The Secret to Winning in Unsettled Times!

review your marketing to be a winner

Want to know how to win in unsettled times?

Yesterday marked the transition of the Canadian Government. Our Prime Minister of just under 10 years officially resigned his position and the new Prime Minister, along with his Cabinet, were sworn in.  Of course, until Parliament convenes, the new Throne Speech is read, we are left wondering what this Liberal government means to our businesses and our economy.

There are still many of folks in the oil and gas industry who remember the devastating effects of the policies enacted by Trudeau the elder, especially the NEP from 1980 – 1985. We can only hope that Trudeau the younger understands that we exist in a global economy, and as such we must participate in a way that is economically viable and progressive for the country.  The stated positions by the Liberals on the oil and gas industry and the new trade deal throughout the election were very broad, allowing much wiggle room should they win. Aside from stating that they would launch an immediate review of Canada’s regulatory process for oil and gas projects, they mostly made generic statements that they support various pipeline projects and the need for infrastructure. However, how they support this remains to be seen.  As for the new TPP, the only comment made by the Liberal leader was that they were pro-trade. Read more

No, The Sky Is Not Falling! 5 Marketing Tips For Slow Times

marketing tips for slow times

What? Me worry?

Ok, I know the economic climate has changed out there. I know that oil prices are still low, companies are cutting back on their operating budgets, and people have been laid off.

But I refuse to take the “Chicken Little” approach.

Anyone who has been in business knows that there are economic cycles to every industry from time to time. So what I am suggesting is that this, too, shall pass.

Instead of focusing on the slower economic growth, look instead at the opportunities that this cycle can provide.

One of the first things that businesses seem to cut when revenues are tight is their marketing. Yes, you’ve heard it before, but it is the truth; when times are tough, you must keep marketing your products and services. You may have to adjust, you may have to adapt, but you must keep marketing.

Here are some tips to help you weather this current price slump and position you to do even better once prices recover:

1. Work on your client relationships. How strong are your relationships with your current clients? We all know that people prefer to do business with others who they like, know and trust. Are you that person to your clients? Have you developed a strong rapport with them? If so, you are already ahead of the game. If not, it’s time to take a look at how you build relationships now and for the future.

2. Become more visible. Don’t hide in your office waiting for prices to rebound. Your clients and prospects just might forget about you. Be sure to keep in touch with them and attend networking events. Stay visible!

3. Communicate in ways that allow you to capture business in the easiest way. Consider more email marketing to your existing clients and prospects. Be sure that your content is well written, and you may wish to present a compelling offer to those most loyal to your business.

4. Get noticed for free. Marketing does not have to cost money, although you do have to commit to spending some time. Do you use social media? Find out which online forums, message boards and blogs are relevant to your business and consider joining the discussions. You can also consider using social media methods such as video blogs, and social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Use these online methods to encourage conversation about you and your business, and showcase your products.

5. Finally, don’t believe everything you hear. Back to my original comment; don’t focus on the negative media attention. Lots of analysts have predicted terrible things, not just during this downturn, but over the course of many economic cycles, and few ever turn out as bad as predicted. How you look at things will play a huge role in how you weather this storm. True, it can be difficult to stay positive, but it is essential to stay focused on your goals.

One thing you can be sure of, the economy will continue to have its cycles. While business may be more challenging right now, stay focused, work smarter, and above all – keep marketing!

A variation of this article was originally published in the Oilfield Pulse Newsletter in February 2015.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

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Orange Is The New Blue???

Oil after the election

Huge political upset in Alberta – what does it mean for you?

By the time this article is published, the huge political upset in Alberta will be over a week old. No one forecast this outcome, least of all the governing Tories who allowed arrogance and their sense of entitlement to call an election more than a year before it was required. This decision has cost Albertans in many ways; first, for the election itself; secondly, for an immediate by-election that will now have to take place, since the former leader of the PC’s decided to take his marbles and go home after the stunning defeat; and thirdly, the cost (potentially) to the province economically, depending on what the new government decides to legislate over the course of the next 4 years.

The Premier-designate has stated publicly that she does not intend to bring sweeping changes to how things are done, and that she will work ‘collaboratively and in partnership’ with our oil industry. As one analyst stated, surely this Party will not be so foolish as to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Read more

It’s Déjà vu all over again!

oil boom and bust cycle

So says Yogi Berra!

Yogi Berra, a former American baseball player and member of Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame, is well known for his many malapropisms. Even those of us who are too young to have heard them when they first left his lips are familiar with many of these memorable phrases.

And this one is certainly applicable to the cycles of boom and bust in the oil industry.

People are kind of funny; we seem to have a very limited memory of some less-than-pleasant events in our lives, which is probably a good thing. When times are good and things are moving forward, we all get caught up in the momentum and roll with it, never knowing how long it will last but enjoying the ride.

But just like every industry, there comes a time when things cool down. Basic economic theory teaches us that economies can’t exist in an environment of uncontrolled and unending growth. Every economy and every industry will go through a cycle of contraction and control.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. It gives those involved in the industry a chance to catch their breath, regroup and plan for the future.

Those who fear the contraction the most tend to be those who are the least prepared. These are the folks who have overextended themselves and have lost equity, and thus, value, in their business.

Others, who have grown in a more measured fashion are better prepared to weather the storm and come out of it in a position to benefit from the deals that will inevitably appear.

So how do you make sure that you are a survivor? And how do you position yourself to take advantage of the surfacing opportunities?

The following 5 tips will help guide you in the right direction.

1. Take stock of what you have. This includes people, materials, equipment, etc. Are you utilizing all of your assets to their full extent?

2. Continue networking with others in your field. Perhaps there are some items that are bogging you down in your business that you can trade or sell to others who generally need the same items as you do.

3. Do NOT stop marketing. Many businesses fall into the unfortunate trap of pulling back on their marketing efforts when things get tough. Marketing is seen to be an ‘optional’ spending area. But if you stop marketing, you disappear from view and have to pick up from ground zero when the economy improves. Rather than stopping marketing, make more judicious choices, ensuring that you are getting the most out of your reduced marketing budget. This is likely a good time to look at hiring the expertise of a marketing professional who can point you in the right direction.

4. Look for opportunities to create allegiances with others who provide complementary services. Word of mouth is, and always will be, a huge factor in obtaining business, since there is already a built-in element of trust. Strong allegiances can help ensure that you are getting business that would likely otherwise go to someone else.

5. Stop listening to every analyst and economist offering their two-cents worth on what’s happening. Or at least, take it with a grain of salt. Just a couple of months ago, scores of economists were forecasting a price per barrel free-fall to less than $30 per barrel; in some cases, even as low as $20 per barrel. Well, that didn’t happen, did it? And although we would all like a higher price than we are currently dealing with, relatively stability in the range of $50 is better than what they forecast.

We also all know that it is just a matter of time until this correction has run its course, the political obstacles are behind us, and the industry once again is sailing along. While we are waiting for this to happen, hold your head high, evaluate where you have been and where you want to be when the dust settles, and make sure you are marketing your business so you will be in a position to capitalize on the opportunities when they arise!

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

This article was published in the April 2015 issue of the Oilfield Pulse Newsletter.

If you like the information you are receiving, please consider forwarding this post.