Markets of tomorrow

With the increasing demand for goods and services, the rural market is growing at the rate of 15%.   | Photo Credit: Rajesh N.

Rural marketing is a marketing system that involves the development, planning, pricing, and distribution of goods and services so that people in rural areas can access basic products at fair prices. In fact, the growth of most sectors in rural India — which is an agriculture-based economy — is determined by the rural marketing system.

Rural India accounts for about 70% of the population with the existence of 162 million households (according to 2011 census). The Rural Marketing Association of India (RMAI) found that about 60% of India’s income has come from rural, small-town, and semi-urban economies. Further, the Technopak study drew attention to the fact that with the increasing demand for fast-moving consumer goods, pharma products, auto parts, and others, the rural market is growing at the rate of 15%.

Rural marketing has ensured a smooth flow to create an overall balance in India’s social and economic development. This has been brought about by an increase in productivity in the agricultural sector.

Deciding factors

The population, rising rural prosperity, change in demands and lifestyle, life cycle advantages, and so on are a few of the many factors that decide the scope of rural marketing. Apart from this, organisations are trying to increase their reach to underserved markets, to meet the growing need for sustainable organisational activities, and to develop a good corporate image by CSR activities. Businesses have been reinventing their business models and changing their nature from commercial motives to social motives.

Organisations are now spending time and money on extensive study of rural buyers to understand consumer behaviour, and to customise goods and services. This has led to improved rural infrastructure and income, resulting in a general improvement in their standard of living. For example, Hindustan Unilever Limited introduced Project Shakti in 2001 with to empower women in rural areas by creating employment and income-generating opportunities. Similarly, HDFC Bank Ltd. (under its CSR umbrella Parivartan) launched a wide variety of projects to decrease the stress on farm income in rural households. The Tata Group came up with TRI (Transforming Rural India), which included implementing health and nutrition-based programmes across regions of endemic poverty, facilitating engagement with teachers and students, and so on.

What does all this mean for students? Marketing graduates are finding the field extremely intriguing and rewarding due to its increasing scope. Advertising agencies, organisations, market research agencies and others are on the lookout for young talented minds to come up with creative solutions incorporating working technologies, business models, and wavemakers (individuals that help organisations go forth with their social schemes and projects by developing and funding compelling solutions. Thus, rural marketing is a booming sector with plenty of job opportunities.

The writer is Director, Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies, Pune.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 9:51:12 PM |

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