A dramatic change is in progress. Villagers who used to crack open peanut candies, eatthe nut and throw away the shell are now demanding chocolate candies that will melt intheir mouths, not in their hands. Charcoal-cleaned teeth are a rare sight; so is the casewith twigs of
(babool) tree. Today, the ultra bright shine of Colgate or some other international brand of toothpaste holds more appeal than thetraditional methods of cleaning teeth. Even the native expressions of cleaning teeth,such as
, are endangered to being replaced bynew expressions such as
, 'to brush teeth with paste'. Even a simple querysuch as:
Where are you from?
Is not free from the overtones of marketization andglobalization in rural discourse. Consumerism and globalization is invading parts of India where, as some would venture to say, time seems to have ceased for centuries.Yet there has not been substantial progress in this area.
The hurdles that pose a challenge to the companies in rural marketing are asfollows:Seasonal Market:
The rural market is typically a seasonal market. The consumptionlevel goes high post-monsoon and dries up during the non-crop period.
The unit disposable consumption level is very low and theassortment has to be made in a different size compared to the urban market to suit it tothe rural customer's pocket. Multiplicity of assortment adds up to the cost level of theproduct and works against adding experience effect to the production. Furthermore, thedistributed settlement and high transportation cost makes it potentially less feasible for many companies to launch products for rural consumption.
Low level of education creates problem in brand identification. Sincerural consumers often cannot read the brand names and price tags, it makes it easier for the clones to launch brands similar in label and design and spoil the brand image of the so-called successful urban brands.Unscrupulous retailers are taking the benefit and damaging the perception of the brandsbefore they actually enter the rural market. So marketers and advertisers are looking for an alternative medium to promote brands through advertising. The success of abusiness in India will be decided in future by its success in the heart of India, i.e., therural market