Earlier this year, The Guardian reported that Filipino netizens spent an average of 10 hours and two minutes online every day, nearly 50% longer than the average internet user, globally, who spent 6.5 hours online daily.
This huge differential in time spent on the internet, though, has yet to translate into sizable revenue for merchants, however. According to Statista, the annual ecommerce average revenue per internet user (ARPU) in the Philippines is US$19.84, far below the global average of $539.90.
So, how are marketers in the Philippines facing this challenge? Are they adopting new marketing technologies to try and boost revenue, or have they fallen behind their regional peers?
To find out, Econsultancy, in association with Resulticks, recently surveyed marketers in the Philippines along with those from the six largest economies in Southeast Asia (SEA), and presented the results in a report, The Omnichannel Imperative.
Selected results from the Philippines are summarized below, but to see more, including survey responses from the other countries, please download the report here.
1) Marketers in the Philippines are more focused on multichannel than their regional peers
One way of discovering what marketers really care about is to ask them what isn’t working well with their current systems. Features which are being used extensively will typically be the most popular answers as those are the ones the marketers are using most often.
With this in mind, the results from the survey question ‘How do you rate your current vendor for the following capabilities?’ may indicate that marketers in the Philippines are more concerned about multichannel than their regional peers. The two features Filipino marketers were most likely to rate as ‘poor’ was ‘Multi-touch attribution’ (27% vs 23% SEA, 10% Vietnam) and ‘Multichannel campaign orchestration’ (23% vs 18% SEA, 13% Malaysia).
This result is significant as multichannel marketing is more concerned with customer acquisition and channel attribution than providing customers with a unified experience across all channels, like omnichannel.
Additionally, marketers in the Philippines were also least likely to be concerned about ‘Data integration / Unified view of data across all channels‘ with only 16% of Filipino marketers rating that feature as ‘poor’ vs. 19% in SEA as a whole and 30% in Malaysia. While that may indicate satisfaction with their data, it could also mean that companies in the Philippines are not yet integrating customer data to the extent of their regional peers.
This notion is supported by another data point, too. When asked “Do you have a consolidated customer engagement database to facilitate omnichannel interactions”, more respondents from the Philippines indicated that they did not (30%) than the regional average (18%).
2) Filipino marketers have yet to face the same level of technical challenges as others in the region
When asked ‘What are the main challenges that prevent you from carrying out effective and consistent omnichannel marketing across different channels?’, marketers from the Philippines were most likely to point to data, with 44% saying that they had ‘Poor data integration across systems / manual processes‘ and 40% with ‘Too much data to manage‘.
Responses from the Philippines were considerably different from others in the region which indicated that marketers elsewhere are more concerned with ‘Technology or software limitations’ (41% SEA, 57% Indonesia vs. 35% Philippines) and ‘Disparate technology platforms’ (33% in Thailand, 25% SEA and 19% Philippines).
The reason for this difference may be that, as in section 1 above, Filipino marketers still do not have their data integrated well enough to take advantage of omnichannel technology platforms. Marketers in other SEA countries, such as Indonesia, appear to have overcome the initial data issues and are now facing limitations on the technological capabilities of their current omnichannel solution.
This situation would also explain why marketers in the Philippines are more likely to suffer from the ‘inability to act on data in real-time’ (35% vs 30% SEA, 24% Thailand) than their regional peers.
3) More marketers in the Philippines than in SEA as a whole feel that they are not yet ready for omnichannel
Survey participants were asked whether they agreed with the following statement:
“We take an integrated approach to customer engagement across different channels, leveraging 1st, 2nd and 3rd party customer data, with technology and processes to support this.”
Filipino marketers were more likely to disagree, either ‘somewhat’ or ‘strongly’, with this statement than their regional peers (23% vs. 18% SEA, 5% Singapore).
But, while this result provides additional evidence that marketers in the Philippines have not yet taken on the omnichannel challenge, more Filipino respondents ‘strongly agreed‘ with the statement than their regional peers (34% vs. 32% SEA).
It’s difficult to know what this split result means, but it could indicate that while there is a significant number of companies which are not yet prepared for omnichannel, there are also many who are already focused on improving customer engagement across all their touchpoints.
4) Real-time marketing still the most important thing to Filipino marketers
Regardless of readiness, though, marketers in the Philippines agreed with their regional counterparts that omnichannel technologies are a high priority for their companies in 2019.
When asked “Which of these marketing concepts are a priority for you and your company in 2019?”, the most popular response from the Philippines was the same as the one from other marketers in the region, “Real-time Marketing” (59% Philippines, 65% SEA).
This is a positive sign that omnichannel is on the radar of most companies in the Philippines, even if they are slightly behind their regional peers.
Interestingly, though, where the Philippines differed most in response to this question was regarding multichannel technologies. Filipino marketers were more likely to say that ‘customer journey mapping’ (48% Philippines, 44% SEA, 30% in Singapore) and customer data platforms (43% Philippines, 34% SEA, 29% in Thailand) were a priority for them this year. It’s possible that this focus on multichannel in the Philippines may be a result of the country’s relatively low ecommerce revenue and that this priority is a headwind for those pushing an omnichannel agenda.
Regardless, the survey indicates that companies in the Philippines have significant interest in building omnichannel capabilities, aiming to turn the country’s heavy internet users into loyal, valuable customers.