With about 72% of population living in the villages and generating nearly half of the national income, the rural market plays a very important and decisive role in the Indian marketing environment. This market is not only large, but also geographically scattered. It exhibits linguistic, regional, cultural diversities and economic disparities, hence can be considered as more complex than the total market of a continent. Rural consumers represent a heterogeneous lot- a complex mosaic of mind-sets, cultures & lifestyle and this is depicted in their unique demands and preferences on how the product is designed and how the brand is positioned and promoted, and this calls for a methodical study and conscientious research of the rural consumers, their psyche, needs, buying patterns and their problems. Dogra and Ghuman have tried to bridge the gap between the theory related to rural marketing with the actual marketing practices, by providing ample insights, examples and case-lets This will equip the future managers with not only the required knowledge to comprehend the ever-changing dynamics of the rural market, but also skills and tools to successfully enter these rural markets.

The book, through its 29 chapters, very comprehensively covers all the aspects relevant to the Indian rural markets starting from evolution of rural marketing, profiling of rural consumers, comparative analysis of rural vs. urban markets, roadblocks in rural marketing, modification of the marketing mix to recent and upcoming trends like organized rural retailing, e- rural marketing and corporate social responsibility etc., in a very structured and logical manner. The book covers the following broad themes:

  • Conceptual framework of rural marketing: its evolution, relevance and challenges, comparative analysis of rural vs. urban markets, understanding of the rural consumer and buying behaviour.
  • Rural marketing mix, product life cycle, new product development, innovation, brand management and strategic perspective of the rural markets.
  • Rural marketing of FMCG’s, Durables, Financial Services, Agri- inputs as well as artisan products. Includes an amalgamation of case studies of various organizations in the above mentioned sectorsproviding an applied orientation and a blue print for action for management students.
  • Recent and upcoming trends which are required for sustainable growth like organized rural retailing, e-rural marketing, market mapping and Corporate Social Responsibility.
The highlights of the book include a wide and in-depth coverage of contemporary topics, which have assumed great importance in present day rural scenario namely Corporate Social Responsibility, e-Governance, e-Rural Marketing and the Organized Retail. The basic message that is emphasized throughout the book is that for long term brand survival and success in the rural market, marketers have to think beyond the short term below the line activities and mere lip service. Apart from this becoming Socially Relevant to the rural audience is the call for the day. The book with its well researched content, lucid presentation, interesting case-lets and real life business examples coupled up with end notes, discussion questions and simple language makes it very useful for students at both the undergraduate and post graduate levels. The only area which needs improvement is visual appeal of the book i.e. dearth of graphics and illustrations, which can otherwise definitely enhance the readability and comprehension of the content.

In nut shell, the authors have made a successful attempt to present a comprehensive picture of the rural landscape, covering all the facets & complexities through a sound conceptual framework and highly focused orientation.

Sadaf Siraj
Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi
E-mail: sadaf@asiapacific.edu