Rura l Marketing


American Marketing Association defines Marketing Research as “The
systematic planning, gathering, recording and analyzing data about problems related to marketing of goods and services.”

Marketing Research Process:
Marketing research involves a sequence of steps-

Step-I Defining a research problem Step-II Finalizing a research design Step-III Developing a research hypothesis Step-IV Planning the research methodology Step-V Data collection Step-V Data analysis Step-VI Conclusion and Recommendations

Rural Market Research:

Research is an extremely vital function which needs to be carried out in order to effectively tap highly heterogeneous rural market of India. Most of the steps required for rural marketing research are identical to those followed in conventional urban marketing. However a major difference comes in area of data collection. Rural areas traditionally are highly under researched and conducting research in fairly large and heterogeneous rural areas require extensive research effort.
Rural market research has gradually evolved from just supplying market share figures to its current role of executing predictive research to provide valuable insights into the psyche of consumer.

Evolution of Rural Marketing Research:

Prior to 1980’s
Thompson Rural Market Index:
First comprehensive attempt to study rural market by Hindustan Thompson Associates (HTA). This database provides information on market potential value(MPV) of a particular district based on 26 variables viz. demographic variables, occupational patterns ,agriculture based information etc. This tool was useful for segmenting rural markets directly for agricultural inputs and durables but limited for consumer durables and consumables. This tool provided information only up to district level potential and not for individual villages.

IRMA (Institute of Rural Management,Anand)was first to initiate a course on rural marketing. It developed several case studies on rural consumers and carried out research work on respondent bias, segmentation issues, evolving nature of rural markets and market potential analysis. There was lack of rural marketing consultants/trainers to train planners or sales staff.Co.s such as HLL and Colgate Palmolive were training their marketing staff through experience based learning. Knowledge generation about rural markets was intensive but dissemination was low. Training materials, educational programmes,articles on rural issues started developing.

In 21st Century
Need to develop a ‘Rural Marketing Information System’ To adjust to the new demands of clients, market research agencies are trying to bring in array of tools and techniques that could help clients gain new consumer insights. Focus on" Predictive research” to provide consulting role in launch of new product, designing new promotions etc based on study of consumer behavior.

S .No . 1.


Diff erences in Research

Ur ban – Rural M ark et
Semiliterate or illitereate,unaware of brands. difficult to get individuals response. generally group response. Hesitant, But devotes time

Respondent s Time Accessibility

Literate ,brand aware, individuals respond individually Willing to respond ,have time pressures ,spare little time Easy to access, though many suffer from research fatigue

2. 3.

Tough to access; geographical and psychological apprehensions. do not speak easily to outsiders. Very few sources and less data Less no. of all categories

4. 5.

Secondary Data Primary data sources Sampling

Internal data, syndicate research, published media and many sources. Large no. of middlemen,experts,consumers,sales force, opinion leaders Respondents form relatively homogenous group. income can be a criterion Use of sophisticated instruments, style and administration. respondents comfortable with number ratings and scales.


Heterogeneous group, income and land holding to be applied carefully. Requires simplified instruments .respondents comfortable with colours ,pictures and stories.


Data Collection

Sou rces and Metho ds of Data Co llect io n
Organizations have the option to use either Primary or Secondary sources for collecting the data. Primary sources include original information collected first through field surveys,questionnaires,group discussion, experimenting etc. Secondary sources include use of already published data by government organizations ,research bodies ,consultancy organizations. Data Collection Approaches in Rural Areas A large no. of rural people are not aware of the concept of market research. The investigators need to first build a good rapport with them, make them understand the importance of research and break the barrier of suspicion, hesitation and reluctance to participate in research activity. Ensuring the support of opinion leader: Educate /influence the opinion leader to gain support from respondents. Behaving so as to be liked by rural people: dress,speak,act and behave as liked by rural respondents to attain their respect, willingness and participation and avoid acting in urbane manner. Being at right places: investigator can choose those places which are likely to be visited by a good no. of people so that he can attain efficiency in data collection like village choupal,retail outlets, fairs and haats.

Data collection Tools for Rural markets
Different set of tools are required to conduct effective research in rural markets. conducting research with typical 5 point or 7 point scales used in urban context have not been found effective in rural context b’coz it involves a complex understanding. Newer and effective tools are being used for rural market like a. Pictorial scales Pictures of faces Coloured wheel Coins Carom discs Playing cards Ladder b. Simplified Scales Conventional scales can be simplified to less complex 3 point scale.

Research Tools for Rural Market
Different tools have been developed by different market research organizations and advertising agencies which could be used to analyze the market.

Semiotic analysis: developed by AC Nielson which studies association
people have with different signs and symbols. it can be used by advtg. agencies to give a boost to their creatives and guides in choosing appropriate colours, signs and symbols.

Customer eQ : tool developed by AC Nielson which measures quality

,satisfaction and loyalty provides information with regard to brand equity by mapping the factors that could impact customer perception.

Advanced Tracking Programme (ATP) developed by IMRB
A comprehensive tool to track the brand equity of about 1,000 brands on a continuous basis.

Consumer ID: used to identify how consumers relate and react to

different variables of the product category and to the different brands in the product category.

Lincompass: Lintas specialized rural marketing division, Linter land has developed a software tool that maps the rural market .it is geographical information system based software which has data about 6,26,000 villages all over country on various parameters. It identifies and prioritizes potential villages in selected districts for marketing. it can also identify and classify villages as media dark, media grey ,media plus. it can generate automatic circular/linear route plan for distribution and logistics planning. it also provides information about melas and mandis across country. Mapping software-ARCVIEW: This knowledge based intelligence system depicts 5,87,962 villages as digitized points on maps. it generates all kind of maps: agricultural maps, socio-cultural maps, national and state highway maps ,to help the marketer plan his strategies for rural market. it identifies potential markets up to village level and also provide information with respect to accessibility, coverage and penetration. can be used for distribution and logistics applications, territory planning and dealer development

Lim ita tion s a nd Cha ll eng es in Ru ra l Mar ke ting Re se arc h
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Nature of rural market: heterogenous,widely scattered and a very large territory. A pan India research would be quite costly and time consuming. Paucity of rural marketing research budget: Inadequate budget ,organizations decide to conduct research in a few rural market and extrapolate the findings to the entire rural market which can be ineffective and sometimes counterproductive. Lack of uniformity in secondary data: great variation in the data of NSS,NCAER,CMIE. Accessibility: difficulty in access b’coz of various psychological barriers, suspicious nature, traditional and conservative mindsets, lack of infrastructure. Communication about importance of research activity and its benefits can help researcher to generate co-operation from the rural sample. The researcher needs to know time periods in which it is better to avoid conducting research in rural market. Lack of facilities in rural areas: does not have comfort, convenience, facilities and infrastructure of urban areas. Comprehension of research tools: may not be in position to articulate their views in proper manner. Sensitivity of rural people: being sensitive to the feelings of the rural people is extremely vital .researchers should avoid phrases and gestures that can hurt the sensitivity of the rural people.

Rural Marketing Consulting Agencies
A few focused consultancy organizations have come up guiding the rural marketing efforts and creating awareness about importance of rural markets. ‘Rural Network’ was an informal alliance between 4 leading rural marketing agencies. The objective of this network is to spread awareness about distinctiveness of rural market, guide clients in development of national strategy in rural marketing and help them in executing it. it has transformed into an industry body called Rural Marketing Agencies Association of India to promote the cause of rural marketing in India. These consultancy organisations have a lot of experience of direct interface with the rural consumers b’coz of variety of assignments they have handled on marketing of FMCGs, consumer durables ,industrial, agri-inputs, services etc.

Select Rural Marketing consultancy organizations: Anugrah-Madison Advertising Creative Market Linkers MART,New Delhi O&M Rural Communication Network,New Delhi Rural Relations Sampark Marketing & Advertising Solutions MART

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