While located in Southeast Asia, Singapore is often regarded as quite different from other countries in the region. As an island nation with a geographic footprint half the size of London and a significantly smaller population than many of its neighbours, it is an outlier in many ways.
The country can also differ significantly from other Southeast Asian countries with regards to its approach to marketing as well. Many multinational corporations have their headquarters in the country and so Singaporean marketers tend to follow global HQ practices over localising brand messaging.
In a recent survey of Southeast Asian marketers about omnichannel capabilities, Econsultancy, in association with Resulticks, uncovered several differences between Singapore and its neighbours. The whole report The Omnichannel Imperative is available to all, but below is a summary of four main points which emerged from our research.
1) Singapore marketers are more focused on real-time marketing than those in other SE Asian nations
When asked which marketing concepts are a priority for you and your company in 2019, seven in 10 Singapore marketers chose ‘Real-time marketing’ as one of three possible choices.
Real-time marketing was also the most popular choice for Southeast Asia as a whole but in Philippines and Vietnam, it was significantly less important (57% and 59%, respectively).
The reason real-time marketing is perhaps so important in Singapore is that web and marketing systems have grown to be quite sophisticated in the country over the past few years. Ridesharing apps, such as Grab and Go-Jek, are ubiquitous and many are moving into services such as payments and food delivery.
Companies in Singapore who wish to avoid disintermediation by another app are now seeking to be able to provide useful information to customers how and when they want it.
2) Marketers in Singapore are more confident about the extent of their customer engagement data integration
One of the key technologies required for omnichannel marketing is the collection and analysis of customer engagement data. Whether it’s from website behaviour, email or messaging communications or even ad views and clicks, companies need to keep track of how its customers are interacting digitally to provide and improve services.
When asked about whether they agreed that their company is taking an ‘integrated approach’ to customer engagement data, marketers in Singapore were far more likely to at least ‘somewhat agree’ (84%) than marketers from other countries in the region (70%). Additionally, fewer Singaporeans disagreed with the statement than other regional marketers (5% vs. 18%).
This may indicate that Singapore is technically ahead of other countries in the region as assembling engagement data can be a difficult and time-consuming task. Data sources from 1st, 2nd and 3rd parties need to be integrated and the data needs to be well-managed centrally to be useful for omnichannel marketing.
Regardless, this answer does show that marketers in Singapore feel more prepared to take on the omnichannel challenge than other marketers in the region.
3) Singapore marketers are struggling with omnichannel marketing reporting
While positive with regards to real-time marketing and data collection capabilities, marketers in Singapore appear to be more frustrated with the reporting capabilities of their omnichannel systems than other marketers in the region.
When asked to rate the capabilities of their current solutions, more than one in four respondents (26%) said that their omnichannel system was ‘poor’ at producing post-campaign reports. This was significantly more than the region as a whole (17%) and more than double of the percentage of marketers in Vietnam who reported the same frustration (11%).
As marketers in Singapore may be slightly ahead of others in the region in rolling out omnichannel solutions, this gap is understandable. That is, it is only when omnichannel is heavily used for customer interactions that reporting will come under a lot of scrutiny – so perhaps this will soon be a frustration point for other marketers in the region.
4) Main omnichannel challenges for Singaporean marketers? Data, data and data
Finally, we asked survey takers to indicate three out of 12 common challenges they were facing when carrying out omnichannel marketing across channels.
While the most popular answer across the region was ‘technology or software limitations’, marketers in Singapore were most likely to say it was ‘poor data integration across systems’ and, in second place ‘too much data to manage’.
This result is somewhat surprising as, previously, Singaporean marketers had expressed confidence in their ability to integrate customer engagement data (see point 2 above).
It seems, though, that once omnichannel is up and running the requirements to integrate and manage even more data does not stop.
Following the successful integration of data from digital marketing systems, marketers seeking to improve omnichannel often must look beyond their own systems to make improvements. Point-of-sale, logistical and customer service data are all useful for increasing the value of omnichannel to customers and so it is perhaps unsurprising that even advanced omnichannel marketers still struggle with data integration.
Interestingly, marketers from Singapore were also somewhat less likely to say that a ‘lack of a multichannel marketing strategy’ was one of their top-three challenges or that they struggled with ‘disparate technology platforms’.
Singaporean marketers, it seems, have overcome the basic requirements for omnichannel marketing and are now facing next-level challenges to deliver high-quality real-time interactions with their customers.
For more information on the state of omnichannel in Southeast Asia, download the full report, The Omnichannel Imperative.