Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Vortex Tools shares why search engine optimization (SEO) and other e-marketing shortcuts largely don’t apply to the oil and gas industry.

I spoke with a marketing group recently. Given that’s my role in this organization, I have at least three good ideas as to what works and what doesn’t, but hey, you never stop learning.

Anyway, this marketing group focused on search engine optimization. Basically it’s a way to increase your presence all over this here internet, so that when people type in anything minutely related to what you do, your company pops up in search engine results sooner rather than later. There are a number of ways to do this. Most involve time and/or money and only last as long as you keep investing time and/or money at a rate comparable to your competition.

These tactics include paying off search engines, abusing social media, and quickly writing several 200-word articles that basically all say the same thing about your company (without copying and pasting) and then placing them on dozens of sites that link back to your homepage. You can also go the longer route by writing scintillating original content (read: this here blog) that covers a broad topic while occasionally (overtly) promoting your company. If you happen to hit a popularity wave, said scintillating original content will become rip-off fodder for all those 200-word articles populating a search engine in some other company’s favor.

(Sadly, citing any term that can be remotely connected to porn also helps.)

I kid you not, this popped up when I searched for 'marketing'

I kid you not, this popped up when I searched for ‘marketing’

Really the goal is to have a bunch of arrows all over the internet pointing back to your product. As a result, larger companies do all the above while smaller companies flail the marketing work out of an unpaid intern, hire someone who can wear many additional hats, or give a marketing group just enough funds to put in some work that will keep you up to speed for three-to-six more months (or less, when search engines wise up on their criteria).

This marketing style works for a number of industries, but not oil and gas. I got to explain this in my response to the marketing group representative:

“I get the value of marketing and all that, but you need to understand something: The oil and gas industry is not about cutting edge tech. They’re largely using technologies from 50+ years ago—so it takes a long time to get technologies widely accepted here. With this in mind, I don’t think the CEOs and CFOs of large, multi-billion dollar oil and gas companies are going to make a decision based on what’s trending on Twitter this week. I say this because they’re the types of people I’d be willing to pay an outside group to help me get an in with.

“Even with smaller, independent oil and gas companies, drilling a well is very expensive. It’s an $8 million hole in the ground or a $30 million rig on the water if you’re going offshore, so again, I don’t think they’re going to be influenced much by what’s on page one of Google.”

Not surprisingly, our conversation didn’t go much longer, but if you happen to be on Twitter, I’m forced to cap my grievances at 140 characters here (@vortextools).

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home), industrial water purification (biofilm removal), and reduced water pumping costs.

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, dairy waste, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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SpiroFlo explores why it’s always 4 out of 5 experts who agree on anything and how that magical number often winds up being true, even when you wish it wasn’t.

Oh, 4 out of 5 experts, you can’t recommend every product, can you? Let’s look at some of the ways marketing sometimes skews that number:

1. The Statement is Dishonest

Oh, fifth dentist, have you no heart?

Take a marketing statement that’s been explored a little: 4 out of 5 dentists recommend sugar-free gum.

Turns out there was actually the added caveat of, If your patients insist on chewing gum, which type of gum would you recommend? That’s not the same as recommending the product with no strings attached. Now regardless of whether this fifth dentist is the kind of candy Scrooge who hands out toothbrushes on Halloween and dental floss at Christmas, even when they phrased the question in a way that was likely to win over sugar-laden gum, this fifth dentist still wouldn’t recommend their sugar-free product. Which brings us to our next point:

2. Someone Always Agrees / Disagrees With You

I’ve heard it said that when it comes to dealing with large groups, barring an extreme option, 20% of people will always support you. Likewise, 20% of people will go against anything, too, so you’re really only trying to sway 60% of the room. Here’s where my amazing math skills come into play: That 1 out of 5 who disagrees — yup, there’s your 20% right there.

3. They Literally Asked Five Experts

The old infomercial statement was “9 out of 10 doctors agree…” but apparently that number became too risky.

Things is, whether it’s 4 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 experts, you would hope they asked hundreds or thousands of experts (enough to get a meaningful consensus) so that the statistic actually equates to an 80-90% approval rating, but those numbers are really difficult to attain, so much so, that 70% is an overwhelming majority. I mean, you tell me: When was the last time 70% of congress agreed on anything?  As a result, sometimes marketing groups use less data points to imply a much stronger statement.

4. Nobody Believes 100% of People Like Your Product

Even with the above points, I think this one is a gimme: You can’t please everyone all the time, so in a sense, people inherently know that a 100% approval rating is bogus. With 4 out of 5 though, there may be a myriad of reasons for those rare detractors (or one detractor if you went with a mere five experts).

I feel bad for the poor guy bestowed with the rare grace of 100% of people enjoying his product, because he probably has to adjust his statistics for the worse to be believable. Additionally, even if it’s not based on opinion — it’s just something that works or does not work — nothing can work all the time in all situations. Which brings us to our final point:

5. Sometimes It’s Actually Just What It Is

SpiroFlo received a grant from the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office to test its water saving device in homes around the Denver Metro Area. After getting 100 SpiroFlo devices for installation — man, we should’ve gone with five: would’ve been quicker, cheaper and easier — and spending seven months on the project, we got our results. Although every home received up to a 5% water volume savings on every hot water outlet, 78% received hot water an average of 35% faster at their shower. One install received hot water 67% faster with SpiroFlo, but it was an anomaly and thrown out as a data point.

Of course, 78% isn’t a pretty number, even if it’s statistically impressive. 78% is good enough for an average grade in school and maybe it’s that marketing groups have hiked up expectations or that people expect too much (see any star rating system where anything less than 100% is often considered majorly flawed), but yup, now SpiroFlo gets to say it, too: 4 out of 5 households will receive a faster, more efficient shower from the SpiroFlo device. Who cares if every housing unit in the U.S. had a SpiroFlo device, the total amount of water conserved in a year would be over 500 billion gallons (and that’s before the electrical savings from not heating as much water)?

I hate marketing sometimes.


Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with a 3.5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) 

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