(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Rural Product Marketing and Brand Management
Rural Product Marketing and Brand Management
Rural marketing and rural product marketing play a prominent role in a country like India where more than 65 percent of the population lives in rural areas.
The objective is to highlight the rural product marketing and branding strategies to achieve its fullest potential in the Digital India by addressing obstructions and opportunities for marketing of rural products.
Challenges in Rural product marketing:
The common inherited problems faced by the Indian rural marketers include scattered production, physical distribution, logistics, proper and effective deployment of sales force and effective marketing communication, etc. Some of the major are discussed below:
Landholding Leading to Lower Scale of production:
The average landholding size household is very low (less than 1.0 hectare). This results into a very low level of surplus production at family level. Selling this surplus produce at a remunerative price becomes a challenge, more so when there are limited numbers of efficient aggregators.
Seasonality of agriculture and allied produce creates gluts during harvest seasons and scarcity during lean seasons, thus affecting consistency in supply.
Scattered Production Centres: Rural production centres are highly dispersed and requires a lot of efforts on aggregation, organisation and communication among stakeholders. Although efforts are in pipeline, the issue is still a critical in the country.
Low Demand in Rural Areas: Agriculture and allied activities is the main source of income in rural areas and hence spending capacity of consumers mainly depend upon the agriculture produce. Due to seasonality associated with agri-income, demand for the rural product may not remain stable or regular. This poses another set of challenges and limits attractiveness of the rural market as a key demand driver of these products.
Limited Access to Remunerative Market in Urban Areas: Due to lack of information about the remunerative market, perishable nature of produce and non-availability low cost storage facility in the nearby region rural producers have to rely on various intermediaries (viz. formal as well as informal for selling their produce for consumption by the urban market. This limitation leads exploitation by the intermediaries.
Transportation and Warehousing: Although, the quality of roads and their connectivity to villages are improving, still there is a significant disparity on this front across regions of our country. Many villages are located in hilly terrains that may hinder them to sell their products to urban markets. Most marketers use tractors or bullock carts in rural areas to distribute their products. This creates challenges for efficient transportation and thus affecting the supply chain of rural products. Warehousing is another major problem in rural areas, as there is hardly any organised agency to look after the storage issue. Efforts towards warehousing are dependent on rural entrepreneurship and government schemes only. The services rendered by central warehousing corporation and state warehousing corporations are primarily available in urban and suburban
Ineffective Distribution Channels: Due to scattered production, there is a requirement of context centric customised distribution channel. Presently, there are a large number of intermediaries, which in turn increases the cost of transportation and also creates administrative problems due to poor communication and coordination. Due to lack of proper infrastructure, producers have no option but to depend on these agencies for selling their products.
Lack of Awareness and Literacy about Remunerative Market: Limited use of digital technology, government schemes and incentives including access to cheap financing options also hinders the pace of rural product marketing.
Many Languages and Diversity in Culture also limits rural sellers to seamlessly operate in all markets. This limitation coupled with poor resources and infrastructure also restricts their mobility and product marketing efforts.