Despite all the potential that rural areas hold , marketing in rural areas is challenging. Among various things the nature of product to be marketed in terms of its weight and cost has an over whelming influence on strategy adopted. The nature of distribution would be different for FMCG versus durables. In the case of distribution of durables, one can afford to restrict the reach to towns with population between 99999- 20000 population, which would be around 1900 of them. Through then you can service your rural consumers, because certain studies have show that close to 90 percent of the durable purchase by villagers happens in these 1900 towns.
Suppose your task is to promote a certain brand of cement in the rural markets of Bihar and UP. You have certain details about how the villagers purchases and who all influences him, the mason in the village, other villagers and the dealer. You also know that the cement usage is tied-up with the agricultural cycle and the quantities purchased by the farmer is small and more frequent compared with the purchases of a urban consumer. The problems with low literacy levels and low brand awareness are also there. But you also know that what works well in the rural areas is the word-of-mouth, and once a brand is accepted as a good one your competitors would find it difficult to dislodge it , and you would enjoy the first mover's advantage. But then how would you go about promoting the product??
My opinion would be to target the Masons in the village by organizing meets in the nearby small town through the local dealers. In the meets the Masons could be provided with some training on new techniques in usage of cement and then some information on the company and its cement could be shared. Certain incentives and schemes could also be provided to promote the company's cement. The local Haats and Melas could be used to demonstrate the product and highlight the qualities and promote the brand name. Consumer schemes could be run to designed to increase the off take of the farmers and promote brand awareness and recall. All communication , whether it is the brand name written on the wall paintings or the dealer shops should be in the local language and so must be the infomercials which can be used to promote the brand in the villages. These combined with demostartion could help generate good word-of-mouth for the company.
With regard to distribution one could also think of accessing the informal channel of distribution of fertilizers and seeds which exist within bigger villages. In these villages the Village Mukhia or the bigger farmer would sell fertilizer's and seeds to other villagers during the agricultural season. These sales would happen from the house of the villager itself and usually no formal shop is set-up for that and the activity would stop after the end of the season. If one were to have access to this channel, then maybe the villagers could be supplied right up to the village directly.
Suggestions on how to develop a rural marketing plan for this cement company.....