Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sales sans Marketing – Rural India

This entry was triggered by a session yesterday in the Marketing class on Innovative uses in the Rural Markets. On closer research, I did find some really surprising, yet interesting innovations that Rural India has been using –
  • Buffaloes displayed at the haats for sale are dyed an immaculate black with Godrej hair dye.
  • Horlicks is used as a health beverage to fatten up cattle in Bihar.
  • In parts of Northern India, condoms are used by weavers as gloves on their fingers to weave fine threads. Lubrication on condoms allows them fine control on threads and protects their sensitive fingers.
  • In villages of Punjab, washing machines are being used to make frothy lassi in bulk.
  • Paints meant for colouring up the rich-smooth walls are used to paint the horns of cattle to make identification easier and to achieve a long-term protection from theft.
  • Iodex is rubbed into the skins of animals after a hard day’s work to relieve muscular pain.
  • Iodex is also used as a filling between sandwitches
  • Soft-drinks, especially coca-cola, are used in some parts of India as pesticides.
  • [via ET Strategic Marketing]

    Could this be attributed to lack of awareness or clever discoveries? I believe that in the case of Rural consumers, the former results in the latter.

    According to another article in Strategic Marketing, since the consumers are not educated about the uses of products, they use the products incorrectly. So in some cases, villagers were found using shampoo for brushing teeth and toothpaste for washing hair. Providing such basic usage is imperative. However, it is just because the rural consumers do not close their minds and are constantly “learning by using”,(if I may call it) that sales of some of the FMCGs has multiplied, even though the usage may be unintended. It is in such cases that marketers can express concern over the trends, keep harping on education, yet just go to a corner and smile away – after all Sales sans Marketing and Advertising is every Marketer’s fantasy!
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