Issue 6, Oct 2015 - Online/Digital Marketing

Where are my customers today?

By Leonard Tan

In the 1980s and 1990s, few would have considered the Internet a viable vehicle for marketing. But all that changed in the late 1990s, which heralded a new digital age. Computers became more portable, affordable, and accessible. Virtually everyone owned a computer and was online doing everything from homework to looking up recipes. Nowhere is this surge in Internet usage more pronounced than in Asia Pacific, which accounts for close to half of the world’s 2.7 billion Internet users. Singapore alone has close to 4 million Internet users—a whopping 74.2% of our population, and with a staggering increase of almost 5% each year (see Figure 1.1).

Figure 1.1

This explosive growth is no doubt helped by an escalating worldwide mobile penetration rate. And the trajectory is expected to continue: In 2017, the increase in the number of mobile subscribers in India, China, and Indonesia is expected to raise the Asia-Pacific mobile penetration rate to 109%.2

As for Singapore, our mobile penetration reached 148% in 2014 (see Figure 1.2).

Figure 1.2

Almost 9 out of 10 Singaporeans today own a smartphone and are connected to the Internet, with each of them spending 25 hours a week online on average - this is equivalent to half of your afternoon each day.

With so many people connected to the Internet, many companies here certainly know the customers are out there. Yet, not many know how best to reach them.

Here is where we come in.

Find Business by Being Found

All good marketers know this: Always start with your target audience. You must know who they are and where they can be found. Familiarise yourself with their lifestyles and device usage habits. Are they usually sitting in front of a computer, or frequently on their mobile phones? Is there a pattern to how or when they use their laptops and smartphones within a single day? And when online, what are they doing there? If they are using the internet to look for information, which search engine are they using? You will notice that while Google trumps other search engines in general, countries like China, Russia, and Korea are exceptions. Yahoo is also seen to be somewhat popular in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan where its reach can go up to 53% compared to other search engines.

Based on all that you understand about your target audience, construct a digital strategy to match their online behaviour. Most constructed digital strategies will involve building a website, which is great. A website acts as your storefront. But you need to decide what to do with this storefront. What you want the customers to do when they reach your website also will influence the type of digital marketing tactics you employ to get them there. Some of these tactics can include affiliate marketing, content marketing, email marketing, video marketing, social media, blogging, search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimisation (SEO), and display advertising. Each platform has its merits and purpose.

Table 1.1 gives you a brief overview and a better understanding.

Table 1.1: Types of digital marketing


What Is It


Email Marketing

Sending commercial messages to a group of people via email

Driving sales

Affiliate Marketing

Having others market and sell for you on their website

Driving sales

Social Media Marketing

Gaining attention through social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ and Instagram

Generating campaign buzz and driving brand advocacy


Video Marketing

Utilising video to explain a product or service,  or to send a public message and promote a cause

Driving brand recall


Promoting a website by increasing its visibility through paid advertising

Driving sales


Promoting a website by increasing its visibility in search engine results pages through organic search results

Building brand

Display Advertising

Having images or rich media content appear across websites as a form of paid advertising

Building brand

Content Marketing

Publishing expert advice and industry-related content and sharing those content

Establishing market leader position


Humanising the company by creating and publishing expert advice and industry-related content

Establishing market leader position

Advertising is not as we knew it years ago. It is an exceptionally fast-evolving discipline where being able to navigate the many evolving tactics and staying on top of them is the mark or a true marketing genius.

Regardless if you are a Business Owner or a Marketer, data driven analytics can be crafted with the right guidance. Unravel more proven online marketing strategies by picking up a copy of ‘The Digital Goldmine’ on Amazon or your nearest bookstores.

The strategies in this book will inspire you to take advantage of big data to formulate your lead generation and brand longevity. Take advantage of reports such as ‘InsightClick’ a competitive landscape report which allows you to identify converting industry keywords and gain in-dept insights on your competitions online marketing strategies. Dive into online marketing with us in the full version of ‘The Digital Goldmine’. 


About the writer:
Leonard Tan is the Founder & Executive Chairman of PurpleClick Media, an award winning marketing agency specializing in Search Marketing. He is also featured in Red Herring Top 100 Asia, among the list of the world's best technology innovators. He can be contacted at



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