Rural Marketing – Overview

Rural marketing is a process of developing, pricing, promoting, and distributing rural specific goods and services leading to desired exchange with rural customers to satisfy their needs and wants, and also to achieve organizational objectives.’’


The emergence of rural markets as highly untapped potential emphasizes the need to explore them. Marketers over the past few decades, with innovative approaches, have attempted to understand and tap rural markets. Some of their efforts paid off and many markets still an enigma. Rural marketing is an evolving concept, and as a part of any economy, has untapped potential; marketers have realized the opportunity recently. Improvement in infrastructure and reach, promise a bright future for those intending to go rural. Rural consumers are keen on branded goods nowadays, so the market size for products and services seems to have burgeoned.

The rural population has shown a trend of moving to a state of gradual urbanization in terms of exposure, habits, lifestyles, and lastly, consumption patterns of goods and services. So, there are dangers on concentrating more on the rural customers. Reducing the product features in order to lower prices is a dangerous game to play. Rural buyers like to follow the urban pattern of living. Astonishingly, as per the census report 2003-04, there are total 638365 villages in India in which nearly 70% of total population resides; out of them 35 % villages have more than 1000 population.

Rural per capita consumption expenditure grew by 11.5 per cent while the urban expenditure grew by 9.6 per cent. There is a tremendous potential for consumer durables like two-wheelers, small cars, television sets, refrigerators, air-conditioners and household appliances in rural India.

Let’s have a glimpse on Rural Index 2005 figures:

Rural Urban penetration

Concept of Rural Marketing:

The concept of Rural Marketing in India Economy has always played an influential role in the lives of people. In India, leaving out a few metropolitan cities, all the districts and industrial townships are connected with rural markets. The rural market in India generates bigger revenues in the country as the rural regions comprise of the maximum consumers in this country. The rural market in Indian economy generates almost more than half of the country’s income. Rural marketing in Indian economy can be classified under two broad categories.

These are:

i. The market for consumer goods that comprise of both durable and non-durable goods

ii. The market for agricultural inputs that include fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, and so on

The concept of rural marketing in India is often been found to forms ambiguity in the mind of people who think rural marketing is all about agricultural marketing. However, rural marketing determines the carrying out of business activities bringing in the flow of goods from urban sectors to the rural regions of the country as well as the marketing of various products manufactured by the non-agricultural workers from rural to urban areas.

To be precise, rural marketing in India Economy covers two broad sections, namely:

i. Selling of agricultural products in the urban areas

ii. Selling of manufactured products in the rural regions

The rural market in India is not a separate entity in itself and it is highly influenced by the sociological and behavioural factors operating in the country. The rural population in India accounts for around 627 million, which is exactly 74.3 percent of the total population.

Conceptually, rural marketing is not significantly different to urban marketing. Marketing manager has to perform the same tasks, but differently in rural marketing. It can be said that marketing is not different, but markets (buyers and users).

In rural marketing, a firm has to undergo marketing efforts to satisfy rural segments, which notably differ from urban segments in some aspects. At the same time, we must note that increasing literacy rate, improved sources of income, awareness due to improved and increased means of communication and transportation, high rate of mobility within and between countries due to liberalization and globalization, and many other such reasons, some customers are likely to be identical.

Even, a few rural customers seem cosmopolitan! So, one can find customers of different behaviour patterns within a village or a town. In the same way, most of products are commonly used in both urban and rural areas. In some aspects, both rural and urban customers behave in homogeneous pattern. Some Indian customers have become global and cosmopolitan!


‘Rural marketing’ is similar to simply ‘marketing.’ Rural marketing differs only in terms of buyers. Here, target market consists of customers living in rural areas. Thus, rural marketing is an application of marketing fundamentals (concepts, principles, processes, theories, etc.) to rural markets.

1. Let us define the term in simple way as: Rural marketing concerns with planning and implementing marketing programmes (often referred as marketing strategies or simply 4P’s) for rural markets to achieve marketing goals.

2. In more specific words: Rural marketing is a process of developing, pricing, promoting, and distributing rural specific goods and services leading to desired exchange with rural customers to satisfy their needs and wants, and also to achieve organizational objectives.

3. Marketing efforts remain same, only important aspect is type of buyers. So, the term can be defined as: When marketing activities are undertaken for rural segments, it is turned as rural marketing and the management is called rural marketing management.

4. Since marketing manager has to carry out similar tasks. So, definition of marketing stated by American Marketing Association can be equally applicable in relation to rural segments. We will add only specific word ‘rural’ to define the term: Rural marketing is a process of planning, and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchange (for rural segments) that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.

(Only the word ‘rural’ has been added to the definition adopted by the AMA. The word implies that marketing activities are undertaken in rural areas to satisfy rural segments.)

5. More specifically, it can be said: Rural Marketing means to produce products (goods and services) for the rural customers and to make necessary arrangement to supply them.

6. At last, we can say: Rural marketing is the marketing for the customers residing in rural areas. It involves designing marketing programme (4P’s) to arrive at desired exchange with the rural customers that satisfies their needs and wants.

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