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Rura l Marketing Research

American Marketing Association defines Marketing Research as “The

systematic planning, gathering, recording and analyzing data about
problems related to marketing of goods and services.”

Marketing Research Process:

Marketing research involves a sequence of steps-

Step-I Defining a research problem

Step-II Finalizing a research design
Step-III Developing a research hypothesis
Step-IV Planning the research methodology
Step-V Data collection
Step-V Data analysis
Step-VI Conclusion and Recommendations
Rural Market Research:
 Research is an extremely vital function which needs to be carried out in
order to effectively tap highly heterogeneous rural market of India.
 Most of the steps required for rural marketing research are identical to
those followed in conventional urban marketing. However a major
difference comes in area of data collection.
 Rural areas traditionally are highly under researched and conducting
research in fairly large and heterogeneous rural areas require extensive
research effort.
Evolution of Rural Marketing Research:
Rural market research has gradually evolved from just supplying market share
figures to its current role of executing predictive research to provide valuable
insights into the psyche of consumer.

Prior to 1980’s
Thompson Rural Market Index:
First comprehensive attempt to study rural market by Hindustan Thompson
Associates (HTA). This database provides information on market potential
value(MPV) of a particular district based on 26 variables viz. demographic variables,
occupational patterns ,agriculture based information etc. This tool was useful for
segmenting rural markets directly for agricultural inputs and durables but limited for
consumer durables and consumables. This tool provided information only up to
district level potential and not for individual villages.
IRMA (Institute of Rural Management,Anand)was first to initiate a course on
rural marketing. It developed several case studies on rural consumers and
carried out research work on respondent bias, segmentation issues,
evolving nature of rural markets and market potential analysis.

There was lack of rural marketing consultants/trainers to train planners or

sales staff.Co.s such as HLL and Colgate Palmolive were training their
marketing staff through experience based learning.

Knowledge generation about rural markets was intensive but dissemination was
Training materials, educational programmes,articles on rural issues started

In 21st Century

Need to develop a ‘Rural Marketing Information System’

To adjust to the new demands of clients, market research agencies are trying to bring in
array of tools and techniques that could help clients gain new consumer insights.

Focus on" Predictive research” to provide consulting role in launch of new product,
designing new promotions etc based on study of consumer behavior.
Diff erences in Ur ban – Rural M ark et
S Aspect Urban Rural
1. Respondent Literate ,brand aware, individuals respond Semiliterate or illitereate,unaware of
s individually brands. difficult to get individuals
response. generally group response.

2. Time Willing to respond ,have time pressures Hesitant, But devotes time
,spare little time

3. Accessibility Easy to access, though many suffer from Tough to access; geographical and
research fatigue psychological apprehensions. do not
speak easily to outsiders.

4. Secondary Internal data, syndicate research, published Very few sources and less data
Data media and many sources.

5. Primary data Large no. of Less no. of all categories

sources middlemen,experts,consumers,sales force,
opinion leaders

6. Sampling Respondents form relatively homogenous Heterogeneous group, income and

group. income can be a criterion land holding to be applied carefully.

7. Data Use of sophisticated instruments, style and Requires simplified instruments

Collection administration. respondents comfortable with .respondents comfortable with colours
number ratings and scales. ,pictures and stories.
Sou rces and Metho ds of Data Co llect io n
Organizations have the option to use either Primary or Secondary sources for collecting
the data.
Primary sources include original information collected first through field
surveys,questionnaires,group discussion, experimenting etc.

Secondary sources include use of already published data by government

organizations ,research bodies ,consultancy organizations.

Data Collection Approaches in Rural Areas

A large no. of rural people are not aware of the concept of market research. The
investigators need to first build a good rapport with them, make them understand
the importance of research and break the barrier of suspicion, hesitation and
reluctance to participate in research activity.

Ensuring the support of opinion leader: Educate /influence the opinion leader
to gain support from respondents.

Behaving so as to be liked by rural people: dress,speak,act and behave as

liked by rural respondents to attain their respect, willingness and participation and
avoid acting in urbane manner.

Being at right places: investigator can choose those places which are likely to be
visited by a good no. of people so that he can attain efficiency in data collection
like village choupal,retail outlets, fairs and haats.
Data collection Tools for Rural
Different set of tools are required to conduct effective research in rural
markets. conducting research with typical 5 point or 7 point scales
used in urban context have not been found effective in rural context
b’coz it involves a complex understanding. Newer and effective
tools are being used for rural market like

a. Pictorial scales
Pictures of faces
Coloured wheel
Carom discs
Playing cards

b. Simplified Scales
Conventional scales can be simplified to less complex 3 point scale.
Research Tools for Rural Market
Different tools have been developed by different market research organizations and
advertising agencies which could be used to analyze the market.
Semiotic analysis: developed by AC Nielson which studies association
people have with different signs and symbols. it can be used by advtg.
agencies to give a boost to their creatives and guides in choosing
appropriate colours, signs and symbols.

Customer eQ : tool developed by AC Nielson which measures quality

,satisfaction and loyalty provides information with regard to brand equity
by mapping the factors that could impact customer perception.

Advanced Tracking Programme (ATP) developed by IMRB

A comprehensive tool to track the brand equity of about 1,000 brands on a
continuous basis.

Consumer ID: used to identify how consumers relate and react to

different variables of the product category and to the different brands in
the product category.
Lincompass: Lintas specialized rural marketing division, Linter land
has developed a software tool that maps the rural market .it is
geographical information system based software which has data
about 6,26,000 villages all over country on various parameters.
It identifies and prioritizes potential villages in selected districts for
it can also identify and classify villages as media dark, media grey
,media plus.
it can generate automatic circular/linear route plan for distribution and
logistics planning. it also provides information about melas and
mandis across country.

Mapping software-ARCVIEW: This knowledge based intelligence

system depicts 5,87,962 villages as digitized points on maps. it
generates all kind of maps: agricultural maps, socio-cultural maps,
national and state highway maps ,to help the marketer plan his
strategies for rural market. it identifies potential markets up to village
level and also provide information with respect to accessibility,
coverage and penetration.
can be used for distribution and logistics applications, territory
planning and dealer development
Lim ita tion s a nd Cha ll eng es in Ru ra l
Mar ke ting Re se arc h
 Nature of rural market: heterogenous,widely scattered and a very large
territory. A pan India research would be quite costly and time consuming.
 Paucity of rural marketing research budget: Inadequate budget
,organizations decide to conduct research in a few rural market and
extrapolate the findings to the entire rural market which can be ineffective
and sometimes counterproductive.
 Lack of uniformity in secondary data: great variation in the data of
 Accessibility: difficulty in access b’coz of various psychological barriers,
suspicious nature, traditional and conservative mindsets, lack of
infrastructure. Communication about importance of research activity and its
benefits can help researcher to generate co-operation from the rural
The researcher needs to know time periods in which it is better to avoid
conducting research in rural market.
 Lack of facilities in rural areas: does not have comfort, convenience,
facilities and infrastructure of urban areas.
 Comprehension of research tools: may not be in position to articulate
their views in proper manner.
 Sensitivity of rural people: being sensitive to the feelings of the rural
people is extremely vital .researchers should avoid phrases and gestures
that can hurt the sensitivity of the rural people.
Rural Marketing Consulting Agencies
A few focused consultancy organizations have come up guiding the rural marketing
efforts and creating awareness about importance of rural markets.
‘Rural Network’ was an informal alliance between 4 leading rural marketing
agencies. The objective of this network is to spread awareness about
distinctiveness of rural market, guide clients in development of national strategy
in rural marketing and help them in executing it. it has transformed into an
industry body called Rural Marketing Agencies Association of India to promote
the cause of rural marketing in India.

These consultancy organisations have a lot of experience of direct interface with the
rural consumers b’coz of variety of assignments they have handled on marketing
of FMCGs, consumer durables ,industrial, agri-inputs, services etc.

Select Rural Marketing consultancy organizations:

Anugrah-Madison Advertising
Creative Market Linkers
MART,New Delhi
O&M Rural Communication Network,New Delhi
Rural Relations
Sampark Marketing & Advertising Solutions