From thriving to surviving: How oil and gas companies can keep marketing alive in tough times
I live in Houston, Texas. And my city is hurting.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen the global price of oil take tumble after tumble. And when oil prices crash, projects get canceled, jobs get lost, budgets get lean … and marketing is usually one of the first departments to feel the pain. The analysts are telling us to settle in for the long haul, so marketers need to start looking at long-term strategies for marketing on a shoestring.
Therefore, at the request of my many marketing colleagues in the oil and gas industry, allow me to offer some helpful strategies for dealing with a slashed budget while still maintaining a solid online presence:
1. Revisit Your Audience
Audiences can morph and shift over time, and now is not the time to be wasting any effort. Some teams are operating on audience profiles that are a few years old — and that may be woefully out of date.
Revisit your audience analysis and make sure your efforts continue to be laser-focused on those folks who are potential customers. You may need to look at conducting some online surveys or pulling in your sales team for their input. If you notice any incongruities in the content you publish or the location where you publish it, make adjustments as needed.
2. Cut the Chaff
Give your analytics a good hard look and determine what’s working and what’s not. Remember, even “free” methods like social media are costing you in terms of your team members’ time and effort. For those practices that aren’t delivering the goods, you can do one of two things:
- Pull back. For example, if you’re posting every day on Facebook and not seeing results in terms of website traffic or conversions, consider pulling back to twice a week.
- Call a hiatus. Some practices you may need to just put “on hold” until things get better. If you choose this tactic, make sure to let your audiences know. Create a post stating that you’re putting your activity on hiatus for now, and tell followers where they can follow you for regular updates.
Example: “We’re putting our Facebook activity on hold for now; in the meantime, feel free to follow us on LinkedIn at [URL of your LinkedIn page].” Remember to pin the post to the top of your page so that it’s the first thing visitors see.
3. Be a Helpful Advisor
If yours is a B2B brand, your audience is dealing with the same challenging market that you are. Gather your team and come up with some ways that you can help customers deal with those challenges through your content.
Maybe it’s a blog post series on new technologies that can help reduce drilling costs. Or maybe it’s a daily tip on “doing more with less” that you share on social media. Or maybe it’s a podcast episode on how to keep morale high in the face of layoffs. If you can be a hero to your potential customers during their darkest hours, they’ll remember it for years to come.
4. Don’t Sacrifice Consistency
When resources get slashed, many content marketing practices get shoved down the priority list and reduced to “whenever we get around to it” status. Even if you do need to pull back on your activity, remember that consistency is one of the key reasons that content marketing helps build relationships (tweet this). A blog post once a month is better than none at all … but only if you’re publishing it consistently.
5. Get Creative
Remember the TV show MacGyver? The long-running 80s serial revolved around a secret agent who was an improvisational genius, able to devise intricate solutions using only the everyday items he had available. When marketing teams face tough times, we need to tap into our “inner MacGyvers” and get creative with what we have.
Gather your team for a brainstorming session and collaborate on how you can achieve your goals with the resources you have available today. To foster that MacGyver-esque spirit of innovation, some teams lay out Legos or Tinkertoys and encourage creative play during your session. Remember the rules of brainstorming, and get ready to innovate!
How is your team dealing with the need to keep marketing alive in today’s tough environment? Tell us in the comments — we’d love to hear from you!
About the Author
A self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please).
As Founder and CEO of Resonance, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and a sought-after speaker, having presented to many major business and marketing organizations. To learn more, download our complimentary audio 5 Things You Must Know About Content Marketing.
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