What you should be doing when you are not at OTC

Posted by Andrew Bradshaw
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At this time of year, marketers in the oil and gas industry around the world are usually busy channelling all their attention into one activity – the annual Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas.

It’s recognised as the industry’s biggest show of the year, where the world comes together for four days to talk all things oil, showcase products from lavish stands (booths if you’re American), meet old friends, make some new ones and hopefully come back with a clutch of potential business accounts.

But not this year. For the first time since the initial event in 1969 there will be no show in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s a massive loss for the industry. OTC is the main event in the marketing and sales calendar for some.

For all those companies that had booked flights and accommodation and shipped presentation material over to Houston in advance of the organisers pulling the plug on this year’s show it’s a time of scanning insurance documents to see what can be recouped.

Marketers who had spent thousands booking stands, preparing campaigns and had show specific collateral all ready to go might be tempted to bin it and write off activity for the next couple of months. Don’t. Here are a few things you can do instead.

Make your social media work harder 

When you take away all the glitz and glamour, the concept of a trade show is as old as the hills. It’s where people come together face-to-face to sell and hopefully buy stuff. In that sense it’s like any local market anywhere in the world. But without that face-to-face contact you have to place much more reliance on your social media channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter and other online outlets such as targeted e-mail and media. Many companies nowadays already mix social media with the more traditional offline channels, but some are still behind the curve. Social is like the new hire in your sales team so make sure you get the most from it. Complex measurement and analytics platforms give you detailed information on how your social media activity performs and who engages with it. Social media can provide quality sales accounts for our clients to follow up. We know because we’ve seen it happen. We have more information on using social to sell here…

Create once use many

What you were going to say at the show remains valid. It’s just the medium you use to say it that’s altered. “Create once, use many” has been a Fifth Ring mantra for many years and it’s really a way to explain how to get multiple value out of one piece of content.

For example, say you’d been invited to deliver a technical paper at OTC. You might be able to repurpose whatever content you’d created to make a great article for one of the industry magazines. It could also be tweaked and trimmed down to a blog, or a section of it might make a case study, or, if you’re announcing a new product, a press release.

Using different channels

Say you were planning host a presentation on your stand. What do you do now? One solution could be to deliver the same content but in a virtual setting such as a webinar or a podcast. If done live, incorporating a comments box for written questions or breaking up the presentation with a listeners’ poll with multiple answers to a particular topic can help boost audience engagement. Posting the webinar or podcast on your website with links to it through social media is a way of attracting new followers and potentially new clients. E-mailing the link to your approved database will help maintain contact with existing customers.

If your presentation covers a number of topics you could create a short e-book. This allows you to explore different themes around one central idea and gives your audience time to digest them. Alternatively, if you’re trying to explain complex ideas simply, an infographic can be a great way of getting your point, or points, across in an easy to understand visual format.

Another way to get your presentation noticed is through using video. Brevity is the word here to keep your audience interested, but with video’s value established as an extremely impactful way of reaching target markets it can be a very important communication channel when used effectively. If you’re launching a new product, an animation showing how it works can make all the difference in audience understanding of your offering.

With the show off until next year and the oil price at a low level, we know the temptations to do nothing and maybe save some of your marketing budget will be strong. But this is the time when you need to be communicating most to maintain or win business.

Let’s talk about how we can help you get the most value for your business from your marketing budget. Contact us here

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