Managing a Business/Rural Marketing
What are the challenges involved in the distribution of products in the rural markets? What would you advise to the marketers of consumer durables to address these challenges?
4]What are the challenges involved in the distribution of products in the rural markets? What would you advise to the marketers of consumer durables to address these challenges?
1. Emergence of rural markets
Distributing products across the rural market segment holds the key to how most corporations will sustain themselves over the next few years and in the longer run. With an approximate population segment of 700 million people, India’s rural Base of the Pyramid (BoP) market presents itself as a significant opportunity not only for multinational corporations but also for small and medium manufacturers and producers. Analysts predict the revenue opportunity in this market to be growing almost at pace with urban markets1. Today, the average rural Indian household spends about 75% of its annual income on food, beverages and tobacco, 12% on energy needs, and merely 2-3% on housing and health. In the near future, rural populations, supported by development policies like NREGA, farm loan waivers, increased minimum support price, enhanced rural infrastructure and relatively easier access to credit, are likely to spend proportionally much more on discretionary items and new product categories like healthcare, education, transportation and personal care.
2. The supply shortage
While numerous experiments have been conducted in pursuit of first mover advantage in Indian rural BoP markets, in reality, the success in this segment to date has remained elusive. As the demand in rural markets has risen to historic levels inadequate supply mechanisms have led to the so-called “BoP-penalty” that result in higher prices for Base of Pyramid (BoP) customers than their wealthier counterparts for the same basic products and services. This means a packet of basic commodity such as iodized salt costing Rs. 8 per kg in urban centres is available in rural geographies in the range of Rs. 12 to Rs. 25 per kg due to inefficient distribution creating local informal and uncompetitive .
3. The complexity of dealing with rural markets
On close observation, rural BoP markets are demanding and complex for producers/manufacturers because of the following challenges: a. Rural BoP Customer Profile b. Product Challenges c. Operating Environment (Eco-system)
• a. Rural BoP Customer Profile
• b. Product Challenges
• c. Operating Environment (Eco-system)
BoP markets are - often rural especially in emerging countries like India, poorly served and they starkly contrast wealthier mid-market population segments that are largely urban, relatively well-served and extremely competitive. So far, attempts to exploit opportunity in BoP markets have emphasized on product and process improvements. Success stories of rapid market penetration by fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs) that have innovative packaging such as shampoo sachets are encouraging, but offer limited insights that can be put to use in other product classes.
4. Distribution holds the key for fortune at the base of pyramid
Distribution networks in emerging markets tend to be unique and disjointed; Indian rural markets are no exception2. As C. K. Prahalad categorically highlights in The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, “Distribution systems that reach the BoP are critical for developing this market. Innovations in distribution are as critical as products and process innovations”. It is critical for any multinational corporation or small-to-medium enterprise considering entry into India’s rural market to understand both the characteristics of the prevailing distribution systems and how the distribution systems would evolve3. It is essential for upcoming small and medium enterprises to understand the characteristics of existing distribution systems and the way these distribution systems would evolve over a period of time. The corporation or enterprise must also assess whether accurate and timely product distribution can be achieved without first investing in its distribution networks.
5. Our intervention with alternate distribution models
For multinational corporations and small-to-medium enterprises alike, this report, “The Base of Pyramid distribution challenge” from CDF-IFMR, analyzes the product distribution choices available in rural BoP markets and evaluates the key drivers of distribution for a successful go-to-market strategy. The report outlines the case for identifying products’ unique distribution requirements and for working with distribution channels that have matching capabilities, using the example of energy products in rural Indian BoP markets. This report puts forth a new analytical framework for evaluating rural BoP distribution channels and their capabilities. It identifies typical marketing scenarios in which these distribution capabilities are essential. It focuses specifically on the distribution requirements of rural-targeted BoP consumer energy products. The report presents case study analysis of five rural-targeted consumer energy products, specifically solar lights and improved cook stoves, based upon the established distribution capabilities framework. In addition, six generalized alternate distribution models for energy products are presented and evaluated based on the framework. It builds the case as to how unique aspect of each distribution channel compels most companies to opt for the mix-n-match model, rather than using a single channel. In conclusion, the report summarizes the distribution capabilities framework, presents key strengths of alternate distribution models (like credit for MFI's, outreach for NGO's and commercial orientation for rural retailers) and draws lessons applicable for successfully distributing all products/services classes to India’s rural BoP markets.
Rural Marketing Challenges:
• Poor Infrastructure
• Non-availability of shops
• High levels of poverty
• Poor literacy rate
• Poor media penetration
• Skeptical customers (less use new brand )
• Rigid social customs
RURAL INDIA CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES INVOLVED
1. Distribution and logistics: Infrastructure continues to be a challenge in rural India. Moreover, the lack of an efficient distribution network prevents penetration of products/services into rural India. One of the most innovative models in recent times has been the usage of the postal service by mobile operators to penetrate scratch cards to the villages. The Indian Postal Service with 155000 post offices is the largest distribution network in the world, and has all of 120000 outlets in India’s villages.
2. Payment collection: The majority of the rural population is still unbanked. Clearly, non-cash collection becomes rather unlikely. Cash collections, on the other hand, are messy and difficult to monitor, especially since cash cards or technology-enabled centralized POS (like Suvidha or ItzWorld) have still not reached rural areas. The time-tested manufacturer-distributor-retailer network has been the only real success so far but setting up such a structure is rarely feasible. Partnering with MFIs comes to mind but often, the MFIs don’t cater to the relatively more privileged/affluent segments of the rural economy who are likely to be early adopters.
3. Pricing: While Sachet pricing may have worked very well for Chik shampoo, the overheads involved in payment collection do not always allow easy execution of sachet pricing. It is easier to collect in larger amounts as every instance of collection and carrying of cash has associated costs. Disposable income, though, isn’t always high since the bulk of rural India is agricultural and income cycles in agricultural are very erratic and not as predictable as in the case of us salaried individuals.
4. Scaling across geographies: If India is a land of many cultures, the contrast becomes that much starker in the case of rural India. Setting up operations on a pan-India level presents different types of hurdles in different states ranging from political juggling to downright local factors. Any model where scalability involves scaling on-ground operations (and not merely an increase in downloads) is bound to run into myriad issues as we move from one state to the next. Add to that the greater differences in consumer tastes and behavior across geographies than in the relatively more cosmopolitan urban population.
5. Developing inorganic scale: Developing synthetic scale through partnerships typically results in larger overheads in the rural context. Finding the right partner with reach and presence in villages is difficult to start with. More importantly, there are very few players who are strong on these counts across multiple geographies. Hence, a pan-India rollout typically requires multiple partnerships resulting in higher partner management overheads.
6. Social and cultural challenges: The cyber café (or kiosk) model has not worked in many parts of rural India due to socio-cultural issues. One of the reasons for the failure of the kiosk model in Kuppam (HP’s i-community) was the lack of usage by women which was largely due to their discomfort in going to kiosks run by men.
I don’t at any point intend to play down the potential that exists. Most of my points just go back to the assumption that rural is a volume market and requires scale and achieving that scale organically or inorganically is a major challenge. Those who succeed in cracking these problems definitely will change the world around us.
CHALLENGES IN RURAL MARKETING
There are several roadblocks that make it difficult to progress in the rural market. Marketers encounter a number of problems like dealing with physical distribution, logistics, proper and effective deployment of sales force and effective marketing communication when they enter rural markets. The major problems are listed below.
1. Standard of living: The number of people below the poverty line is more in rural
markets. Thus the market is also underdeveloped and marketing strategies have to be different from those used in urban marketing.
2. Low literacy levels: The low literacy levels in rural areas leads to a problem of communication. Print media has less utility compared to the other media of communication.
3. Low per capita income: Agriculture is the main source of income and hence spending capacity depends upon the agriculture produce. Demand may not be stable or regular.
4. Transportation : Transportation is one of the biggest challenges in rural markets. As far as road transportation is concerned, about 50% of Indian villages are connected by 20
roads. However, the rest of the rural markets do not even have a proper road linkage which makes physical distribution a tough task. Many villages are located in hilly terrains that make it difficult to connect them through roads. Most marketers use tractors or bullock carts in rural areas to distribute their products.
5. Warehousing : is another major problem in rural areas, as there is hardly any organized agency to look after the storage issue. The services rendered by central warehousing corporation and state warehousing corporations are limited only to urban and suburban areas.
6. Lack of communication system: Quick communication is the need of the hour for smooth conduct of business, but it continues to be a far cry in rural areas due to lack of communication facilities like telegraph and telecommunication systems etc. The literacy rate in the rural areas is rather low and consumer‘s behavior in these areas is traditional, which may be a problem for effective communication. The number of languages and dialects vary from state to state region to region This type of distribution of population warrants appropriate strategies to decide the extent of coverage of rural market.
7. Spurious brands: Cost is an important factor that determines purchasing decision in rural areas. A lot of spurious brands or look-alikes are available, providing a low cost option to the rural customer. Many a time the rural customer may not be aware of the difference due to illiteracy.
8. Availability: The first challenge in rural marketing is to ensure availability of the product or service. India's 7, 00,000 villages are spread over 3.2 million sq km; 700 million Indians may live in rural areas, finding them is not easy. They are highly dispersed.
India's largest MNC, Hindustan Lever, a subsidiary of Unilever, has built a strong distribution system which helps its brands reach the interiors of the rural market. To service remote village, stockists use auto rickshaws, bullockcarts and even boats in the backwaters of Kerala.
Coca-Cola, which considers rural India as a future growth driver, has evolved a hub and spoke distribution model to reach the villages. To ensure full loads, the company depot supplies, twice a week, large distributors which who act as hubs. These distributors appoint and supply, once a week, smaller distributors in adjoining areas. LG Electronics has set up 45 area offices and 59 rural/remote area offices to cater to these potential markets
The second major challenge is to ensure affordability of the
product or service. With low disposable incomes, products need to be affordable to the rural consumer, most of who are on daily wages. A solution to this has been introduction of unit packs by some companies. This ensures greater affordability. Most of the shampoos are available in smaller packs. Fair and lovely was launched in a smaller pack. Colgate toothpaste launched its smaller packs to cater to the traveling segment and the rural consumers.
Godrej recently introduced three brands of Cinthol, Fair Glow and Godrej in 50- gm packs. Hindustan Lever has launched a variant of its largest selling soap brand, Lifebuoy. Coca-Cola has addressed the affordability issue by introducing the smaller bottle priced at Rs 5. The initiative has paid off: Eighty per cent of new drinkers now come from the rural markets. A series of advertisement for this was rune showing people from diverse backgrounds featuring Aamir Khan.
The next challenge is to gain acceptability for the product or
service. Therefore, there is a need to offer products that suit the rural market. LG Electronics have reaped rich dividends by doing so. In 1998, it developed a customized
TV for the rural market named Sampoorna. It was a runway hit selling 100,000 sets in the very first year. Coca-Cola provided low-cost ice boxes in the rural areas due to the lack of electricity and refrigerators. It also provided a tin box for new outlets and thermocol box for seasonal outlets. The insurance companies that have tailor-made products for the rural market have also performed well. HDFC Standard LIFE topped private insurers by selling policies worth Rs 3.5 crore in total premia. The company tied up with nongovernmental organizations and offered reasonably-priced policies in the nature of group insurance covers.
The initiatives of CCI in distribution and pricing were supported by extensive marketing in the mass media as well as through outdoor advertising. The company put up hoardings in villages and painted the name Coca Cola on the compounds of the residences in the villages. Further, CCI also participated in the weekly mandies by setting up temporary retail outlets, and also took part in the annual haats and fairs - major sources of business activity and entertainment in rural India.
CCI also launched television commercials (TVCs) targeted at rural consumers. In order to reach more rural consumers, CCI increased its ad-spend on Doordarshan
The company ensured that all its rural marketing initiatives were well-supported by TVCs. When CCI launched Chota Coke in 2002 priced at Rs. 5, it bought out a commercial featuring Bollywood actor Aamir Khan to communicate the message of the price cut and the launch of 200 ml bottles to the rural consumers..
In the summer of 2003, CCI came up with a new commercial featuring Aamir Khan, to further strengthen the Coca-Cola brand image among rural consumers. The commercial
aimed at making coke a generic name for ‗Thanda.'Of the reason for picking up the word ‗Thanda', Prasoon Joshi, national creative director – McCann Erickson, the creator of the commercial, said, ―Thanda is a very North India-centric phenomenon. Go to any restaurant in the north, and attendants would promptly ask, ‗thanda ya garam?'‗Thanda'usually means lassi or nimbu pani, ‗garam'is essentially tea. Because the character, in itself, represented a culture, we wanted to equate Coke with ‗Thanda', since ‗Thanda'too is part of the popular dialect of the north. Thus making ‗Thanda'generic for Coca-Cola. With the long-playing possibilities of the ‗Thanda'idea becoming evident, ‗Thanda'became the central idea. Once we decided to work on that idea, the creative mind just opened up Between March and September 2003, CCI launched three commercials with the ‗Thanda Matlab Coca-Cola'tag line. All the three commercials aimed to make rural and semiurban consumers connect with Coca-cola. The first ad featured Aamir Khan as a ‗tapori'(street smart); in the ad he makes the association between Coca-Cola and the word ‗Thanda.'The second commercial in the series featured Aamir Khan as a ‗Hyderabadi shop-keeper'; here again he equates the word ‗Thanda'with Coca-Cola. The third commercial featured Aamir Khan as a ‗Punjabi farmer'who offers Coca Cola to ladies asking for Thanda. The three commercials showed progression in associating ‗Coke'with ‗Thanda'in a rural/semi-urban context. In the first commercial the connection of Coke with Thanda was made, in the second one there was a subtle difference, with the shopkeeper asking customers to ask for Thanda instead of Coke, and the third commercial showed that when one asked for Thanda, one would get Coke.
Analysts said that all the three commercials succeeded in make rural consumers connect to Coke and increased awareness of the brand among them. Along with TVCs, CCI also launched print advertisements in several regional newspapers
11. Awareness: A large part of rural India is inaccessible to conventional advertising media. Only 41 per cent rural households have access to TV. Building awareness is another challenge in rural marketing. A common factor between the rural and the urban consumer is the interest for movies and music. Family is the key unit of identity for both the urban and rural consumer. However, the rural consumer expressions differ from his urban counterpart. For a rural consumer, outing is confined to local fairs and festivals and TV viewing is confined to the state-owned Doordarshan. Consumption of branded products is treated as a special treat or indulgence. Hindustan Lever has its own company-organized media. These are promotional events organized by stockists. Godrej Consumer Products, which is trying to push its soap brands into the interior areas, uses radio to reach the local people in their language. Coca-Cola uses a combination of TV, cinema and radio to reach the rural households. It has also used banners, posters and tapped all the local forms of entertainment. Since price is a key issue in the rural areas, Coca-Cola advertising stressed its `magical' price point of Rs 8 per bottle in all media. LG Electronics uses vans and road shows to reach rural customers. The company uses local language advertising. Philips India uses wall writing and radio advertising to drive its growth in rural areas.
Also, in India, the retailers are highly fragmented, highly dispersed. At the same time, each of these regions serves a large population. The media penetration in rural areas is only about 57%. It has been seen that, two out of five Indians are unreached by any media TV, Press, Radio and Cinema put together. Haats, mandis and melas are opportunities.
SOLUTION TO PROBLEM OF RURAL MARKET
To solve the problems of rural markets in India, the following suggestions can be used by marketers.
1. Regarding the problems of physical distribution, the marketer may have a joint network of stockist/ clearing-cum-forwarding (C&F) agents at strategic location for facilitation of physical distribution for its products in the rural market. The main advantage of this scheme is that the costs of physical distribution can be shared by the companies and stockists. The combination of different modes of transport based on availability of tracks will be beneficial to the companies. Presently, bullock-cart plays a very vital role in rural distribution where the roads are not available. Some of the leading companies use delivery vans in rural areas for resolving the distribution problems in rural market. The delivery van takes the products to the retail shops in every corner of the rural market and it enables the company to establish direct sales contact with majority of the rural consumers which helps in sales promotion.
2. The rural market is composed of a number of retail sales outlets along with fair price shops under the public distribution system. It is suggested that the government should encourage private shopkeepers and cooperative stores to come forward and establish their business in rural areas instead of the weekly market known as weekly bazaar. Fertilizer companies have opened their outlets for proper distribution of fertilizer among the farmers. Similarly, the companies dealing in consumer goods can apply this model. The company may also appoint a number of retailers in and around the feeder towns and attach them to the stockist who distributes the goods to the retailers as per the potential of the market. This system has the benefit of penetrating into the interior areas of the rural markets.
3. To solve the problems of sales force management, it is suggested that the company takes due care in the recruitment and selection of sales people because the traits they require are different from urban and suburban sales persons. For the rural markets, only those sales people should be preferred for selection who is willing to work in rural areas. They must be aware of the local language and must have the patience to deal with rural customers and can discharge the duties of a bare-footed salesman. Administration of such a large and scattered sales force, supervising and supporting them in sales calls, guiding them, attending to their official and personal problems, and motivating them for better results should be an exacting task for the sales manager. Thus, the people operating in rural areas should invariably be from the rural background and should have a missionary zeal to serve the rural masses.
4. With reference to marketing communication in rural areas, the company should use organized media-mix like TV, Radio, cinema and POP (point of purchase) advertising. Television is gaining popularity in the rural areas but due to poor supply of electricity, radio is performing significantly better. Since, the rural people need demonstration, shortfeature films with disguised advertisement messages, direct advertisement films and documentaries that combine knowledge and advertisements will perform better rural marketing communication. Here the companies may also use audiovisual publicity vans, which may sell the products with promotion campaign. To attract the rural consumers, companies can organize village fairs, dance and drama shows, group meetings to convince the rural consumers about the products and services. In most Indian villages, there are some opinion leaders. For the rural markets, only those sales people should be preferred for selection who is willing to work in rural areas like Sarpanch, Pradhan and other elderly persons. They can be approached by the marketers to propagate their messages; these persons can prove to be effective communicators within the rural masses.
The 4Ps of Rural Marketing
Most of the companies treat rural market as a dumping ground for the lower end products designed for an urban audience. But, this scenario is slowly changing and importance is given to the need of the rural consumer. Hence it is important to understand the 4Ps of rural marketing with respect to a rural consumer.
They identify FMCG by three things: 1. Color, 2. Visuals of animals and birds and 3. Numbers.
So a 555, 777, hara goli, pila hathi, lal saboon, saphed dantmanjan are the kind of terms with which they identify brands. Hence it is very important for us to understand that a lot needs to be done in terms of communications, media, marketing and branding. There are a number of cases which suggest that to sell brands in the rural market, it is necessary to simultaneously educate the consumers. If you have to create brand communication, marketing efforts must be supported by education.
The following have to be kept in mind while the marketer makes a decision on the product.
1. The product for the rural markets has to be simple, easy to use and provide after sales service or maintenance. 2. The product has to be packed for low price and convenient usage. 3. The pack has to be easily understood by the rural consumer. The information on the pack is preferred in local language communicating the functional benefit of the product.
A rural customer is price sensitive and shops for value. This is mainly because of his lower income levels than his urban counterparts. Hence the marketer has to find ways of making the product affordable to the rural consumer. Banks offer loans for tractors, pump sets, television sets and so on to make the product affordable to a rural consumer. Smaller unit packs are preferred in the case of FMCG products to offer at lower prices. The product packaging and presentation offers scope for keeping the price low. Reusable packs or refills are also preferred and are seen as value addition.
3. Placement or Distribution
Distribution of products is one of the biggest challenges of rural marketing. There are CWC (Central Warehousing Corporation) and SWCS (State Warehousing Corporations) set up in rural areas to store and distribute products. A three tier rural warehousing setup •Co-operatives •CWC/SWCs •exists: Rural Godowns
CWC and SWCs reach up to the district levels. The co-operatives are at the mandi level. The Rural Godowns are at the village level wherein they are owned by panchayat heads. All these tiers provide warehousing facilities only to their own members. Hence it is a big problem for a company to store its goods in rural areas.
There are some problems of rural distribution: Lack of proper channels of•Transportation has not been fully developed. • communication like telephone, postal services, and so on pose a lot of problem to marketer to service the retailer as it is difficult to the retailers to place Storage of goods in•order for goods. rural areas is also a problem for the marketers.
Multiple tiers push up the costs• and channel management is a major problem for marketers due to lot of middlemen Poor viability of•Availability of suitable dealers •in the process. rural There are a•outlets lot of private shops in the rural sector.
Communication to rural consumer is through organized media. More number of rural consumer (~70%) listen to radio and many go to cinema.Rural communication can be through Conventional media or through a nonconventional media. The most common conventional media include: Print, Cinema, Television and Print. The Non-conventional media include: Theatre,Posters, Haats and Melas.The conventional media have excellent reach, less expensive and create a better impact. But at the same time, it is not customized to each village and also offers unnecessary coverage at times. Low
literacy rates, culture, traditions, rural reach, attitudes and behavior are the other problems in rural communication. An effective promotion should plan for a proper mix of media. This is very important to create a mind share in the rural consumers. Hence, talking to the customer in a language known to him, advertising the functional benefits and demonstrating the product go a long way in capturing the rural market.
Hindustan Lever is the first company that comes to mind while thinking of rural marketing. Amul is another case in point of aggressive rural marketing. Some of the other corporates that are slowly making headway in this area are Coca Cola India, Colgate, Eveready Batteries, LG Electronics, Philips, BSNL, Life Insurance Corporation, Cavin Kare, Britannia and Hero Honda to name a few.
Rural areas can only be developed if the financial, structural, economic and social aspects are addressed in a holistic manner. This is possible if these areas are supported by adequate funds, equipments, infrastructure and education.
Indian consumers are poor but not backward. The future lies with those companies who see the poor as their customers. Companies should focus on creative solution and product engineering to reduce their costs and offer tremendous ‘life time value’ to the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’ customers. Effective rural marketing is one and only solution to reach the BOP segment.
Rural Marketing Strategies:
Rural marketing concept is a customer-centered ‘sence and respond’ philosophy. The following section deals with how MNC’s and local companies have successfully established themselves in the rural market.
 Product Strategy:
The rural consumer is very conscious about getting ‘value for money’. Low price, high quality and multiple uses is basic principles rural product design.
Case 1: Nokia 1100
Nokia 1100 has so penetrated in to the rural market
Nokia had to stop its production of 1100 because as its own
product has become its toughest competitor. Nokia’s
low-end cell phones are used as radios, alarm - clocks and
flash lights by the rural customers.
Strategy: “digital convergence at the bottom of market”
Case 2 : LG sampoorna TV
LG Electronics launched a customized TV
sampoorna’. A more important aspect of customization
is to make TV set which can appeal to local needs,
it facilitated on screen display in vernacular language like Hindi, Tamil and Bengali. selling 1,00,000 sets in the very first year.
Strategy: “thinking locally, succeeding globally”
Case 5: TATA Nano
Tata Motors launched ultra low cost Nano. Nano is a low-end ‘rural car’, hence its creates a new segment of people of buying car. It is a victory for all those who have been advocating making available cheaper products for customers at the BOP.
Strategy: “we needed to create a safer journey of transporting a family”
Suggestions for CONSUMER DURABLES
• Innovative product designs and packaging.
• Avoid the marketing myopia, which means the costumer will have the same need but will want the new product.
• Application of value engineering, which means costly metal being replaced by cheaper reinforced plastic. This technique does not sacrifice the functional efficiency of a product but lower the product price.
• Using chinese product design strategy and raw material.
• Be care full on product duplicates and using security features.
Marketers must often understanding rural customer’s needs and aspirations even better than customers themselves do and creating products and services that meet existing and latent needs, now and in the future. A fair amount of research is required to understand the latent needs and desires of rural customers and provide suitable products.
 Price Strategy:
Rural markets are low price high volume growth markets. The rural markets being intensely price-sensitive in comparison to urban markets, reaching at a lower cost is a major challenge.
Suggestions for CONSUMER DURABLES
• Use backward and forward integration.
• Using value-based pricing strategy . That means fixing of price, starting with customer and end with product.
• Use psychological tricky pricing strategies. That means method of odd number pricing etc.
• Effective total quality management is helps to low price high quality product.
Companies should focus on creative solutions and product engineering to reduce their cost. Second, the company can design basic models minus frills to save cost.
 Promotion Strategy:
The challenge is to create communication that would help the rural consumer in recognizing brands, logos, visuals and colors. To effectively tap the rural markets, a brand must associate with their culture and personality.
Suggestions for CONSUMER DURABLES
• Provide social outlet campaigns, the outlet provide free to any one, what brand they choose. Its creates a ‘trust factors’ to the consumers.
• Be care full on retail margins other wise they promoted local brands.
• Face-to-face ‘below the line’ touch, that means feel and talk mode at heats, melas and mandis.
• To capture the local sprit in the communication. Using local language.
• Patience is the name of the game. That means a rural consumer is not in a hurry and you can take your time in communicating the message.
• Developed a website, which gathers valuable feedback from satisfied customers and also display the total amount saved by consumers with the product impact.
World-of-mouth communication strategy works better in rural markets as these markets enjoy limited reach media. Once people become familiar with these products, they would perceive them as necessities.
 Distribution strategy:
Planning physical distribution, managing logistics and controlling marketing communication are major impediments for entering rural markets. The distribution structure involves stock points in feeder towns to service these retail outlets at the village levels.
Suggestions for CONSUMER DURABLES
• Best solution for enter into the rural markets, that is the company should start the production in rural areas. Then it is easy to distribute and also its increase the local sprit.
• Tie’up with public distribution system (Fair Price Shops). In our country, the public distribution system is fairly well organized. The revamped PDS places more emphasis on reaching remote rural areas of hills and tribaks. So FMCG companies collaborated with the PDS to utilize its well-established sales and distribution network in the rural markets.
• Develop rural shopping malls. Rural shopping malls act as a two-way supply chain. While selling goods to the farmers and also buy their farm produce.
• Use a combination of wholesalers and retailers to penetrate every nook and corner of rural market.
Going paces ahead of small packs and sachets’ the corporate world is now coming out with ‘Rural Malls’ and ‘Self help groups’ as channel partners to promote consumer products in rural India. Unilever and ITC are working towards increasing their visibility and reach through marketing - cum social responsibility projects such as ‘shakti and e-choupal’ respectively.
A silent revolution is sweeping the Indian countryside. It has compelled marketing whizkids to go rural. The marketing battle fields has shifted from the cities to the villages, but in this battle both consumers and companies are winners, it is a win-win situation. ‘Go Rural’ seems to the latest slogan. Stop depending on research number. Go and meet up with a million villagers and ask what they want. Create the products and services that is relevant to their needs. Thus, it is quite clear value-for-money offerings companies could convert luxuries in to necessities for the Indian rural consumers.