Understanding the Rural Consumer: Internship for Market Research Students

21st November, 2014

The students of the Market Research program went to rural parts of India to understand the behavior and attitude of the rural consumer towards specific products. This internship required students to use the training in Qualitative Market research that includes designing the questionnaire, using professional techniques of interviewing respondents, conducting the interview, synthesis of data collected from the interview, analysis of the data and finally presenting the data to the clients.

The students of the Post Graduate Program in Market Research (Batch of 2014-15) studied
products in three categories viz lubricants, FMCG Food and FMCG Non-Food. The students went to three places in India viz. Bhavnagar in Gujarat, Mangalore in Karnataka, and Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh. They visited nearby rural areas of the cities to derive insights about the rural consumer.

The students visited about 5-7 villages near the cities, interacted with the residents, experienced a rural lifestyle (first time for many of them!) and gained important insights about the rural life.

What makes a market research assignment interesting is that one needs to study the environment in which the product/service is consumed along with studying the fake watches consumption of the product/service. It is quite astonishing to know that the environment has a big impact on the purchase of the product/service.

For example, the students studying the lubricants found that the tractor is an integral part of the farmer’s family. Some farmers treat the tractor as their family member such as a brother or a son ! Understanding the emotional bond between the man and the machine helps the market researcher derive insights which are otherwise impossible to gain. These insights are then used to derive an understanding of the consumption of the product/service.

Continuing the example of lubricants, the discovery of the emotional connect between the farmer and the tractors enabled the students to understand the consumption of the lubricants. The students found that despite financial hardships associated with agriculture, the farmers seldom compromise on maintaining the tractor. A properly maintained tractor can be useful for 10-15 years !!

Insights about the emotional bond, the regularity with which the tractors are maintained and the environment in which the consumption of the lubricant happens, is of immense help to the manufacturers. This information is then used for communicating with the farmers in form of advertisement, promotions, etc.

 

By

Trivikram Chausalkar

President

MarComm Council

PGPMR 2014-15