Rural areas, especially in underdeveloped and developing countries have the highest number of people compared to urban areas. As such, they present an opportunity for revenue growth for a lot of companies. In order to penetrate the rural market firms may need to alter their marketing strategy in order to successfully tap into the rural communities.
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What Is a Rural Marketing Strategy
A rural marketing strategy refers to the planning of adequate supply of goods and services that are specifically tailored for the rural community. This is done to fulfil the needs and wants of the intended market. When developing a rural marketing strategy, the 4A’s of rural marketing strategy should be incorporated in the 4P’s of marketing for a firm to be successful.
The 4 A’s of Rural Marketing Strategy
In order to meet the unique requirements of the rural community a company needs to adjust its marketing strategy. The rural community in each country is different but a large number of them especially in underdeveloped and developing countries belong to low income groups. Hence, the 4 A’s of rural marketing can assist companies to penetrate the rural community. These are: Affordability, Availability, Acceptability and Awareness.
A large proportion of the rural community cannot afford luxury goods because of their low income. Most of the rural consumers are concerned with obtaining basic goods. Therefore, it is imperative for firms to incorporate reasonable prices in their rural marketing strategies. This way, firms can capture the attention of the potential customers. This may also mean downsizing on the packaging in order to display lower prices.
In order to capture and retain rural consumers, firms need to ensure that the product is always available in the rural areas. This is important when developing a rural marketing strategy. Shortages of certain types of goods are common in rural areas. In order to gain a large customer base firms need to make sure that their products are readily available in rural areas. If not, consumers will shift to any available substitute.
Another important factor in rural marketing strategy is acceptability. It is important for a product to be acceptable by the general public, this does not change when it comes to the rural community. A product needs to be of acceptable quality and be economically priced in order for consumers to buy it. Sometimes consumers, including rural consumers, are willing to pay a premium price for a product if it is of superior quality.
The perspective of a rural consumer and an urban consumer may differ, although this varies from country to country. In most countries, the rural community, which is large in number, does not have access to internet connection, televisions and smartphones. Most rural communities need to be communicated to differently from the way product communication is done in urban areas. In order to spread product awareness in rural areas a firm’s rural marketing strategy needs to focus on the medium of communication and entertainment used in rural areas. That way product awareness in those areas can be achieved. Mediums such as radio, flyers, and newspapers can be used.
Application of the 4P’s of marketing in Rural Marketing Strategy
A company needs to analyse what the rural market needs and what their specific requirements are. The income level of the average rural resident needs to be determined in order for the firm to understand the community’s buying power. That way the appropriate pricing for the rural community can be applied to the firm’s product. Pricing is critical when it comes to rural marketing strategy because a product that is too expensive will hinder the success of a firm in the rural community. This is because in rural areas consumers are less brand conscious but more sensitive to prices. The pricing strategies that can be applied in rural communities are summarised below;
- Differentiated pricing
The prices for the same products or services should be different in rural areas. Goods and services should be sold at a cheaper price in rural areas than in urban areas.
- Psychological pricing
Psychological pricing can be applied in any market. The price of a product may appear cheaper when it is reduced by a few cents, for example, a bag of rice may be priced at $9.98, which rounded off will be $10. This is just as effective in rural areas as it is in urban areas.
- Bundle pricing
Bundle pricing is an effective tool to apply in rural marketing strategy. A mix of different products for an economical price may attract customers. It is also another way firms to remain competitive in the rural community.
The product or service being offered to the rural community is of great importance. Many rural consumers are interested in buying basic needs and necessities. As indicated earlier luxury goods will not do well in rural markets. So, the product or service being offered by the company should meet the needs of the rural community. Food and clothing are some of the goods that will sell successfully in rural communities. Also, the way the product is presented or packaged in crucial.
The place in which a product is made available is an important factor in rural marketing strategy. For the rural community, the product should be made available in every store if possible. Unlike in urban areas where companies can be selective with the kind of stores they place their products, such an approach may not be effective in rural areas. For a firm to penetrate the rural community its product should be available in both the formal and informal markets.
When it comes to promotion the rural marketing strategy should take into account the different mediums of communication used in rural areas as mentioned earlier.
- Mass Media
Few people may have televisions and smartphones whilst others can only afford to buy newspapers on a regular basis. Thus, it is important for firms to make use of all the possible mediums to advertise and promote their products. This includes televisions, radio, newspapers, billboards and flyers.
- Personalised Media
Companies can hire individuals who will go to the rural areas and promote their product. These field workers can conduct door to door visits, do surveys and give away free products in order to promote a company’s offerings.
- Hiring of Public Figures
Another way to promote a company’s product is through hiring out public figures to promote a product and service to the rural community.