Rural marketing involves delivering manufactured or processed inputs or services to rural producers or consumers so as to soak-up the huge size of the untapped rural market. In today’s congested and difficult markets, both local and global, all FMCG as well as other companies search for new opportunities, consumers and markets. The 800 million potential consumers in rural India presented both an opportunity and a problem, as this market has been characterised by unbalanced growth and infrastructural problems. Thus looking at the opportunities which rural markets offer to the marketers it seems that the future is very promising for those who can understand the dynamics of rural markets and exploit them to their best advantage.
In recent years, rural markets have acquired significance in countries like China and India, as the overall growth of the economy has resulted into substantial increase in the purchasing power of the rural communities. On account of the green revolution in India, the rural areas are consuming a large quantity of industrial and urban manufactured products. In this context, a special marketing strategy namely, rural marketing has taken shape. Sometimes, rural marketing is confused with agricultural marketing- the later denotes marketing of produce of the rural areas to the urban consumers or industrial consumers, whereas rural marketing involves delivering manufactured or processed inputs or services to rural producers or consumers. Also, when we consider the scenario of India and China, there is a picture that comes out, huge market for the developed products as well as the labour support. This has led to the change in the mindset of the marketers to move to these parts of the world.
Dynamics of rural markets differ from other market types, and similarly rural marketing strategies are also significantly different from the marketing strategies aimed at an urban or industrial consumer. This, along with several other related issues, have been subject matter of intense discussions and debate in countries like India and China and focus of even international symposia organised in these countries.
Rural markets, as part of any economy, have untapped potential. There are several difficulties confronting the effort to fully explore rural markets. The concept of rural markets in India, as also in several other countries, like China, is still in evolving shape, and the sector poses a variety of challenges, including understanding the dynamics of the rural markets and strategies to supply and satisfy the rural consumers.