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MEDIA & MARKETING | Contributed Content, Singapore
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Jacky Tan

Why some Singapore businesses enjoy an unfair advantage with digital marketing

BY JACKY TAN

A recent report by PwC showed that Singapore has one of the highest smartphone penetration levels in the world (85% of Singapore have smartphones) and consumers spend an average of 40% of their time on online media. And yet, the level of online advertising in Singapore is still below the international averages.

Business owners and advertisers in Singapore are still comfortably spending the bulk of their advertising budgets on newspapers, magazines ads, TV commercials, and other traditional ad methods.

While for some businesses that did online advertising, the budget allocated for the digital media stands only at an average of 15% of their marketing resources, which is considered little as well.

Move in or Move Out of The Comfort Zone?

Everyone knows that the bulk of consumer market (the money source) has gone online and mobile, but most businesses still want to be at ease with the good old traditional media.

We are not saying that marketing on these channels are not effective but since research and statistics shows that the internet and social media is where the money is, wouldn't it be good to divert the bulk of one's marketing resources to these new marketing channels instead?

In my opinion, I would usually suggest to a company's marketing officers or business owners to create 6-month to 1-year pilot digital marketing campaigns, while keeping their existing traditional marketing strategies.

If the business is able to see improvement of marketing results, they can therefore scale the results further by increasing more resources into digital and social media strategies. In this way, it would allow businesses to 'try out' digital marketing and branding with 'less risk'.

This Explains Why Minority Businesses are Quietly Benefiting Outrageously

The report also explained why a few businesses, which took the move into digital marketing and branding strategies, are silently milking the cash cows in a big daddy way!

Companies that took advantage of digital marketing and branding earlier are therefore enjoying good market leadership and positioning in a pretty speedy method.

If you are considering digital marketing and branding, below are some available and cost-effective strategies which you can take advantage of today.

#1 Search Engine Advertising

With millions of consumers using Google search engine each day, putting your brand on the first page of Google will definitely put you steps ahead most of your competitors.

Search engine advertising has made consumers find products and services easily through the power of keywords. It is the "matchmaker" for today's customers and businesses.

#2 Content Marketing

This is one of the latest digital marketing and branding strategies in Asia. It simply means creating consumer-related content around your brand.

For example, if you are selling sports shoes, you can write content about team sports or marathon running tips. Since this is a new method of marketing strategy in Asia, brands that tried content marketing today, will therefore have a huge unfair advantage over their existing competitors.

Content marketing can work for both B2C (business-to-consumers) and B2B (business-to-business) sectors. Renowned professional social media network Linkedin has dedicated a very strong and powerful media platform for businesses to tap on their existing network with their branded content.

#3 Social Media Marketing

This is where things get a little bit more interesting. I would say most Singapore businesses are doing social media marketing. Most would typically have at least a Facebook page.

Talking about Facebook, it allows businesses to target the right consumers based on their demographics such as age, relationship status, interests, and many more. For example, if the business is dealing with customers who are home owners, they can easily find this group of consumers on Facebook by targeting users who are married. It is as simple as that!

#4 Media Space Buying

This is where you would see digital ad banners in popular websites. Some popular websites offer outrageously expensive rates for businesses to place advertisements on their websites.

However, Google adwords (Display Ads) has made media space buying a much more affordable and effective method for advertisers, to put their ad banners in millions of websites (including Youtube). The consumer reach with display ads will therefore be greater and investments will be much less compared to investing tons of money on traditional ad placements.

#5 Videos Marketing

The new age businesses are generating customers from uploading interesting and attention-grabbing videos on popular video sharing channels like Youtube. The advent of video-sharing platforms has changed the entire marketing landscape where consumers no longer have to watch video content "planned" for them on the TV channels.

Instead, they are able to find and watch any video content they like instantly in a matter of seconds. Google also allows advertisers to reach out to targeted customers on Youtube, one of the most visited websites in Singapore and the whole world.), with their adwords campaign.

#6 Bloggers Endorsements

Today, bloggers endorsements are getting more popular and cost-effective than having celebrities endorsing your brands. Good bloggers have relatively better online influence than most celebrities and personalities, due to their large amount of readership on their blogs.

As there is a large network of bloggers in Singapore, it is important for advertisers to find the right blogger based on certain requirements such as the demographics of their readership, the genre of their blogs as well as the style of their writing.

Addressing the Challenges of Limited Participation in Digital Advertising

The recent PwC report showed that the challenges for Singapore businesses who are avoiding digital marketing are firstly, poor understanding of digital metrics (68%), limited supply of digital talents (64%), slow mindset shift from traditional to digital (59%), and being comfortable with traditional media (45%).

Well, in one sentence:

These companies are missing out the huge share of their consumer market today.

I believe that the most important thing here is the shift of mindset and the willingness to try digital marketing instead of totally avoiding it.

It is true that there might be a limited supply of digital talents in Singapore; however the companies can also engage the good digital marketing companies or individuals based in Singapore or anywhere else in the world. Now with everything going digital, anything is possible!

In Summary

It is essential for businesses to move out of their comfort zones. Therefore, instead of waiting for most of your competitors to go on the digital marketing wagon, why don't you get started today?

On the other hand, we may need to know that the digital marketing and branding landscape is very fast-paced. The methods that worked today may or may not work in the future.

Therefore, it is important for business owners and their marketers to constantly get them updated of the new upcoming strategies. In this way, they will be two or three steps ahead of their competitors even if their competitors got on digital marketing!

So, get started on digital marketing and enjoy that unfair branding advantage today!

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Jacky Tan

Jacky Tan

Jacky Tan is a brand strategist, professional marketing writer, blogger, speaker, and author. He is also the chairperson and keynote speaker for Marketing Asia Conference 2016. Jacky leads boutique marketing and branding agency 'Jack and Chaz Pte Ltd'.

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