There may well be a demand for a lower end television, even a black and white one, with a large screen. An approach that merely segments markets according to perceived income levels can thus miss potentially large rural markets.


The Study: Consumers in rural markets have begun showing an obvious preference for branded goods vis-àvis non-branded goods of rural origin, according to a study conducted by SRI. The study commissioned by the Consumer Electronics and Television Manufacturers Association concludes that there is more conspicuous consumption of consumer durables by almost all segments of rural consumers.


The report also showed that only one in three households had a radio, the penetration of television and two-inone was even lower. A comparison of the education and income levels of different clusters indicated that those who give higher priority to consumer electronic products are the more educated and the affluent.


Among other products, the hand pump was the most owned durable in agricultural durables and there was only a limited penetration of tractors. In the transportation category, the bicycle was way ahead of two-wheelers and four-wheelers with a market penetration of 73%. One in ten rural households do not own any of the above durables.


While only 4% of all television owners own a colour TV, more than one in three televisions were gifts. Nearly one in ten televisions is a second hand TV. One in ten TVs is locally assembled. As far as brand awareness is concerned, it was noticed that there was a high unaided recall only for older well established brands such as Onida, Philips, Texla, BPL and Videocon. Most respondents were aware of international brands only after aiding.




1. What conclusions would you make about the rural consumer, after analysing the findings of this study?


2. On the basis of this study, what recommendations would you give to the marketers of TV and other consumer durables?

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