A unique solution
In 2019, when they first commissioned Amrit to tell their story, the concept was very new. It took a lot of time to convince farmers to just try the app out. Monetisation happened only when the sales team would convince a farmer to convert to a paid plan - and this took a lot of effort. Customer acquisition relied heavily on feet on street sales and participation in village level events to create awareness and get trials. If only the sales team had a compelling way to communicate what BharatAgri offers...
Amrit helped Bharat Agri by creating an impact video by interviewing real farmers. The sales team could use it to accelerate their process:
Within few months of this documentary video story, the Bharat Agri team ran a 1 minute version as an advertisement. It worked fantastically - with the marketing team spending money to take it to over 2 million views.
The Pandemic years - can we go fully digital?
With the onset of COVID, everything changed at Bharat Agri. FOS model shut down due to an act of God. While the documentary style video was bringing in customers at low CAC, the question was - what new campaigns do we need to introduce to scale digital acquisition? Should we shoot another documentary style video?
The team chose to go via the scripted ads route - since it offers a wider canvas to build a narrative, and create a crisp brand positioning. Working with a freelance ad film writer, and the marketing team at BharatAgri, Amrit conceptualised and shot 3 ads in Marathi using real rural locations and actors as farmers. Below is one of those ads:
With data flowing in, we realised that the ads performed well in views but poorly in terms of action taken - hence higher CAC. Teams came together to test simpler messaging variations on static ads, of which the top 3 were picked to make video ads from. Here is one of those simple ads that Amrit made:
This was a TOFU ad - Top of the Funnel - meant to get leads at low CPL. This simple no-story ad (and others in the series) worked brilliantly - better then the earlier scripted ads.
To work in conjunction with these simple ads, Amrit also created videos explaining various app features - which were integrated in the product and used in retargeting campaigns. With these, the total CAC of a paying customer remained within reach.
A well-known truism in digital marketing is that campaign refreshes are needed every few months. Before staring on the next campaign, Amrit and the BharatAgri compiled learnings from earlier:
- Narrative insight: Avoid elaborate stories and come to the point ASAP
- Narrative insight: "Feel-good" factor doesn't work - use a better hook.
- Tactical insight: Create 15 second and 30 second versions of the same ad.
- Tactical insight: Keep farm as a setting - it works.
In the next set of ads, Amrit decided to inject humour and music. Take a look at a few of these ads:
With this campaign, BharatAgri's new positioning of "karcha aadha, aamdani zyaada" was set.
Funding and more
BharatAgri defied convention and sold a paid app to farmers. Everyone said it couldn't be done, but they did it. In that journey Amrit contributed to improving the messaging via multiple assignments over years. Almost as an acknowledgement to the company's growth, in late 2021, BharatAgri raised $6.5m (Series A). With that capital infusion BharatAgri elevated their campaigns to include a celebrity - Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Amrit was not involved in this campaign). Take a look:
BharatAgri is a revolutionary app for Bharat, and for India. We're fortunate to have contributed in it's messaging journey - from the very first documentary 3-minute-story to the newest ad - from a struggling startup to a confident company.