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Rural Marketing
Rural Marketing is defined as any marketing activity in which one dominant participant is from a rural area. This implies that rural marketing consists of marketing of inputs (products or services) to the rural as well as marketing of outputs from the rural markets to other geographical areas. Rural Marketing involves the process of developing, pricing, promoting, distributing rural specific product and a service leading to exchange between rural and urban market, which satisfies consumer demand and achieves organisational objectives. Rural areas of the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically, much of the land is devoted to agriculture. Marketing strategies that worked for urban markets do not necessarily work for the rural ones. In a diverse market like India, having second largest population in the world, the urban-rural divide is quite significant. According to various studies, around 12.2 per cent of the worlds population lives in rural India. Another reason that rural market is gaining importance is due to competition in the urban market, the market is reaching towards saturation level as higher capacity of the purchasers have been targeted by the marketers. Therefore, the marketers are looking for extending their product offerings to an unexplored market i.e. the rural market. This has also led to the CSR activities being done by the corporate to help the poor people attain some wealth to spend on their product categories. Here we can think of HUL initiatives in rural India. One of such project is the Project Shakti, which is not only helping their company earn revenues but also helping the poor women of the village to earn money, which increases their

purchasing power. In addition, this will increase their brand loyalty as well as recognition in that area. In addition, an interesting fact, most of the Indian villages have a population of less than 1,000, while there are only a few villages where more than 10,000 people live. With such a widespread market, marketers have been finding it difficult to penetrate this vast audience. For a rural marketer, it may not be commercially viable to reach out to villages that have a population of less than 2,000 people, which constitutes 87% of the villages in India. Most of the rural audience in the smaller villages come to shop at a nearby haat or travel to a nearby bigger village. Hence, if the marketer is focussing on those 13% (75000) villages, it is possible to cover almost all of the Indian rural audience.

Consumer Behaviour in Rural Marketing

An understanding of consumer behaviour is essential in formulating the marketing strategies. However, information about rural consumers is limited and hazy due to lack of right competence, partial approach and limited knowledge and bias of the corporate managers. While the top managements commitment to understand the rural markets exists, the competence necessary for interacting and comprehending rural attitudes and behaviour is lacking at the lower, field staff level. The lower levels that look after implementation have exposure mostly to urban life and consumers. A deeper

understanding of the rural milieu is needed for which people with proper exposure are required. The research findings of marketing research and advertising agencies present different pictures of rural markets. Even after almost two decades, from the time when it first came into vogue, understanding on rural marketing remains superficial at best. The argument, which through not always articulated is, after all, rural people are also people like urban and world have the same needs, desires and aspirations

Market Size in Rural Market

Market size in rural market is very vast, especially in country like India; the rural market is spread over huge area. However, urban markets are only concentrated in a few areas, which helps the marketers to access the customers easily and sell off their products. The market size is defined through the market volume and the market potential. The market volume exhibits the totality of all realized sales volume of a special market. The volume is therefore dependant on the quantity of consumers and their ordinary demand. Furthermore, the market volume is measured in either quantities or qualities.

Financial Services in Rural Market

The vital role of rural finance derives from its contribution to the three strategic goals of rural development and rural poverty reduction: (i) rural economic growth; (ii) inclusion and participation of all rural people in development; and (iii) reduction of vulnerability to economic, physical and other shocks. Regarding rural economic growth, access to financial services helps small farmers to improve productivity through investment in irrigation, production equipment, inputs or hired labour, and to invest in post-harvest handling, processing, and marketing. Substantial agricultural development and development of related processing and marketing facilities in rural areas and real increases in the incomes of rural families have happened almost nowhere without access to financial services. Rural finance can also help create opportunities for non-farm enterprises, in businesses ranging from handicrafts to commerce and

telecommunications. Where rural finance has been able to include the rural poor, as with the microfinance revolution or financial cooperatives, it has helped to resolve a key constraint to poverty reduction by providing resources that allow the poor to invest and so pursue new economic opportunities. Rural finance reduces vulnerability through savings and access to credit which help rural households manage seasonal liquidity shortages,

and meet planned life events such as marriage and childbirth and unplanned life events such as a health emergency and death. Access to insurance services helps the poor directly mitigate some of these risks. Well-functioning rural financial systems can also help poor families receive remittances reliably and at low cost. For most rural people, commercial banks do not provide these services. As a result, most economically active rural people depend on family support or on high-cost informal sources like traders or money lenders. Financial cooperatives provide financial services to a significant part of the rural population, thus filling an important gap on the continuum of financial service providers from commercial banks to the informal providers such as village moneylenders and friends and relatives.