Selecting the Media Mix

Constraints in marketing Communication in the Rural Context: In marketing communication and promotion too, rural markets pose many problems. The constraints emanating from the profile of the audience, and the limitations in the matter of media cause these problems.

The literacy rate among the rural consumers being low, the scope for using the printed word is rather limited. The traditional bound nature of the people and their cultural barriers and taboos add to the difficulty of the communication task. The situation is further compounded by the linguistic diversity. In the urban areas, marketing communication can be managed by and large with English and Hindi. Marketing communication in the rural area has to necessarily be in the local language and idiom. The constraints in media compound the difficulty.

Rural communication is also quiet extensive. Rural communication has to go through the time-consuming stages of creating awareness, altering attitudes and changing behavior. In addition, it has to break the deep rooted behavior patterns.

The rural communicator will do well to choose a combination of formal and non-formal media. The possibilities are indicated below:

TV: With the increase in coverage and increase in TV ownership in rural areas. TV is gradually becoming the prime medium for rural communication.

Cinema: The cinema is a useful medium in the rural context. Most large and medium villages have one or more cinema houses. Also, more than one-third of all rural people do see cinema as a matter of regular lifestyle. Advertisement films show feature films with disguised advertisement messages, and documentaries that combine knowledge and advertisement. It has been estimated that 33 per cent of the cinema earnings in the country come from rural India.

Radio: The radio is a well established medium in rural areas. A big expansion in broadcasting facilities has taken place in the country over the years. The availability of radio sets has also expanded. While radio as a medium cannot match TV in potency and effectiveness, in the exiting context, it can certainly play a significant role in rural communication.

Print media too has some scope: While the role of print media is certainly limited in the rural context, it cannot be ruled out totally. Even he remotest rural parts have a small group, which is literate. Moreover, while the group may be numerically small, its members usually happen to be the opinion leaders, influencing the purchasing behavior of large segment of their rural consumers. So, it would be unwise to assume that the print media has no scope at all in the rural areas. Moreover, the younger generation in the rural areas is comparatively more literate. They can certainly be approached through the written word and they can be used as carriers of messages to the older generation. With the new trend of increasing rural literacy, the scope for using print media in rural communication will increase further.

Outdoor: The outdoors which include hoardings, wall paintings, illumination and other displays also, lend well for rural communication. In fact many companies are using the outdoors imaginatively in their rural communication mix.

POPs: The POPs point of purchase (or point of sale) promotion tools are also quite useful in the rural markets. The POPs meant of the rural market should be specially designed to suit to rural requirements. Symbols, picture and colors must be used liberally in POPs meant for the rural markets. Color is of particular significance. As general rule, the rural people love bright colors. The effective communicator utilizes such cues.

Audio visual /publicity vans: The AV unit or the publicity van is very useful for rural communication. The van is a comprehensive mobile promotion station at the excusive command of the concerned firm. The firm can exhibit its films and other audio-visual presentations, such as slide shows, sound and light presentations, puppet shows etc from its instant promotion station. A portable shamiana or platform often forms a part of the van. Even public meetings can be organized using the portable shamiana. Portable exhibition kits can also be carried in the van and exhibitions put up instantly. The van can also be used for sales campaigns in addition to promotion campaigns. It can also be used for product demonstrations. In short, the van can be used for carrying and delivering a tailor-made communication programs to the rural audience.

Syndicated AV vans: In recent years, rural AV vans have become a sharable service. Firms which cannot afford to operate vans their own, utilize syndicated AV van service offered by independent agencies.