May 20, 2013

Offshore Technology Conference - Ready to Embrace Digital Marketing?

Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) took place earlier this month in Houston. Having been to a number of conferences around the world, it was a pleasant reminder that they do things a bit differently in Texas. Big is an understatement.

Organizers said 104,800 people attended the four-day show at Reliant Stadium to bump elbows with the best and most innovative companies in the energy industry (particularly offshore). The focus being the cutting edge technologies and practices that improve safety, production and efficiency.

Some of these companies have really begun to embrace digital strategies and creative designs...after all this is how these brands are most likely to garner the attention of future clients and generate the necessary buzz about their innovations. 

National Oilwell Varco
National Oilwell Varco (NOV) took an interesting approach. They created an old fashioned cinema feel. This generated quite a crowd, but it was a bit more difficult to navigate where the proper section of the business you were looking for.

Halliburton had one of the most interesting booths considering their use of digital marketing. Most of the informational side of the booth was pretty standard, the theatre, the layout, the people were nice. But it was the photobooth and OTC challenge which I found to be quite innovative.

They included a photo booth where you could take a picture with a hard hat and the backdrop of a rig and then could share it via email, Facebook, and Twitter. Great way to share the buzz about their brand.

FMC Technologies
FMC Technologies had a spectacular wall display. The entire wall (probably 15 feet across) was transformed into a giant iPad. Through touching the screen, you could explore the different technologies FMC has developed. Visitors could manipulate the new tools, twist them, look inside and expand a description to find out more information about a product. They also had a beautiful theatre on the opposite side, almost like a bubble or dome of FMC heaven.

Rigzone had cleverly attached a poker chip with the OTC informational packet and at their booth was a line of 24 people waiting to trade their chip for a chance at their slot machine. One lucky winner would receive a Harley Davidson bike, but for the rest of us we got an option of a koozie, sticker or pen.
In summary, in an age where digital branding is such a defining factor to a company, ignoring opportunities to use engaging tactics is missed opportunity in so many ways. For collaboration, for product improvement, for showing your clients/consumers that you listen to and support them, for showcasing partners and enhancing both their reputation and your own. So why not take the opportunity to:
  • Expand your brands reach to the colleagues back at the office through social sharing with a promotional campaign like Halliburton's photo booth
  • Create a buzz within your industry by using a hashtag, game, or a great display
  • Take advantage of direct feedback through social media and use this along with the metrics to sharpen your approach for the following year
  • Give a 'shout out' to businesses you are interested in doing business with. They will appreciate the personal touch.
Companies that are in heavily regulated industries like oil and gas do however face more challenges. The partnerships that have to happen in the organization to start digital / social media initiatives and keep them flowing are extraordinary. The people in these organizations who keep sharing their passion and their knowledge to get others on board, I tip my hat to. It can be a long road, but worthwhile for those who are ready to lead the movement.


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