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Chapter: Business Science : Rural Marketing : Rural Consumer Behaviour In Marketing Research

Developing Effective Communication

Profiling the Target Audience, Social classes and intentions, Consumer receptivity, etc

Developing Effective Communication


Profiling the Target Audience


‗Know your customer‘ofthecardinalprinciplesisof marketing,on be it rural or urban India. Basing the marketing decisions entirely on data and numbers could prove to be counterproductive.


Now we probe and profile the rural consumer by examining social classes and intentions, receptivity, brand consciousness, lifestyles, buying roles, purchase needs and value propositions relating to community and money.


Social classes and intentions


The priority of product purchases varies across income levels. The destitute buy essentials, whereas the rich purchase premium products.


Rural consumers, though heterogeneous, mostly focus on purchasing value-for-money products and productive assets that enhance their income levels. Revital (a health capsule from Ranbaxy) is a premium priced product that may not find much space in middle-class urban homes. However,it is quite popular among daily-wage earner, farm labourers and ironically, in proverty-ridden and underdeveloped states like Bihar and West Bengal, because consumers feel that


Revital increases their concentration and performance levels, which is reflected directly in their earnings.

Consumer receptivity


Those who are less literate and less exposed to the external environment require a linear communication message that is simple and easy to comprehend. The associate well with primary colors and numerals and rarely but products by asking for brands by name.


Growing brand consciousness


The influence of purchase behavior in small towns and surrounding large villages is being increasingly reflected in small villages. Marketers are recognizing the fact that villagers are becoming more brand savvy with the increasing penetration of the mass media into the interiors. The penetration of premium products is beginging to take place in lower socio-economic groups. Consumers are going for a brand recognizing the value of a quality product. The brand recall for products like Clinic Plus shampoo, Colgate, Lifebuoy, etc, is high among rural consumers.




Urban women tend to be more liberated, independent and decisive compared to rural women. Urban-oriented advertisements generally show the urban woman as a hard-working and loving companion to her husband, a caring and fun-loving friend to her children and an achiever and sincere worker in her career. In contrast, Indian rural society is still tradition bound and such portrayals may be inconsistent with the value system of rural women and at times viewing such advertisements may even prove embarrassing to them and their families.


Buying roles


A process of collective decision making prevails in rural areas.


In a typical situation say, involving the purchase of tea, the housewife will be the user, the breadwinner of the family, who will give the money, will be the investor; the purchaser will be a youth who goes to a nearby feeder town and the influencer will be the retailer. The company needs to customize its communication message and address each intermediary involved in the purchase process. In the urban scenario, however, for the same product category, the user, the investor, the purchaser and the influencer may end up being the same individual.Children


As the value of education assumes greater important even in rural areas, children, especially the youth, commute to nearby towns to pursue their studies. They are exposed to hoardings, wall paintings, and other mass media and new trends in urban areas. The young in turn act as brand messengers and communicators within their families and communities and subsequently influence purchase decision.

Purchase needs


During the pilot test launch of vardaan bidi, the marketing team discovered that many rural people believe that tobacco smoking leads to impotency. The company decided to redesign its communication strategy, to stress the fact that Vardaan is a tobacco-less bidi and does not cause loss of sexual vigour.

Community and the personal-value proposition


Coca-cola and pepsi used the planks of affordability and value for money successfully to drive penetration and increase volumes by introducing smaller 200 ml bottles priced at Rs. 5. These aspects were key ingredients in their communication as well.

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