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4 Powerful Marketing Tools for ID Firms - Part 2

10 Mar 2016

Tips & Advice


In Part 01 , we looked at company websites and social media. This part, we look at industry portals and arguably the oldest marketing tool on earth, word-of-mouth. Find out more about what they can do for, and against, you.

With a price war raging and new gimmicks, new promotions and newcomers constantly bombarding the market, you need all the ammunition you can get.


It’s no secret that the whole dynamics of shopping in almost every category have changed. Searching on foot has been displaced and in some sectors almost entirely replaced by searching online. The interior design and renovations industry is no exception.

Problem. Can you believe everything you read? Of course not. Companies will toot their own horns, exaggerate their triumphs and sweep their failures under the carpet. That’s human nature. That said, company websites are generally a fair gauge of a company’s credentials in terms of years in business, projects undertaken to date and industry certification and awards. Members of the public are savvy enough to know that.

HomeRenoGuru Logo
HomeRenoGuru Logo

When it comes to real comparisons, most consumers look for a governing body or some kind of impartial third party. One such third party is HomeRenoGuru, Singapore’s leading online renovation marketplace. A high degree of objectivity is assured, as the company has no preferential alliances with any specific interior design firms. HRG ratings, indicated by stars, are calculated according to precise algorithms that quantify renovation packages by inclusions or entitlements, and measure them against dollars.

To better understand how HomeRenoGuru has grown from nothing to the market leader in just over two years, we spoke to the founder, Morris Teo.


When we asked Morris how he came upon the idea of creating his portal, he explained: “When I was renovating my own home, I found it difficult to find comparable and credible information on packages, prices, designs and reviews of designers. It was very frustrating,” recalled Morris. “And so I formed HomeRenoGuru to provide consumers with information that could help them gauge not just the prices but the real value of reno packages, as well as compare various design schemes, view real projects, and read reviews.”

HomeRenoGuru - Mobile Friendly Experience

“Upon being asked to recommend an interior design firm, Morris diplomatically declined. “Over time I have learned the particular strengths of respective interior design firms. My advice would be tailored to the customer’s particular priorities,” said Morris. “I have no firm favourites.”

Morris elaborated: “The packages that interior design firms offer vary in terms of area covered, amount of carpentry included, quality of materials used as well as freebies and promotions offered. All packages posted on HomeRenoGuru have their own merits. Rather than directly comparing packages with each other, we choose instead to highlight the plus points of each, at a glance.”


When we asked Morris the pertinent question of whom is HomeRenoGuru aimed at, his answer surprised us.

“HomeRenoGuru helps both homeowners and ID firms. Homeowners obviously benefit from an impartial, objective source of information on interior design and renovations. Interior design firms benefit through exposure on an additional platform other than their usual advertising channels such as company websites, print advertising and word-of-mouth.

In fact, out of all the interior design websites and online forums in Singapore, HomeRenoGuru draws the highest traffic both on its Facebook page and website.” explained Morris.

Only Platform with Over 400 Price Reno Packages
Over 400 Price Reno Packages
First-in-Singapore! Live Chat Directly with IDs!
Live Chat Directly with IDs


Another advantage for interior design firms that Morris pointed out is the fact that HomeRenoGuru is a platform on which companies can update their offerings and promotions with ease. In fact, some interior design firms have found HomeRenoGuru so beneficial that they now house only generic information on their websites, and post details of their time-sensitive tactical promotions on HomeRenoGuru.

Ever the innovator, Morris recently pushed out a first-in-Singapore “live chat function” that enables homeowners to live chat directly with interior designers to schedule appointments and submit enquiries. Morris also hinted there are more new and exciting developments in the pipelines to better serve both homeowners and interior designers.


From the voice of authority that is HomeRenoGuru to many voices of experience, we come to word-of-mouth. How important is it to the livelihood of an interior design firm? According to the three leading firms we spoke to, the answer is – very.

A spokesperson for industry giant ID Pte Ltd estimates that 60% of its business comes from referrals by satisfied customers. DISTINCTidENTITY Pte Ltd puts that figure at more than 50%. And One Design Werkz Pte Ltd puts it at around 20%.

There is truth in the saying that a reputation takes years to build and a mere moment to be destroyed, particularly so in the digital age where good news travels fast and bad news even faster. Now more than ever, a company is only as good as its last job – which makes it very important to do every job, big and small, exceedingly well.

Whether you take the average or the lowest figure, the power of word-of-mouth should not be ignored. For startups, it is critical that every job leaves a good impression. Obviously, the more happy customers you acquire, the harder word-of-mouth will work for your business.

Obviously this is no breaking news for interior design firms, almost all of which carry testimonials on their websites. However, there is some variation in the way in which these testimonials are secured.


At ID Pte Ltd, the designer in charge of every project will, upon handover, ensure that the customer has a full understanding of the warranty. Thereafter an email will be sent to the customer formally requesting honest feedback together with their permission to have it published in part or in full. Many of these emails can be found on the company website, complete with dates for added credibility. It is an investment not only in unpaid advertising but also in service improvement.

After the completion of every project, DISTINCTidENTITY Pte Ltd requests customers to fill out a feedback form. Something of an anomaly in the industry, this feedback is not published on the company’s website but used internally for staff appraisal with the aim of continuous service improvement. However, given that an estimated more than 50% of its business comes from referrals, the viral effect of conversations in real life and on social media are clearly working for the company.


Now is the time to reinforce the fundamentals of customer service, good workmanship, quality design and affordable prices. And it really must go beyond glib corporate mission and vision statements on your website.

Because in the digital age, everybody is talking.

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