Future of rural Markets RURAL MARKETING-THE FUTURE OF INDIAN INDUSTRY. Indian agricultural industry has been growing at a tremendous pace in the last few decades. The rural areas are consuming a large number of industrial and urban manufactured products. The rural agricultural production and consumption process plays a predominant role in developing the Indian economy. This has designed a new way for understanding a new process called Rural Marketing. The concept of rural marketing has to be distinguished from Agricultural marketing. Marketing is the process of identifying and satisfying customers needs and providing them with adequate after sales service. Rural marketing is different from agricultural marketing, which signifies marketing of rural products to the urban consumer or institutional markets. Rural marketing basically deals with delivering manufactured or processed inputs or services to rural producers, the demand for which is basically a derived outcome. Rural marketing scientists also term it as developmental marketing, as the process of rural marketing involves an urban to rural activity, which in turn is characterized by various peculiarities in terms of nature of market, products and processes. Rural marketing differs from agricultural or consumer products marketing in terms of the nature of transactions, which includes participants, products, modalities, norms and outcomes. The participants in case of Rural Marketing would also be different they include input manufacturers, dealers, farmers, opinion makers, government agencies and traders. The existing approach to the rural markets has viewed the markets as a homogeneous one, but in practice, there are significant buyer and user differences across regions as well as within that requires a differential treatment of the marketing problems. These differences could be in terms of the type of farmers, type of crops and other agro-climatic conditions. One has to understand the market norms in agricultural input so as to devise good marketing strategies and to avoid unethical practices, which distort the marketing environment. Many of the inputs used for production process have implications for food, health and environmental sectors. Rural marketing needs to combine concerns for profit with a concern for the society, besides being titled towards profit. Rural market for agricultural inputs is a case of market pull and not market push. Most of the jobs of marketing and selling is left to the local dealers and retailers. The market for input gets interlocked with other markets like output, consumer goods, money and labor. The importance of rural marketing can be understood from the fact that today modern inputs i. e. diesel, electricity, fertilizers, pesticides, seeds account for as much as 70% of the total cash costs and 23% of the total costs incurred by the farmers in the Green Revolution areas. Further the percentages were higher at 81% and 38% for small; farmers owning 1. 85 hectars of land. Strategies for rural marketing Rural marketing in India is not much developed there are many hindrances in the area of market, product design and positioning, pricing, distribution and promotion. Companies need to understand rural marketing in a broader manner not only to survive and grow in their business, but also a means to the development of the rural economy. One has to have a strategic view of the rural markets so as to know and understand the markets well. In the context of rural marketing one has to understand the manipulation of marketing mix has to be properly understood in terms of product usage. Product usage is central to price, distribution, promotion, branding, company image and more important farmer economics, thus any strategy in rural marketing should be given due attention and importance by understanding the product usage, all elements of marketing mix can be better organized and managed. Client and Location specific promotion Increasing specialization in the farming sector has marketers to this strategy. The marketer under this strategy has to design location and carry out farmer specific promotional campaigns. Recommending the use of the products at micro level would result in increasing productivity of the input and thereby increasing the image and the sales of the product can raise the input demand for rural markets. Joint or co-operative promotion A personalized approach is required under this strategy of rural marketing. Under this approach there is a greater scope for private sector and farmer organization to get into input supply and especially into retail distribution, as it is a low risk activity. Bundling of Inputs In order to reap the benefits of, the economies of the scale a rural marketer has to resort to bundling of inputs. ‘Bundling of Inputs’ is the process by which the marketer would provide a bundle of products to the retailer so that he can meet the requirements of the farmers in one place. The village level co-operatives and other agencies can play an effective role in the distribution of inputs. Establishing linkages with financial agencies and other input sellers can help greatly as the bank credit plays an important role by making the purchase possible. Management of Demand A marketer apart from maintaining good supplies in terms of quality and quantity also has to focus on the demand side of the operations also. Continuous market research should be undertaken to assess the buyer’s needs and problems at various levels so that continuous improvements and innovations can be undertaken for a sustainable market performance. Developmental Marketing Developmental marketing refers to taking up marketing programmes keeping the development objective in mind and using various managerial and other inputs of marketing to achieve these objectives. A prerequisite for developmental marketing is Development Market Research, which can be termed as the application of marketing research tools and techniques to the problems of development. The research tools of marketing like product testing tests marketing, concept testing and media testing or message test and focus groups are used in this work. The developmental marketing has started to find its roots in India where researchers are using focus groups and products tests to learn more about rural markets and products needs and USPs (Unique Selling Proposition) can be tried out. Media Rural marketing uses both kinds of media i. e. the traditional media as well as the modern media. The traditional media includes puppetry, drama, folk theatre e. g. tamsaha, nautanki, street plays, folk songs, wall paintings and proverbs. Marketer uses traditional media because it more accessible, personalized, familiar and carries a high potential for change. The modern media includes the print media, the television and the radio USP’S (Unique Selling Propositions) Rural marketers today are trying to emphasize a point of difference in their products that cannot be matched by competitors. Under this approach the communicator figures out what to say to the target audience so as to produce the desired results. Some of the USP’s of the companies engaged in rural marketing are given below. Mahindra Tractors- Mera Desh Mera Gaon Tafe Tractors-Grameen Bharat ki Dhadkan, Tafe ka Massey Ferguson Swaraj Tractors- Pragati aur Khush-hali ke liye Escorts- Nayi technique ke sath, Bharosa Jeevan bhar Ka Eicher-Ghazab ki takat, ghazab ki shaan Sun Seeds- Grow with Sun ICI Karate Insecticide- Keedon ka Maha-kaal, Phasal Ka Pehredaar. Pesticide India- Desh ke liye Phasal Anek, Keedon ke Naash ke liye Foratox Sirf Ek. Thus the companies use different formats to influence the target audience in order to produce the desired results. Extension Services We now that there are several limitations of Rural marketing in the Indian context, this leads to the need for extension services to supplement the efforts of the firms engaged in rural marketing. The various extension services could include credit facilities, competitions among the farmers, educating the farmers regarding the appropriate agricultural practices, etc. Extension services would thus play a crucial role in the development of rural marketing in India. Ethics in Business. Ethics occupies a special place in rural marketing, and has been at the heart of all the transactions whether cash or kind. In order to make a lasting impact on the rural clients, the firms need to built a trustful relationship and that is possible by no other means but only by ethical conduct. Partnership for sustainability Finally there is a need to build partnership with rural clients for a sustainable business relationship and sustainable marketing relationship. There should be a long-term relationship between the firms and farmers for agro business projects, which are risky, long drawn and technical in nature. Partnership is required in rural marketing business so as to award distributorship to local groups and individuals employing locals, staff secondment in local projects, preferential purchase of local product, training to locals and discount on product supplies in some areas. Rural marketing firms can work with N. G. O’s also because N. G. O’s have better linkages and understanding of the local communities and their problems. For instance Nagarjuna fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd has set up an agro output division which is known as FMS (Farm Management Service) which provides packages to the farmers right form soil testing to post harvest stage of the crop system. The FMS aims at enhancing farm productivity optimizing cost of production, improving economic returns to farmers and enhancing the cost of production and enhancing the produce quality. Conclusion Rural marketing in India has still a long way to go, rural marketers have to understand the fact that rural marketing in India has a tremendous potential in our country. Rural marketers should understand this fact and try to tap the huge untapped potential in our country.
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