Marketing and advertising didn’t exist for most oil and gas original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and service companies—their budgets dedicated a major portion of their revenue to sales and business-development activities but without any intention to optimize.

However, the time of $100 per barrel is gone. Processes such as customer attraction, conversion, and retention needed to become leaner for enterprises to succeed. Consequently, owners, top management, and stakeholders started to recognize the need for marketing and advertising. But for those with little to no knowledge, the whole marketing world sounds mystical and questionable.

Below I have listed 10 reasons why small to large companies need marketing and advertising:

  1. Advertise your unique solutions.
    Lost opportunities result from failure to market and advertise new products and solutions designed to solve existing problems. Motivated organizations monetize the power of Intellectual Property.

    Customers present unique challenges to machine shops, fab shops, and boutique OEMs to solve real industry problems almost daily. And thanks to such collaborations, persistent efforts, and joint experiences, new solutions are being developed to optimize oilfield operations by either improving safety or efficiency (preferably both). Such inventive solutions and products often prove to be problem-solvers for many others because they’re born from customer necessity. However, such solutions stay in lead machinist books or operations managers’ heads due to a lack of marketing and advertising efforts, which leads to lost monetary opportunities for the business as well as leaving existing or potential clients with similar challenges unsolved.

    Proper marketing and distribution also contribute to experience sharing, in turn driving overall industry advancement, which then makes every stakeholder more efficient and virtually eliminates the need to reinvent the wheel. One example might be the invention of hammerless unions — the solutions for almost 100 years old problem.

  2. Be visible.

    Provide high-quality information online about your products and resources, and present straightforward arguments for what differentiates you from competitors.

    We live in a fast-paced world—there’s too much on our to-do list and too little time to finish it all. So we apply time and project management tips and tricks to show a row of checkmarks on that list. We like to control what we do and when we do it. Customers do the same: they prefer to access, study, and share specs of your products or services at any time they choose (especially if you offer new technologies). To attract, nurture, and convert leads and even customers you need to clearly explain your products’ or services’ values online with the help of visuals. Don’t forget to highlight your capabilities and certifications.

    From my previous life as API auditor, I can confirm that having access to the latest certificates online was a huge time saver and benefit—and reduced both concerns and AARs—for purchasing departments. And even if not uploading the latest cert online, just having your required API license number on a website allows your customers to search it in API Composite List.

    This is a real-life example, a company that has been focusing on several projects and not doing any social or digital networking was considered dead by many previous clients and partners. And now the time comes to look for new business and larger investments are needed to return to their former glory. Maintaining your visibility always pays off.

  3. Do a distribution, i.e., advertise right.

    First of all, having an asset and keeping it for yourself does no good for you or your customers. Marketing materials developed about your product need to be distributed and shared with the target audience to bring in returns. You need to invest in content distribution, aka advertisement (either paid or free).

    And it becomes even easier to assess that data needed for effective distribution in the digital world. With keyword research tools, you are able to see numerous search inquiries by keywords and phrases. For instance, in June, there were 90 Google searches or requests for “coil tubing services midland tx.” With investments at $1.75 per paid click (at minimum) and by properly optimizing your online presence, you can easily make those searchers your leads and convert them to customers enjoying a high ROI. Those were hot leads at the bottom of the funnel (ready to make a purchase). And knowing one fundamental piece of information—when coil tubing is needed, it's needed right nowyou have every possible chance to convert. The same applies to most products and services offered by OEM and service companies in the oilfield.

    I will also just briefly mention the power of lookalike targeted advertisement: basically, when you target people similar to your existing customers, on any digital platform, you can reach exactly whom you need on the lookout for a company just like yours. Know the search volume, establish the advertisement budget, and invest wisely.

    The worst part is when a company invests in the development of video content or graphic material—for example, for a trade show or presentation—saves it in the cloud, and forgets about it. Basically, the asset was purchased and put in a box without letting it do the work. Post such content on websites and social media channels. Repurpose it if needed. And let it do its job—attracting eyeballs and promoting your brand and services.

  4. Do your homework.

    Know your goals, your customers and their pain points, and how you solve them—put in your due diligence in marketing research and planning.

    Without geological surveys and thorough analysis of available data on previously drilled wells in a selected region, no drilling operations will start. Knowing the value of research and analysis, why not apply the same concept to marketing your business? Targeted research data can help you:
    -Establish what you want your actions to achieve—your measurable goals.
    -Know who you want to reach—your audience—and their characteristics (geo locations, company types and sizes, job titles, pain points, etc.).
    -Keep a clear focus on what you are solving—their problems—and how you can help.
    -Start building your product story and share/promote all the proven benefits you bring to the table.

    With this results-oriented data-driven approach, you will be able to allocate your resources more efficiently and track progress toward reaching your goals, eliminating guesswork.

  5. Go lean.

    Practices that used to close deals during the era of the $100 barrel are not so affordable anymore. Companies need to ensure every dollar spent on each opportunity, lead, and customer gives a monetary return. Companies want to be certain the sales and marketing departments work in unison, making the sales process leaner, more efficient, and affordable. And with current technologies, it's all doable. Make your sales department leaner and more efficient with the power of digital analytics. Companies can either cut salesforce size or make it more productive to reach or exceed stated goals.

    Imagine: if you have your contacts database in good shape, you can divide your existing contacts (including leads, clients, and partners) into segments based on either geographic or product preferences. Then you can send your contacts educational or promotional newsletters that will help them solve challenges or share information on how you will solve those. You will be able to easily see who opened that email or clicked on the video or offer—in simple words, expressed interest—and how many times. This, in turn, informs your internal sales team precisely when they need to pick up the phone to follow up. So companies are eliminating part of the guesswork, prioritizing activities, and highlighting accounts for the salesforce to touch base.

    Solutions such as MailChimp are magic in that space. Targeted LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Google ads are other great ways to attract, nurture, and convert leads and clients. It's like a sales force that works 24/7 on engaging and entertaining your target audience. So you can reach more reps of your audience with less investment. Plus, your salesforce will not annoy those who have no need for your products at the time, and they can instead focus on delivering value for those who most require your solutions.

  6. Be a talent electromagnet.

    By maintaining proper marketing and advertising efforts to create a positive image and healthy brand awareness, you can attract and retain the best talent for your team. It's not a secret that your company is doing well as long as the best people stick with you.

    Millennials particularly like to work for a company that has a positive image, values work-life balance and provides great benefits (aka “perks”). They want to be associated with a known and respected name. Millennials worry less about income and more about what excites and interests them—they need to know they have a real opportunity to make an impact. Shell, NOV, BP, and Exxon are doing an amazing job in this area! There is even such a thing as “power of email”—almost every Millennial working for a big company is proud to have an @knowncompany.com work email address. Among other things, it almost 100% guarantees an answer to any inquiry.

    With existing technologies, even small companies can build such awareness and respect, given they do what they say they will.

  7. Prove yourself as a memorable influencer.

    Within the last few years, conversations about age and the knowledge gap in the industry have been prevalent. Young professionals are arriving and growing within corporate stairs. They have the ability to learn fast but lack technical know-how and skills. And they are seeking knowledge online—YouTube and Google are where they turn.

    By sharing your experience through educational content, how-to guidance, in-depth and easy explanations of technical concepts, etc., you will position your company as an industry expert and thought leader. Such a strong impression will linger in the memory of future executives, making them loyal to your brand. When the time comes to select a product or technology you are an expert in, they will come to you—that’s just simple psychology. Sharing your Book of Knowledge benefits your own company and the industry as a whole. It can be used not only by potential clients but also by your internal personnel as well. A great example might be SLB Glossary.

    Plus, making educational content that provides fun as well as the value can increase the odds of going viral, giving you an opportunity to reach more eyeballs with minimal advertisement investment. And don’t forget that such valuable “evergreen” content can be used for presentations at industry events, publishing in online and print news channels, and more.

  8. Work, play, and learn together.

    Bring together, like-minded customers and partners. Build a community around your brand and product.

    Select a cause, topic, or activity, and bring people together! Organize 5K runs for a cause, trivia nights, golf tournaments, or 101 educational series—such activities unite groups and bring about stronger relationships. You can selectively and strategically choose whom to invite based on your interests and needs, ensuring every stakeholder benefits from the time and effort. Plus, the unhealthy type of “happy hour” is just not on trend anymore.

  9. Join industry organizations and associations.

    By joining established industry organizations and associations, you will not only increase your brand awareness and value but also contribute your knowledge and skills, stay on top of what’s going on, and influence far-reaching decisions. You will be building meaningful partnerships and collaborations as well as purposefully and strategically networking. You will be able to advance industry-shaping conversations. As the saying goes, if you found out about it in a press release, the most lucrative opportunity already passed you by. Plus, when it comes to ranking your website on Google, .org extensions make a huge difference.

  10. Be the change.

    Share your company’s impact on the community and world it operates in while building stronger relationships with your partners and clients.

    I haven't visited a single OEM or service company that doesn't support local community foundations, causes, and initiatives. Philanthropy is in the blood of every industry member. They do it all: golf or other sports fundraisers for families in need, donations toward non-profit organizations supporting disabled kids, and gathering contributions during hunting or fishing tours to support engineering schools in growing the next generation of industry professionals. Look at all efforts David Reid with NOV does, RedM movement is growing with the growing change for the human traffic victims.

    Sharing your time, energy, and stories will change the overall picture of the O&G industry in the public’s eyes. It might even help you close a deal or two because—let's keep it real—b2b business decisions are made by people, and we all prefer to work with those who have interests and worldviews similar to ours.

    Those are just a few reasons marketing and advertising are so critically important nowadays, for every company. In specific cases, the list may be different, longer, or shorter—but let’s accept the fact that without marketing and advertising, long-term survival is no longer possible.

By Onega Ulanova, OKGlobal

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