Take an off-road from the highway to any village in India, you will find a different world. When you see a defined, natural and unconstructed narrow path, the village road, field with crop or in crop in waiting, small corner with panwala, chaiwala where people in small group discussing local and national issues, natural gardens with few dense trees where children are playing their own manufactured games and the women working on something around their home, you are in real India where more than 60% population is based. The people here do not experiment much with their traditions. They use their tacit knowledge for all professional and non professional decisions. Professional decision like when to cultivate, when to harvest, what to produce, how to sell, and other non farm decisions along with personal decision are taken based on their knowledge, they earned in centuries. Television media has reached this population but continuous electricity is still on the way. The other communication tools are radio, local news paper, and their interaction in panchayat (a frequent gathering to discuss issues related with village). Given all these the effective rural marketing is the latest concern of many organizations today. In ‘RURAL CONSUMPTION AND GROWTH’ I’ve discussed the role of government and corporate to strengthen rural consumption by investing and participating in rural India value chain. In this post I want to discuss following strategies which I feel can make rural marketing more efficient:
Rural Value Chain consist of the producer (farmer), the processor, the retailer and the consumer. The organizations need to think where they are adding value. I feel vertical integration of companies dealing with agricultural product will increase the efficiency of every one in the value chain. Companies who are not dealing with agricultural output directly should take part to develop rural infrastructure and use it to increase efficiency of their own distribution.
2. Share of non farm income of rural India is increasing. More than 20% of rural population earns equal to urban middle class. The rural consumption potential is big but it is not geographically concentrated. Also the taste and preferences of rural consumer are different from the urban consumers. The buying decision of rural consumer depends on following parameters:
a. Their cultural upbringing.
b. Cyclical farm and non farm earnings.
c. Trust on the product and seller.
d. Local availability.
In view of above companies focusing on rural market need to reassess their strategies on following variables:
a. Robust product design focusing performance to build trust among rural consumer.
b. Innovative and cost efficient supply chain by involving local retailers.
c. Brand communication in local language.
3. For long-term sustainable consumption of rural consumers, the corporate and government must invest in farmer’s business education. The goals of such education should focus on following parameters:
a. What to produce? What market wants?
b. How to improve crop yield?
c. How to cut cost of production?
In order to meet sustainable penetration in Indian rural market, companies need to strategies’ hard from understanding rural consumers, their product related requirements, robust design and offering, right and localized communication, localized distribution and participating in rural value chain by investing in infrastructure and education for mutual gain.