Marketing In a Bad Singapore Economy

how to market in a very bad singapore economy

According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the expected GDP for 2019 is set at 2.1%, which is down from the previous forecast of 2.5%. Economists say that this is the slowest growth in nearly a decade of the Singapore economy following an analysis of the first quarter results.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) had earlier given its estimates for 2019 to be between 1.5% and 2.5%. Moreover, MAS is expecting lower medians in nearly all macroeconomic sectors. For example, the manufacturing industry is expected to grow by 0.2%, which is a sharp deviation from the predicted 2% growth.

The finance sector is also expected to increase by 3.5% down from 4.5%. With that said, what does it mean for marketers in Singapore?  For starters, most people will be cautious about spending their money seeing the news circulating of an impending recession. Moreover, DPM Heng Swee Keat recently said that Singaporeans should not expect a full-year recession, and most people interpreted it to say that Singapore is already in a recession.

Marketing In a Bad Economy

A slow economy makes it difficult for most businesses to maintain their sales numbers because people start cutting back on their expenditure. Most businesses go on to cut back on their marketing budget to save money, but that is a bad decision. If anything, it is the time to intensify your marketing efforts.

Despite the slow growth of the Singapore economy, businesses should approach marketing with a refined strategy. Here are tested tips to help you in with your marketing in a bad Singapore economy.

Track Everything

It is common practice for businesses to track their margins, especially their ROI. However, it is much more important that you track all aspects of your business and marketing processes in a tough economy. This means tracking everything right from customer response rates via promotional codes, emails, and online advertisements, as well as checking traffic sources or links that lead to a sale.

Monitoring the business allows you to identify and repeat working strategies and processes to eliminate what is not working. Businesses can then be able to focus their time, budgets, and energies on lowering the cost per acquisition.

Provide Buying Options

Potential customers are twice likely to convert into paying customers when presented with buying options. During such times, when the Singapore economy is slowing down, marketers need to increase their strategies to include various channels such as fax, mail, email, telephone, and online. Several marketers have recorded a 40% increase in sales during recession time by offering a variety of buying options.

Moreover, businesses need to create new pricing options such as delayed payments, alternative financing options, discounts, subscription fees, and more to lower the risk of purchase. The goal here is to create better customer and onboarding experience for increased customer retention.

Call On Existing Customers

The chances are that you will not record as much new business as when the economy was on an upward trend. However, focusing on existing businesses during a slow economy could encourage repeat business, and thus increased or sustained sales.

Leveraging customer value is a sure way of fast-tracking business growth, especially in a tough economy. Start by offering customers exclusive savings and discounts or implement a repeated customer program or a loyalty reward.

Moreover, you ought to review the customer’s demographics to determine if they have similar characteristics. You can then use this information in your marketing processes and sales techniques to attract new customers.

You should also make calls to your best customers and ask them for referrals to people in their business and social circles. On top of this, ensure to attend face-to-face networking events, at least once every week.

Use Marketing Variety

Despite the burgeoning e-commerce market in Singapore, it is not enough to concentrate on one marketing avenue. It is better if you combined both offline and digital marketing in Singapore. For example, during the dot com bubble, many businesses relied on online marketing efforts, but when the bubble burst, the businesses realised the importance of offline marketing and traditional advertising practices.

This is also true in a bad economy. Make plans to reach customers by implementing cost-effective ways such as striking a balance between online and offline marketing and advertising.

Offer Free Trials

A tough economy causes a reduction in impulse buying. Customers will tend to focus more on the benefits of the product or service in their lives before making a purchase. Offering free trials is one of the best ways of navigating around this problem.

This is an opportunity for the customer to experience the benefits of a product or service, which will help them overcome their reluctance.

Outsource Services

Businesses need to look for ways to reduce their marginal costs, including the cutting down on marketing expenses in a bad Singapore economy. For this reason, it is necessary that you consider outsourcing your marketing, PR, and design needs.

The state of a bad economy is a perfect opportunity for you to transition into outsourcing since it is a cheaper option than maintaining in-house personnel. Moreover, outsourced personnel can generate superior outcomes compared to the produced through internal efforts.

In a bad Singapore economy, headcount and associated overheads due to CPF, taxes, floor space, welfare, transportation, entertainment, medical, insurance and bonuses become very magnified.

So it is usually better to outsource your marketing to an agency which can accommodate to your budget. If they do a great job that gives you superb ROI, you can scale up. If they do a bad job you can scale down or change agencies easily.

All these can help you avoid the unpleasant and morale-busting task of hiring and firing staff.

Additionally, an external agency would bring about new insights, profitable marketing strategies that you have never considered and new markets you have never dared penetrate.

Here is a video on how a company successfully outsourced their marketing:

Go On the Offensive

Many businesses make the mistake of slowing down their operations and getting on the defensive. Instead, the best option out is to get more aggressive with your goals and strategies. You ought to use multiple customer contact points such as a call centre, a product support website to create new opportunities via your marketing in Singapore.

Stick to Your Sales Process

A slow Singapore economy can be demotivating to businesses not only in the country but also in the region. However, businesses must make a point of sticking to their sales process if not bettering it. If you make 50 cold calls a day and 20 reference calls, you should not reduce it due to a tough economy.

Sticking to the sales process will create a sense of accomplishment, even if the conversion rate is lower than expected. Moreover, when the economy recovers, you will not work hard on getting back your normal schedule.

Crank Up On PPC Ads

PPC ads are very competitive, and most businesses in the bad Singapore economy are cutting back on their online advertising budgets. However, customers will not stop searching the internet for their preferred products and services.

Cranking up on your PPC advertising ensures that you win the ads auction and a chance to increase website visibility to drive more customers. However, you will need to optimise our PPC ads to attract potential customers.

Take Advantage of the Trends

The slow Singapore economy is a blessing in disguise if you know where to look. Trends provide an opportunity to improve product visibility and engagement. This calls for you to carry out market studies to figure out what is interesting to your customers.


A bad Singapore economy causes most businesses to doubt their marketing strategies and whether the marketing budget is being used effectively. Tracking everything will allow you to determine the ROI and plan better and more cost-effective marketing strategies.

Contact us for professional digital marketing services in Singapore. Our support team will be on hand to provide free and non-obligatory quotes for your consideration.

Author Bio

Tom Koh is the CEO of MediaOne, a leading Asia digital agency. He comes packed with 2 decades of international digital marketing experience. In his spare time of maybe 20 minutes a day, he loves coaching, blogging about all things digital and trying to figure out how to make his dog do the roll.

November 04, 2019

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