Sunday, January 13, 2013

large proportion of poor people live in rural areas.

The number of poor people in India, according to the country’s Eleventh National Development Plan, amounts to more than 300 million. The country has been successful in reducing the proportion of poor people from about 55 per cent in 1973 to about 27 per cent in 2004. But almost one third of the country’s population of more than 1.1 billion continues to live below the poverty line, and a large proportion of poor people live in rural areas. Poverty remains a chronic condition for almost 30 per cent of India’s rural population. The incidence of rural poverty has declined somewhat over the past three decades as a result of rural to urban migration.Poverty is deepest among members of scheduled castes and tribes in the country's rural areas. In 2005 these groups accounted for 80 per cent of poor rural people, although their share in the total rural population is much smaller.On the map of poverty in India, the poorest areas are in parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.
Large numbers of India's poorest people live in the country's semi-arid tropical region. In this area shortages of water and recurrent droughts impede the transformation of agriculture that the Green Revolution has achieved elsewhere. There is also a high incidence of poverty in flood-prone areas such as those extending from eastern Uttar Pradesh to the Assam plains, and especially in northern Bihar.
Poverty affects tribal people in forest areas, where loss of entitlement to resources has made them even poorer. In coastal fishing communities people's living conditions are deteriorating because of environmental degradation, stock depletion and vulnerability to natural disasters.A major cause of poverty among India’s rural people, both individuals and communities, is lack of access to productive assets and financial resources. High levels of illiteracy, inadequate health care and extremely limited access to social services are common among poor rural people. Microenterprise development, which could generate income and enable poor people to improve their living conditions, has only recently become a focus of the government.
Women in general are the most disadvantaged people in Indian society, though their status varies significantly according to their social and ethnic backgrounds. Women are particularly vulnerable to the spread of HIV/AIDS from urban to rural areas. In 2005 an estimated 5.7 million men, women and children in India were living with HIV/AIDS. Most of them are in the 15-49 age group and almost 40 per cent of them, or 2.4 million in 2008, are women (National AIDS Control Organisation).

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Marketing with the Help of Traditional Media in Rural India

The Rural Focus
The strategy taken by Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUL) to enter the rural sector, which has remained insulated so far, is a good one, says Atmanand. In states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana, the company is expanding steadily by expanding their network of dealers and making themselves household names.Of course, replicating the HUL model may be difficult for a startup, but it does serve as a valuable lesson in marketing: Dont put all your eggs in one basket. The entire gamut of white and brown goods has found a place in the rural market, driving several industries to actively explore it.In the current scenario, companies should change their strategies for marketing. For market sustainability, we have to look at the rural markets. This would include products that have been especially designed for these markets at prices that will suit the sector, says Atmanand.
Tailor-made Products for Rural India
The company should provide rural folk with products and services that would meet their requirements. Take Cavin Care, for instance, which launched its shampoo in sachets. Also consider Britannia, which packaged its Tiger brand biscuits at a low price tag. Such companies obtained an understanding of the rural customers needs and provided them with the desired products.
Atmanands emphasis is clearly on parameters that change the dynamics of marketing a product. Rural markets offer a great potential to help India Inc. (which has reached the plateau of its business curve in urban India) bank on volume-driven growth. With a larger market to play with, virtually any marketing initiative can be cost effective.
Aspects that are seldom ignored are also key drivers in marketing. Some do not cost a penny, and the benefits are huge. Consumer satisfaction is very important. Gone are the days when products were sold solely on their brand name. Today, people want value for their money; they want the product to meet their expectations and utility. The company should focus more on quality and the consumer satisfaction index, says Atmanand. A consumer with a high level of satisfaction and a good image of your pro-duct is likely to be your best brand ambassador and proponent of your product.
Understanding the preferences of the rural masses is crucial, and your company manager could be the answer. Companies should hire managers who are familiar with rural India and are in sync with the demands and preferences of people in these regions. While management graduates are conversant with strategies applicable for the western countries, their mindset and training may not allow them to understand the requirements of rural consumers.
Marketing with the Help of Traditional Media
Traditional media would serve as a great driver to generate awareness among rural consumers. Skits, magic shows and educational drives by NGOs are among the preferred traditional media that marketers can use to good effect. These engage the interest of rural consumers and go a long way in establishing your brand in their minds.Things are certainly changing. Consumer financing schemes, insurance schemes and promotion associated with delivering products to consumers will be preferred. Says Atmanand, Understanding the needs and desires of the Indian consumer, price competitiveness, innovation and R&D form the key to unlocking the potential of this vast market.