The concept ‘Rural’ and ‘Marketing’, though used very frequently in various forums, have eluded any precise and non- controversial definitions. When we join them, the resulting concept ‘Rural Marketing’ means different things to different persons. This confusion leads to distorted understanding of the problems of rural marketing poor diagnosis and, more often than not, poor prescriptions. The Indian rural market with its vast size and demand base offers great opportunities to marketers. Two – thirds of countries consumers live in rural areas and almost half of the national income is generated here. It is only natural that rural markets form an important part of the total market of India. Our nation is classified in around 450 districts, and approximately 630000 villages, which can be sorted in different parameters such as literacy levels, accessibility, income levels, penetration, distances from nearest towns, etc. Rural marketing and urban marketing are identical as regards basic marketing structure. However, rural markets and rural marketing have special features and dilemmas as compared to urban markets. The rural markets offer a great scope for a concentrated marketing effort because of the recent increase in the rural incomes and the likelihood that such incomes will increase faster because of better production and higher prices for agricultural commodities.
The rural markets dominate Indian marketing scene and need special attention for the expansion of marketing activities and also for providing better life and welfare to the rural people. Given the development, which has taken place in the rural areas under the five- year plans and other special programmes, today the rural market offers a vast untapped potential. Development programs in the field of agriculture and allied activities, health education, communication, rural electrification, etc have improved the lifestyles of poor and the illiterate and some market agencies forecast the rural demand will supercede the urban demand in the near future.
Profile of Rural Marketing
1. Fast changing pattern and demand
During the last decade the rural consumers were in need for low end products which would meet their basic demands and necesities. But of lately due to change in technology rather advancement in technology the demand for people have also changed and the buying pattern which initially comprised of basic products have now shifted to luxiorous products. 2. Large and scattered market
In the 1st place, in terms of number of consumers, the rural market of India is a very large market ; it consists of more the 600 million consumers. The second aspect is that geographically, it is a vast market. Practically the role of India, barring the metropolitan cities and towns constitute the market. It is also highly scattered market: the consumers are scattered over 5,70,000 villages spread through the length and breath of the country. In terms of business generated too, it is a big market; 22000 crore rupees worth of non-food consumer goods are being sold per year in the market at present.
3. Heterogeneous market
It is not as if the whole of rural India can be taken as one homogenous entity. There is a great deal of difference among the various states in this regard. A study conducted by IMRB provides some clue to the relative status of the rural areas of different states. The study provides development index points for each state in the country collected village level data on various parameters such as availability of health and education facilities, the nature of facilities, availability of public transport, electricity transmission, banks, post offices, water supply and so on. A weight was decided upon for each facility, by type, based on the relative importance of that facility in industry to the extent of development reached by that village. The study has demonstrated that while the average village in India has 33...