The population of India has already crossed the 1.1 billion mark, making it the second most populated country in the world, after China. However, China is being restrained by government policy which is not the case in India and this means that in another 20 years, we will overtake China to become the most populous nation in the world. What will be the obvious result of over-population? The result will be that growth in the absolute size of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will get further eroded with the increased number of mouths to feed.
Sociologists and economists break the population into two groups?the economically active (about 300 million people ) and the economically emerging (about 800 million), where the former are urban and the latter are rural. This later group is the target of this book. Economically active means people who have the means to buy branded goods of all types and are therefore the target for consumer advertising. But the economically?emerging group is so large that it is already an important target for advertising for branded everyday-use goods and this importance is growing fast.
This book tries to explore the various facets of rural marketing communication in general and of rural advertising in India in particular. While examining the multi-faceted aspect of rural advertising, the development and evolution of rural advertising can be understood by keeping in mind the various phases and shifts in rural advertising and marketing.
The author attempts to illustrate how different manifestations of rural advertisement (rural print media through publication of Krishi Sudhar, Pashupalan, etc. the electronic media, Doordarshan, AIR, Satellite, cable TV, interactive folk media?Directorate of Field Publicity and Song and Drama Division) affect interactions between buyers and sellers, the consumers? associations with different media modalities, the nature of information structures, and the impact on the processing comprehension, effectiveness and acceptability of a message.
Rural India is not just any emerging market, because here the consumption pattern even among the poorest strata is steadily growing. A villager who used to save for special events, such as the wedding of a daughter, is today looking for a refrigerator, a VCR, a car, a foreign vacation. Thus the opportunity for growth and profits is growing by leaps and bounds in the Indian economy.
In doing so, the bright spots as well as the blind spots of rural advertising can be identified. In this respect, the author calls for a rethinking on the role and importance of rural communication in India today.
Employing the key concepts of the cognitive science and modern linguistics, the book provides insight into the perceptions of advertisers and marketers about the rural Indian mind?beliefs, aspirations, fears, values and perceptions of the rural people about the world they live in.
This goal is achieved by performing content and linguistic analyses of a wide variety of advertisements, aimed at ?wooing? the rural population. Some themes such as globalisation, localisation, changing social norms, gender and family relationships and religion need to be given special attention.
Rural marketing is rapidly gaining its importance in the post-liberalisation period in India. As consumers are becoming smarter and sophisticated, a negative reaction to advertising appears to be emerging. Marketers are using other communication tools, such as personal selling and sale promotions in addition to more straightforward forms of advertising. At the same time, Indian media experts and planners have launched not only new media forms like video vans and e-choupals, but have also mastered the art of crafting messages customised to meet the regional sensibilities and tastes of a target audience in an effective manner. The book tries to account for such innovations.
The book also tries to answer questions like: What makes rural advertisement Indian in character? What assumptions go into the creation of an advertisement? How are the desired effects and appeals achieved? In particular how our identities marketed? What makes for an effective advertisement? How is the multilingual context or communication manifested in advertisements?
In other words, the book attempts to unify various conceptual, methodical and analytical approaches. Through the emphasis is on qualitative analysis, wherever deemed necessary, quantitative data are presented together with their interpretations. The author has made a concerted attempt to provide a glimpse of how advertising is reaching out into the hills and plains, forests and deserts of India. While examining marketing communication in rural India, the main focus of the book is informative, providing information on rural advertising while the other focus is on modelling the process by which consumer products, services and social ideas are promoted to reach a largely rural and linguistically divided population.
(Macmillan India Ltd, 2/10 Ansari Road, Darya Ganj, New Delhi-110 002.)