Marketing and advertising in Singapore is both exciting and challenging. A country as diverse as Singapore has a wide selection of important things businesses must know. Singapore is a multicultural society with a variety of needs and wants. From a marketing standpoint, gaining access to this market can be both overwhelming and stimulating at the same time.
As one of the most technologically-advanced countries in the world, Singapore has a high digital adoption rate. 92% of its population uses the internet. A whopping 96% of the population also owns smartphones, and they spend 8 hours a day surfing the web.
What does this mean? This opens up multiple marketing and advertising channels that businesses can use to promote their products and services. Most successful marketing campaigns in Singapore have all applied digital strategies. Furthermore, Singapore is ranked among the world’s most expensive countries to live in. With such a dynamic market, along with its constant push for innovation, this makes marketing in Singapore lucrative and competitive.
With a number of possibilities, you may wonder how to start your campaign in Singapore. We asked Arthur Sabalionis and Joon Kim, the founders of AJ Marketing to share their experience on how to do marketing and advertising in Singapore. Let’s take a look!
5 Marketing Tips for Businesses in Singapore
- Get to Know Your Audience: do in-depth research on your target market and localize your advertising efforts
- Digitize Your Business: adapt your business to the high-tech environment of Singapore
- Use Eco-Products and Discounts: make use of the emerging environmental trend in Singapore, along with their love of sale promos
- Foster Trust, Loyalty, and Authenticity: collaborate with well-known influencers whose opinions the Singapore market trusts
- No Man is an Island: find a local marketing agency to partner with and to help you start your campaign
Tip 1: Get to Know Your Audience: do in-depth research on your target market and localize your advertising efforts
To create a successful marketing and advertising campaign, it is key to understand the audience you are targeting. Singapore is a multicultural, multiracial, and multi-religious country made up mostly of Chinese, Malay, and Indians.
This country is a melting pot of different ethnicities, which makes launching a general campaign may be challenging. The key to this type of market is narrowing your target audience and localizing your content for that portion of the society. A good example of this technique is McDonald’s Nasi Lemak Burger.
McDonald’s has always been known for its over-the-top marketing strategies. This company always appreciates the value of in-depth research and localization of products. In Singapore, McDonald’s launched the Nasi Lemak Burger, which is a juicy coconut flavored chicken thigh, coated with a cornflake crunch, and served with a special sambal sauce. This type of flavor originates from Malaysia and 20% of Singapore’s population are Malaysians. This localization effort made this burger undoubtedly popular in the country, bringing McDonalds millions of dollars of sales.
McDonald’s also used this strategy in other countries such as Japan when it launched the cherry blossom drink and nori french fries.
Knowing your target market and making products, services, and campaigns familiar to them will always be the #1 tip when entering a new market. Singaporean consumers may be receptive towards foreign brands, but they still indulge in their comfort zones and still rely on familiarity. When it comes to new products, Singapore consumers are cautious in doing their own research before a purchase. Therefore, brands need to create a story that can connect with the consumers on a personal level.
Tip 2: Digitize Your Business: adapt your business to the high-tech environment of Singapore
Singapore’s digital transformation was driven by its Smart Nation initiative in 2014, and was later hastened by the COVID-19 pandemic. These circumstances have pushed businesses to digital transformation in order to continue serving local consumers.
This digital transformation can also be observed from the market’s behavior. 52% of Singaporean internet users surf the web for brand discovery and brand research. More than 3 million of the population use the internet to buy goods and services, and they spend an average of $1,800 yearly for these purchases. Singaporeans spend most on electronics, fashion, and home furniture.
With this kind of spending habit, it is conclusive that the best way to market and promote your new business in Singapore is through exploring e-commerce. New businesses should ensure that they have online presence, and their product information is readily accessible. This way, the Singapore market can purchase your products with a single tap, click, or swipe. Other ways of increasing your online presence include building your own social media account, and listing your products in e-commerce sites such as Shopee and Lazada.
Lastly, consider the marketing and advertising channels available in Singapore and assess their reach to your target audience. Business owners must pinpoint the channels that are most effective in engaging their market.
For example, the third most-used social media platform in Singapore is Instagram. When Tiffany & Co. partnered with Tiong Bahru Bakery, they utilized Instagram to promote their new coffee cart. Hashtags such as #tiffanypaperflowers and #tiongbahrubakery became trending. This brought exposure to Tiffany & Co.’s new gimmick, and brought customers to their flagship store.
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Tip 3: Use Eco-Products and Discounts: make use of the emerging environmental trend in Singapore, along with their love of sale promos
Singapore consumers are becoming more discerning in the quality of products they consume, as well as the branding attached to it. This makes them more likely to buy into a brand story which supports a cause.
With Singapore placing focus on becoming a Zero Waste Nation by 2030, Singapore consumers, especially the Gen Zs, are becoming more environmentally-conscious and inclined towards brands that contribute towards sustainable living. Businesses have to consider not just the commercial, but also social and environmental aspects of their products for marketability.
Eco-friendly businesses have been sprouting all over Singapore to meet this demand. For example, The Sustainability Project is a Singapore-based business which sells beeswax food wraps, vegan soap and shampoo bars, and cotton fabric snack bags. This shop has an Instagram account which surely became a hit shortly after its launch.
Singaporeans also LOVE discounts. Ranked as the second most expensive city in the world, Singaporeans have to endure high costs of living. Studies also found that the top purchase drivers for Singaporeans are free deliveries, vouchers, and discounts. Knowing this behavior, business owners should devise campaigns striking certain percentages off the prices of their products.
Shopee Singapore is aware of this consumer behavior. Shopee has monthly promotions and sales to make the Singapore market more attracted to their site. Shopee gives its customers heaps of benefits like free delivery, cash backs, and discounts. One of its biggest promotions, the 11.11 Sale, caught the attention of the Singaporean market when they collaborated with Cristiano Ronaldo and Jackie Chan. They also featured local personalities like Mark Lee and Gurmit Singh to make it more relatable to the Singapore consumers.
Tip 4: Foster Trust, Loyalty, and Authenticity: collaborate with well-known influencers whose opinions the Singapore market trusts
New marketing trends are more inclined towards soft selling strategies which create a feeling of authenticity towards a brand. When a new brand enters a foreign terrain, that brand must create a relationship with the market. The business must foster trust in order to gain loyalty.
One way to increase trust in a product is through product reviews and recommendations by word-of-mouth. People tend to choose products chosen by people they know, and whose opinions they trust. The best way to utilize this behavior is through influencer marketing.
Local social media personalities are key opinion leaders of their followers. These influencers produce content which their audience enjoys and gives credence to. As Singapore consumers prefer products they can trust, influencer marketing proves effective, as their reviews of products are deemed more genuine as compared to paid advertisements.
Pampers used this strategy when it wanted to reposition its brand in Asia. In this campaign, Pampers worked with 18 influencers who will highlight their high quality products and communicate to mothers that their babies deserve the best. The influencers created photos and videos featuring mother and child and Pampers’ new Magical Pods. This campaign reached over 474,000 people, with a 3.02% engagement.
Tip 5: No Man is an Island: find a local marketing agency to partner with and to help you start your campaign
It can be challenging to implement tip 1 to 4 all by yourself. To be able to come up with an effective strategy that accurately identifies the segment of your target audience, you will need the advice of a local marketing partner.
Having a local marketing partner is a tactical move as they are equipped with the actual knowledge and experience in the specific market. They can provide effective suggestions based on their experience on-the-ground. This makes your campaign planning more efficient, ensuring that no time, money, or effort is wasted.
With this, AJ Marketing believes that they can help you truly speak to the Singapore market. Moreover, you can learn more about the Singapore market and advertising trends in the AJ Marketing blog.
Singapore is a lucrative market with a huge potential, especially in the digital realm. A new business entering this competitive sphere must know the ins and outs of the country. Businesses must be able to research about, relate to, and influence the audience by using strategies popular in Singapore. Localization efforts are a must, and communicating with key opinion leaders will prove effective.
We hope these insider tips from the founders of AJ Marketing have helped you visualize your next steps in this market. We hope these will help you to generate a solid marketing strategy in Singapore for your successful brand expansion.