Title:AN ANALITICAL STUDY OF ICT STRATEGIES FOR RURAL MARKETING: A CASE STUDY OF SMALL MERCHANDISE SHOPS IN HINGOLI DISTRICT”
Keywords:Rural market; marketing strategies; rural consumer; retail outlets; distribution network.
Abstract:Today rural market is important for all companies producing consumer products. This is because most urban markets are becoming competitive and saturated. Rural markets are tomorrow’s market and the marketers should know how to penetrate these markets. This is not just because 70% of India’s population still lives in rural areas, but because of sweeping changes that are occurring here. These changes are being fueled by the cable and satellite television as also by the advent of internet and telecommunication facilities. This has enhanced rural consumer’s awareness and aspirations. For the rural consumer, access to product or services is more critical than just its ownership. Rural marketing therefore requires an innovative approach. It involves changing the value paradigm by altering product’s price performance relationship. It also involves designing products that can deliver in sub optimal conditions and despite infra-structural constraints. Companies will however have to establish strong distribution networks and grapple with unwieldy logistics as there are not enough dealers or distributors with access to rural markets and no proper retail outlets. Reasonable pricing would have to be the key factor. Companies would have to concentrate more on “no frill products” for the rural consumer. In other words, they have to offer good quality functional products although it may not be equipped with features presents in high-end models. However, advertisers have to follow the principle of “thinking global and acting local” and even brand ambassadors have to be picked judiciously for reaching out to the rural consumers. This paper attempts to study how the ICT strategies of 4P’s are implemented in the rural market and whether implementing the right strategies for the right product will really helps the marketers to boost the business. A structured questionnaire was administered to find out the strategies of 4P’s and 7P’s should be adopted by the companies.