Saturday, October 30, 2004

CAUSE & effect

I have been reading 'The Street Lawyer' by John Grisham for 2 days. It is about how a lawyer who worked for a hot-shot law firm, is hit by the realities of life after an incident. Everything changes from that point. Suddenly his ambitions and priorities change. He was a rich guy making a lot of money and climbing the ladder of success at a great pace. But suddenly, he realised that when death stares at you point black, money and career is the last thing on your mind. For the first time he gets close to life at the street, and he definitely changes for life!
This made me think about our own lives and where are we going. At some point of time, all of us talk about injustice, opportunities for the common man, service to the society, upliftment of the poor...blah...blah...blah, but what we do is put the entire blame of doing nothing about the poor, on government. Governments change on these issues but issues still are very much alive.
All of us spend almost half of our lives studying to spend the rest half drawing a fat salary. And no matter how fat the salary, the aim is to get it fatter. No matter if we draw Rs 5,000 or Rs 35,000, we always feel that it is not enough for our own needs, how can we think of any kind of donations. May be after I get a hike!!! Isn't it? But that day never comes! Selfish! Ego-centric! that's what we are!
So what do we do? Why can't all of us pledge a certain percentage of our salaries for donations, according to our willingness and convenience. Is it too bad--providing a child with a meal or may be providing her with a book!
Why don't we realise that if we are able to spend extravagantly on clothes, food and luxuries, most of the times it is good luck and not our hard work! I don't earn now, so whatever I enjoy because of my father and brother, as they earn! But I could have been one of those on strret, had I not been lucky!
So why can't all of us think and find out a cause, each one of us would like to be associated with! Remember, even the smallest of effort in the right direction, means humanity and compassion is still in the vicinity!
Take care!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Week Ahead!

I am a comparatively early riser. My day begins normally at 7 am.I like to go out at that time, and get paper and bread etc for breakfast. I come back, get bath, do Puja, then make a quick breakfast and settle with a novel or the day's newspaper. I plan at that time what needs to be done in the day, and I am so used to planning that if I don't I feel something is amiss. Although it is a good exercise yet I think I make unrealistic plans, so it does not turn out the way I plan but the main thing is that I don't forget something important, which I don't because of my schedule.
I am still on a schedule. And my internet deadline finishes at 20 mins from now.
What I wanted to write here is about the week. What I would be doing this week! Since the next week I am leaving for my home, where I would not be connected.
This week I have 2 assignments and 1 case study to submit.
Besides I am going to increase my speed of reading manyfold. I want to finish lots before I leave.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Big Bad World

Meet myself.Yeah,after 21 postings, I feel I should make an introduction so that you could relate to whatever I say.I am a 23 year old girl from a small hamlet in remote Jharkhand. Hamlet does not mean, I did not have education and other things. It just means, it was not a happening place. I had my schooling in a decent enough school--DAV Public School--till Class XII. Then I shifted to Orissa,because at my place, it took 4 years to complete graduation, so what's the point to waste 1 whole year when there are alternatives! Till my Graduation, I had not imagined for once that I would do MBA someday. Frankly speaking, I had Group Discussion fear. I was into NIFT, I wanted to be a Fashion Designer. I was the one who would be glued to TV, not blinking for once, to watch Miss India, Miss Universe, Miss World Contests. Designer clothes seemed bizarre to me but even then I would think they are creative....blah..blah..blah. And then I got over this Fashion phobia. I wanted to get into Indian Institute of Mass Communication. The first time I could not make it, as I was not prepared, and then my brother, who wanted to do MBA, somehow convinced me that MBA is THE profession these days. So here I am.
But I actually drifted from what I wanted to say.
I was telling about how entirely different is life at that small hamlet--Jhinkpani--and here at Pune.There are ways in which you grow up, and there are ways through which you lose yourself, in the crowd of such a huge city! I am glad I have grown, but I fear that others do not lose themselves.....I fear!!!

Friday, October 22, 2004

Festive Season's here!

Tomorrow's Dussera!!!Yeah, it is that time of the year again. But in Pune, it does not look like it. Back home, it would be one big event for the entire place--Music blaring at full volume, people dressed in new clothes for atleast 4 days on a row till Dussera. But here I have to ask people again when is Dussera, so that I don't miss Dussera. Mum-dad are also missing us but oce you grow up, you hardly kow where you are going to celebrate your festival. It depends on your commitments and priorities at that point of time.When we were in school, it was so simple, whenever you would have holidays, you would be home or may be out to some relative's place. But these days, the time you reach home is supposedly festival time!
I would be home for Diwali. But the problem is you become so out of reach at that place, that I have to think 10 times before scheduling my holidays. There's no cellular service except Cell One, and no Internet!!!Yeah, it's that remote! But you do not find fault in your child, do you? So good or bad, it is yours!!!The home, that is!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Trite & Prejudice

My weekend was not really full of books as I presumed. Sunday is always my favourite in terms of spending time doing something or nothing. My room-mates can't digest why I get up early on a holiday but I have been like this always. My logic is simple, if I get up early on a day when I have to attend classes early in the day, I would only get up and get ready for the class. But when its holiday, I wear my shoes and go for a leisurly walk, get newspaper, milk, prepare garma-garm Tea, take bath; and then settle down to reading something. It is Bliss.
Yesterday, I went to watch 'Bride & Prejudice'. I would say it was yet another ordinary Bollywood movie, only difference was that, it was in Hindi!And yeah, the male lead, Martin Henderson was the breather, if you know what I mean!
But I particularly loved one song--"Show me the way, take me to love....!!!"It's beautiful!
By the way, I am refreshing the original story of 'Pride & Prejudice' at

Sunday, October 17, 2004

My article

By the way, here's my article.................


Rural Marketing is the latest buzzword in the Indian Market. The villages and small towns, which were once inconsequential dots on maps, are now getting the attention of global marketing giants and media planners Two-third of the country’s consumers live in rural India and almost half of the national income is generated here. Thus not only a large consumer base stays at the backwaters but also because of the stagnancy in the urban demand, the only way out for the companies is to target the Rural India.
Is it that easy to target semi-urban and rural customers? It is in fact easier said than done. There are scores of issues associated with this, from poor infrastructure to low income, from the difference in the buying habits of the urban and rural customers to their wants and desires, from different lifestyles to consumption trends, and several other issues. Think for yourself, would it be a cakewalk for a Korean company to understand the idiosyncrasies of a resident in Siwan (Bihar) or a Marwari in the remote Rajasthan?
This article dwells into the opportunities enfolded in the Rural India and the challenges, which companies need to consider before taking the plunge.



The most lucrative aspect of Rural Marketing is to reach the untargeted 700 million potential customers, which would bring huge volume Sales to the company. What this data means could be sensed from the case of LIC. Almost 55 percent of LIC's business today comes from villages and as much as 47 percent of the total Sum Assured is accounted for by village folk. Of a total of 1.7 crore life insurance policies bought in the country, more than half have their origin in villages.

Untapped Potential

The estimated size of India’s rural market stated as the percentage of world population is 12.2%, which consists of largely untapped markets. Besides, introducing the existing products to the rural markets, companies are also bringing the rural customers face-to-face with several new concepts. ITC has been extremely innovative in this regard with its e-chaupal and first rural mall ‘Chaupal Sagar’ (Madhya Pradesh).
It works like this. With its network of e-chaupals, ITC communicates its latest commodity prices to the farmers via the Internet or VSAT lines. If they find these attractive, they sell their produce to ITC. Now, by setting up the mall next to the warehouse, ITC is trying to monetise the footfalls from farmers. Most of the brands sold here are national. You would find Marico, LG, Philips, torches from Eveready, shirts from ITC's apparel business, bikes from TVS, and tractors from Eicher.

Government Initiatives

With government’s focus shifting to agriculture, rural development and infrastructure, the economics of the agricultural sector is expected to see an upward trend. For example, the increasing focus on organic farming in the Planning Commission, and impetus on growth of rural sector in this Budget show positive signs.

Vanishing Urban-Rural divide

The Urban-Rural divide is shrinking as never before. The aspirations of Rural India are scaling new heights. Increased literacy and greater awareness in rural markets create new demands and discriminating buyers. Villagers who used to spend the entire day munching paan-tambakoos now demand chocolate candies. Charcoal-cleaned teeth have given way to Colgate and the likes.
In fact there are categories where rural market share is greater then urban like batteries, blues, tea, washing cakes/bars, etc. 38% of the two-wheeler consumers are rural. Besides, LG has clearly set a target of 70% value growth in rural market. It anticipates the contribution of the rural market to be 65% this year. As also, 50% of the confectionery market lies in rural areas, and the market is growing at a rate many times more than the urban market. Even Coca Cola India claims that 30% of its sales come from rural markets.

Competition in Urban Markets

Intensified competition in urban markets increases costs and reduces market share. The situation is that the total market in Urban India is not increasing substantially, thus companies are fighting hard to maintain their market share, sometimes at the cost of their profits also. For example, the recent case of price-cuts by HLL and P&G in detergent powder segment has led to drastic cut in the profits of both the companies. It is also not viable to sustain market share in this way because low profits rely on volumes to sustain it.
The rural market thus provides the obvious scope for furthering company’s market. The automobile market brings this out clearly. Bajaj scooters and Ambassador cars find ready acceptance in the rural market in the present scenario, where the urban market is flooded with brands of motorbikes and cars in a variety of range.


Low Income level

Rural consumers have a lower disposable income. A majority of these comprise of daily-wage earners, who rely on their daily earnings for sustenance. Since their disposable income is low, so their needs are also restricted to minimum requirements. For example, if they decide to buy a TV, they would not look at Flat-screen or surround sound system or golden eye. They would buy a TV with the basic functions and no more specialties or value-addition, simply because they cannot pay for it.
In the Television segment, LG’s ‘Sampoorna’ and Onida’s IGO, at lower cost, are targeted towards rural consumers. 14-inch economy colour TV models also saw competitive pricing.

Inadequate infrastructure facilities (electricity and roads)

Poor infrastructure leads to poor physical distribution. When companies target rural markets, availability is also a very important aspect. Poor electricity facilities and poor roads leads to difficulties in distribution of product on time and storage problems.

Retail & Distribution Network

Unlike the variety of stores in the urban market, rural markets have only small retailers in the form of kirana shops. There is no proper display of products and most of the times there is hardly any brand-loyalty.
The rural India had first brush with the concept of shopping malls with ITC’s Chaupal Sagar.

Different Buying Behaviour

It is observed that the buying behaviour of urban and rural consumers is very different. For example, since a majority of rural consumers are daily-wage earners, they cannot possibly buy big ‘money-saver packs’ simply because they are cheaper in effect. The companies fear that if they introduce such packs in the rural markets, it would lead to loose retail of their product by the retailers and they would loose control over quality, brand presentation and price.
HLL had been able to gauge this and it introduced the concept of ‘nano-marketing’, which meant products made available in small sachets especially for the rural consumers. After so many years of introduction of this concept, today everything possible is available in a sachet, from edible oil to shampoo, from tomato sauce to coconut oil, from coffee to milk powder. This concept brings affordability with variety to the rural consumers.
For Coca Cola also the launch of the Rs 5 pack has reaped rich dividends in terms of sales. 50 gm packs of Godrej’s FairGlow and Cinthol at Rs 5 each, and HLL’s Lifebuoy at Rs 2, are examples of how companies are reacting according to the rural markets

Inaccessibility of conventional advertising media

Since TV is accessible to only around 50% of the rural consumers. Thus the conventional advertising media does not really work in these quarters. Thus companies have to take a different route to reach out to the consumers. Rural marketing discourse, Wall paintings Calendar advertising and outdoor advertising are most common. Besides, companies target gatherings like ‘Kumbh Mela’ festival, where they provided ‘touch and feel’ demo and free samples like Colgate-Palmolive distributed free samples of its herbal toothpaste. There are Consumer Video Vans, which carry informecials to rural villages.

Seasonal consumption

One more problem with this market is that it is more-or-less seasonal. In most of the places, there is acute dependence on monsoons. Besides, there is also increase in disposable income and more willingness in the rural consumers during harvests and festivals, unlike urban consumers, who buys throughout the year.

Understanding local tastes

It is easy to imagine how difficult it could be for MNCs to understand the local tastes and preferences of people. To solve this problem several companies go for Joint Ventures o tie-ups. For example, in early 90s, P&G tied up with Godrej, as it was oblivion to local tastes.

Cheap alternatives

Since rural consumers comprise of illiterate people also. It forms ground for the cheap copies of established brand. For example, Fair & Lovely could be Fare & Lovely or Parachute could be Farachute. Since the packaging is so similar that the consumers are easily fooled. Thus, companies also need to monitor what goes on in the rural markets in this respect.


Thus, rural marketing is not a child’s play. It calls for an extensive research about the market and the consumers. Meanwhile, the investment for improving the basic conditions of water, electricity and roads in rural areas must be strengthened so as to create a better environment for growth in all respect.
Looking at the opportunities and challenges in the rural market, it is certain that the rural sector is extremely lucrative but only for those who understand its dynamics and are able to make the best use of it, otherwise it can become a trap in the sense where the companies lose focus of their core customers.

Pitch-The Advertising, Marketing and Media Review
Rural Marketing by Sanal Kumar Velayudhan

Saturday has arrived. Finally!

This day was extremely taxing. I got up at 6.30 am for a class at 8 am. After the class, at 9.30 am, I sat down finally to write my pending article for our college magazine LINKPIN. I have been an editorial board member for more than a year and did not write one article!!!That was really, really bad. So by 2.30 pm, I completed my article on 'Rural Marketing in India-Opportunities & Challenges'. That done, I went to canteen to grab a quick lunch of Masala Dosa (although I have got sick of it!). Then I spent time in the library flipping through Economic Times till 4.30 pm. I had a class till 7.30 pm. And after everything, I am here at our good, old computer lab to post stuff about something atleast. Everyday I logged into Blogspot, wondered what to write, close it and leave for home! It had been days since I last posted!
Anyways, my reading cruise is still on! Now that my article is completed, today I would start 'The Da-Vinci Code', then I have also got a collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies and one from Harry Porter series (I finally decided to have a look why JK Rowling is creating so much buzz everywhere!) piled up! Besides, I have 2 issues of USP, 1 issue of Pitch, 1 old issue of 'The Brief' and bound A&M issues. Anybody would think I am completely drowned in Advertising! Well, atleast I am trying.
Its a dream to be there, in Advertising, creating wonderful ads!
You know something? I really love Saturdays, it has a Sunday a day after to relax!
OK, enough of dreaming. My back is aching like hell! I have been working since morning without rest, so catch you later, sweetie!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Reading like a Maverick!

Yeah! That's what I am doing these days. As time is running out and I am counting days in this institute, I want to read all the books which I want to read!I read Kiran Bedi's Biography 'I Dare'. I found it really motivating. This woman is really something!
Secondly, I read R.K.Narayan's 'Malgudi Adventures', stories of our good old Malgudi!!!I remember its tune. And infact Malgudi's ringtone is quite popular!

And today I got hold of "The Da Vinci Code" finally!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Life hits you really Hard!

Last two days had been difficult. It seems that those were not just two days but several!!!!They were long, really long!
On Saturaday, two of my friends met with a very severe accident on a bike while driving back from a picnic in the outskirts. The accident was so severe that we lost one of our friends, and the other is fighting for his life at ICU.
I feel really sad when I look at his parents! At this age they have to go through this. His Father is sitting outside ICU since the time he got admitted, barring few trips home. He looks normal but anybody could imagine what it is to see your child in such state. You really need nerves of steel.
I just pray to God that he gets well soon,back to his normal self. I really miss him around. Just a day before his accident, all of us dined together. And now we are seeing him stuck inside life-support system.
Life is really, really difficult. But keep the Faith!
I must add here that Pune is a really a nightmare for two-wheeler drivers. (Hope my brother doesn't reads this!)But then in India where do you find people abiding by rules? But this incident has made me extremely afraid.

Friday, October 01, 2004


Actually I had been searching for Online Books since a very long time and finally today I found two links. I don't know whether these are the most popular ones or not, but they would do for the time being.They are

The first book I am going to hit is Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. I had read this book before but a very long time ago. So, since apni Aishwarya's Bride & Prejudice is creating so much hype. I should get through the original scipt before getting to watch the movie!