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R V Rajan's Handbook: A guide to rural marketing

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MUMBAI: From being a Bombay boy to rural marketer specialist, RV Rajan has many stories to tell. The 72-year-old founder and former chairman of Anugrah Madison Advertising has written a new book - Don't Flirt with Rural Marketing - or like he says "it's my experience".

With around 40 years in the industry, the veteran says the research which went into writing the handbook is nothing but his experiences in the field. According to him, the income and aspirations of lower middle class and middle class is increasing, so no one can afford to ignore rural marketing. "It is from here that a lot of aspirations come from. And with brands offering almost 50 per cent of their products to this category, it is very important to focus on rural marketing," he states.

The TG for the book is marketers, MBA students as well as anyone who wants to know about the subject stresses R V Ranjan

The chapters outlining the fourteen step approach include topics like Commitment from the top management, Choosing the right product, Understanding the mindset of the rural consumers, getting a dedicated task force, Developing focused communication strategy, Performance evaluation etc. The highlight of the book is the elaborate chapter on Below the Line Activities (BTL) which account for 80 per cent of the rural marketing efforts. In this chapter the author provides a detailed practical guide for any kind of road shows. "I have written the book in a very chatty and informal way so that it doesn't read like a lecture. I want people to feel the experiences I went through," he says while stating that the correct TG for the book is marketers, MBA students as well as anyone who wants to know about the subject.

Another added feature is that many of the chapters are supported with appendices giving very useful contact details of individuals and institutions that provide support services to anyone interested in making a foray into rural marketing.

When asked which are the companies which have paid attention to the field, he replies "HUL and ITC have been doing it for years now. But in the current scenario, the company which has created dominance in the rural market through its campaigns and initiatives is LG."

The book has a foreword by ITC executive director Kurush Grant who describes the book as the first usable manual for marketers. "Most serious marketing companies should make the book compulsory reading for all their marketing and rural sales teams".

According to the president of Rural Marketing Association of India and father of rural marketing Pradeep Kashyap, "The book is a must have for anyone involved in Rural Marketing because it has practical insights on Rural marketing which are invaluable for companies and agencies."

Rajan goes on to say that although rural marketing share has increased over the years and states like Punjab, Haryana among many others have gown fantastically one still needs to focus on it.

The Rs 395 book which took around two years to write is published by Productivity & Quality Publishing (Chennai). The 130 page book is accompanied by a DVD containing video clips of some successful case studies of Anugrah Madison.

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