The advertising in a product like fertiliser should first address the learning component and finally lead to the action of purchase. This is the Learning Hierarchy Model. This approach is most appropriate since fertilisers are critical input for better yields of their crops and there is high-perceived risk. The advertising aims to increase the brand awareness and also highlights the usage conditions for the product for better yields.
Table 4.3 gives a view of the marketing expenses of the major fertiliser companies in India:
The advertisements through newspaper show photographs of healthy seedlings and crops in some and in other cracked and saline soil. The emphasis is on the purity of the product, the ease of availability, increase in yields and better absorption.
In the case of NFCL advertisements there are a series of ads, the message content of which remains the same, but there is a change in the benefits that the farmers may accrue from using the fertiliser. Crop, land plant are the beneficiaries depicted from the usage of the fertiliser in consecutive ads.
The copies of the advertisements give details about the usage of the crop and the possible benefits that can be accrued from the use of the fertilisers. There is an attempt to educate the farmer about the composition of the fertilisers.
There is an attempt to educate benefits that can be accrued from the use of the fertiliser and the optimum mix that should be used. Some ads also give farmers valuable advise about testing the soil in the labs for determining the alkalinity content and then use the fertiliser in appropriate quantities.
There is an attempt to differentiate the product on the basis of the packaging, as in the case of the NFCL ads, where the product is displayed prominently along with the emphasis on a “Double Power Packing”. The name of the company features less prominently as compared to the type of fertiliser being advertised. Even in the case of a popular brand like “Sardar”, the brand name is not emphasised.
The advertisements appearing in the journals mainly attempt towards corporate image building. Here there is an emphasis on the achievements of the producing company over the year and their contribution towards the progress in agriculture.
Super ordination is the message conveyed through the ads and their USPs. Some examples- “Nourishing the roots of the nation” and “In the service of farmers”. The logo and pictures of prosperous farmers are used to convey the message of commitment towards nation building. There is also an emphasis on the technical and industrial excellence of the organisations. ISO 9000 and excellence awards are highlighted.
An empirical analysis of the extension activities undertaken by GSFC in Gujarat revealed that there is much to be desired in this. The targets for various activities like demonstrations, night meetings, soil samples, and village meeting were not met even in number terms.
Despite the extension work undertaken, the farmers reported large misgivings about adverse impact of fertiliser use like pest growth, weed growth, soil fertility decline, and soil texture damage and their proportion in the total was as high as in the case of non-participating farmers.
Even the adoption of improved farm practices like optimum and balance use of fertilisers, distance between crops rows, and timing of irrigation and application of fertiliser was not followed by majority of farmers.
Farmer is the prime target in fertiliser promotion. He is a complex product of his environment, heredity, education, habits, traditions, experience, wants, fears, superstitions and frustrations. His reaction to any message would be influenced by these factors and his value judgement. For evolving a successful programme of fertiliser promotion, it is necessary to understand the profile of the Indian farmer in general and the local conditions in particular.
All the media as given above have some specific characteristics and hence are used by the communicators as per their requirements.
An Old Chinese Proverb Says:
If I hear, I forget
If I see, I remember
If I do, I know
This proverb suggests that hearing alone is not enough in the learning process. One must see and try to do along with hearing in order to gain understanding. Advertisement is an audio visual aid that persuades a person for action.
It is called “Unique Selling Proposition” approach. In this approach the communicator has to figure out what to say to the target audience to produce the desired results. It amounts to formulating some kind of benefits, motivation and identification or reason why the audience may prefer the product.
Some of the unique selling features of some of the companies are quoted below:
i. SHRIRAM UREA:
In quality SHRIRAM UREA is beyond comparison.
A tradition of quality and service.
Set up to modernise agriculture and strengthen cooperatives—world’s largest plant.
A multi-dimension approach towards rural development.
Progress through innovation.
Grow more, use PPL DAP. A wise farmer’s first choice.
At MCF, the fanner is the king.
Suphala and Ujjwala for you to double your yield.
The happy smile—farmer.
Good earth, good yield.