Mumbai startup Insomniacs ensures its clients don’t lose sleep over their digital marketing needs
The founders of Mumbai-based startup Insomniacs say they “like to get started” when the world goes to sleep. And by working odd hours in the pm (and the am, too), the digital marketing agency is working to transform the digital landscape and create “a customised ecosystem for every sector”. With 80+ brands, 600+ campaigns and 15+ awards – in just five years – suffice to say that the bootstrapped startup is on the right track.
Founded in 2014 by Govind Rai, Pranav Patadia, Aryan Vijay, and Dharit Shah, the digital agency brings every marketing service – be it visual communication, content strategy, social media expertise, or media planning - under one roof for a range of sectors.
“In 2014, we knew that the future was digital. The idea was to find the right need gap. We had seen how transformations took place in Western markets. Here, digital media was primarily used for reach-based campaigns, shifting later towards ROI-driven communication, campaigns, and strategies,” says Govind, Co-founder and Director of Strategy at Insomniacs.
“However, no one was really talking about creating a whole experience or ecosystem around digital and adding as much automation possible. This was our eureka moment,” he adds.
Govind and Aryan go back a long way. They met a decade ago while at college and bonded instantly. The duo then met Dharit and Pranav at an event, and made another serendipitous connection. Starting something together seemed like the next step and they bootstrapped Insomniacs with an initial investment of Rs 50 lakh. Ankur joined them in 2015 as a co-founder and the startup’s Chief Business Officer.
One sector at a time
The founders had one vision for their company - to “significantly increase clients' overall inflow of revenue and RoIs as compared to traditional mediums”. That meant going one sector at a time, understanding its issues, finding need gaps, and addressing the challenges.
"One sector that seemed the most promising to us was real estate. It was still catching up on the digital bandwagon and had multiple issues that we could address," the founders say.
They decided to work on focus-driven communication and sales via the digital medium even as other agencies tried reach-driven campaigns. Their first clients included Mayfair Housing and Raunak Group, and Team Insomniacs highlighted the importance of technology to enable the right penetration into the market through digital media.
Tapping tech to drive sales
“By the end of the third year in operations, we released a suite of technological products for the real estate sector under the banner of iREPS. Our products are being used by 80+ realtors in India as of today," says Aryan, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Insomniacs.
Repeople by RealtyX caters to customer engagement, a referral system, customer loyalty and experience for the existing database and new acquisitions. The Lead Matrix platform helps developers keep tabs on the lead funnel and nurturing in real time while checking the efficiency of call centre teams. NLTX, Zipbox, and Lead Matrix work in tandem – they monitor SMS communications, claiming to improve the results of each and every SMS blast by 160 percent.
First Hello aims at making a strong first impression to a customer on a site visit. Digitising the process of site visit registration and smart sales manager allotment based on customer profiles gives the sales team an edge. The Channel Partner Accelerator, a proprietary solution developed on the RealtyX framework, allows real-time engagement with authorised channel partners, keeping them in the loop on project updates, latest offers, and campaigns. Humin helps developers keep an eye on the progress and efficiency of their employees.
The startup’s portfolio includes real estate biggies like HDIL, Adani, Peninsula Land, Puravankara, Mantri, and Ajmera. The founders claim to have helped their real estate clientele achieve Rs 1,800 crore worth of sales in FY19.
Pranav, Co-founder and Director of Communication, Insomniacs, says: “Apart from our one-of-their-kind products, our team has a deep understanding of real estate’s dynamic nature. That’s why we guarantee that engagement on our brand pages is 50 percent higher, especially in terms of organic traction.”
Detailing out their success with Raunak Group, the founders claim they were successful in achieving 107 percent growth for the brand from the last financial year to this financial year. “Our digital lead generation programme helped them secure 52 percent of their sales last year. It stood at a mere five percent in 2016.”
The future (and present) is digital
After tasting success with the realty sector, the startup decided to venture into other segments.
“This was possible due to expertise gained in ROI-driven campaigns and creating smaller and smarter tech-based solutions. We work to deliver an ecosystem that ensures transparency, increases efficiency, and adds automation at every level. This has always been our basic premise,” Govind says.
The startup soon garnered other clients, including Whistling Woods International, Mukta Cinemas, Vadilal, Gulf Oil, Vu Televisions, and Macmerise. The founders claim to have helped their other clients notch up sales of Rs 180 crore.
“We not only created digital strategies for our clientele but also delved into their overall sales cycle,” Ankur says. “Every client who has signed up for our services and stays with us for the first three months shows an almost 100 percent retention rate.”
The team, which started out with only the five founders, now has a 127-strong workforce, of which 34 percent specialises in tech. “We have the best in the field, whether it’s visual communication, content strategy, social media expertise or media planning,” says Dharit, Co-founder and Chief Culture Officer at Insomniacs.
Across India, digital transformation is being adopted at an extensive scale, and is translating into a rapid increase in the adoption of digital media. According to the Dentsu Aegis Network Digital Report 2019, the digital advertising market size in India is around Rs 10,819 crore and the estimated CAGR growth will be 31.96 percent.
With digital marketing spends on the rise, a huge number of digital marketing agencies are operating in India. These include biggies like JWD, McCann, and Oglivy, and other players like Webchutney, GoZoop, Adsyndicate, Ignitee, Maxus, and FoxyMoron. The sector is crowded, but Insomniacs believe the fact that they not only create digital strategies but also focus on the client’s overall sales cycle holds them in good stead.
No sleepless nights for Insomniacs
In the future, Team Insomniacs want to take a go at one sector at a time, and build a holistic ecosystem around it. “In the last 2.5 years, we did that for the real estate sector. Now, we plan on doing the same for the education sector; two new products are currently under development,” Aryan says.
Next in line are the FMCG, technology, and fashion sectors. “We want to help brands achieve transformations not from the marketing perspective, but in other areas where business problems can be solved through digital solutions and design thinking,” Ankur says.
Are they looking for funding yet? The founders say the company was built with their initial investment. “As we were profitable from the start, we broke even by the end of the first year. We have managed to maintain the streak of our 5x growth for four years in a row,” Govind says. “But,” he adds, “we want to raise funds to take the digital ecosystem we built around real estate to as many as developers as possible, invest in R&D, and develop more need-gap-based solutions.”
The Insomniacs believe driving digital transformation is not just about digital lead generation or communication. “It’s about the overall ecosystem, from the introduction of a customer to final closure,” the founders say. And that’s what they’re chipping away at, one sector at a time.