As profit becomes king and budgets fall under scrutiny, how can marketing spend be justified? How can marketers improve ROI? 

Marketing budgets have been taking a hit in recent years, even though the business competition has gotten more cutthroat.

A budget cut may bring the immediate tangible relief of extra cash in a company’s coffers. But don’t let that fool you — some experts say the consequences of low visibility could cost companies more in the long run

Some even argue that marketing efforts are, in fact, even more crucial during inflated costs and a recession.

As performance reviews draw near and companies begin to strategise resources for the new year ahead, one local firm thinks their services could be the cost-saving, performance-making boost that companies should include in their marketing mix. 

While we know we can’t just switch off marketing completely, with shrinking budgets, what can marketers do?

Cassandra Ong, founder of marketing consultancy firm OtterHalf, suggests this: fractional marketing, where brands market smart, not hard.

Former Growth and Marketing Lead at Tripadvisor, Chope and Foodpanda, Cassandra faced a low in her life when she was made redundant during the mass tech layoff of 2023. She launched the remote-based global marketing consulting firm OtterHalf with two ex-team members who were faced with the same situation. By knowing first-hand the struggles of staying relevant in a competitive tech industry, they built OtterHalf to help give businesses the advantage they need to thrive.

With 12 years of experience in marketing strategy and strategic partnerships for big names under her belt, her proudest achievement would be securing CapitaLand as Chope’s partner, seeing through the partnership, and ultimately resulting in their investment in Chope’s Series D funding round.

Cassandra Ong, Founder of OtterHalf

REFASH’s experience

Hiring full-time teams comes with the pitfall of HR capacity being under-utilised year-round. By periodically tapping into a pool of specialised marketing professionals, companies can meet their growth objectives without needing in-house teams, as well as the flexibility of deciding when they need this extra boost.

This utility can also serve to complement companies that already have dedicated marketing teams. As much as existing talents serve the company’s current needs, ever-evolving business objectives may call for new or different fields of expertise that the current team may be inadequate in. That’s where the additional flexibility of fractional marketing resources can step in to fill the gap.

OtterHalf’s approach has already been met with success from its partners in the region. Among them is REFASH, a retail brand that leveraged OtterHalf’s fractional marketing team to help drive partnership efforts — something its small in-house staff had no prior experience with. 

The result? REFASH secured three strategic partners in just 3 months, paving the way for accelerated business growth, where they achieved 3x their ROI. The value REFASH gained from such a short engagement with OtterHalf is a testament to the high profit-to-cost ratio of fractional hiring, with the CEO of REFASH confirming cost-savings of almost $40K that would’ve otherwise been spent on traditional means to achieve the same results.