by Pete Cook, President, Petroleum Connection
You don’t have to look far to find bad news for those in upstream oil & gas. News on the oil downturn leads the news online, in print, and on the nightly news. All this dramatically impacts the attitude and outlook for the frac sand industry.
However, let’s put this into perspective. As in any industry adjustment, there are great opportunities for new industry leaders to emerge. And despite all the bad news, remember that the volume of frac sand and proppant to be used in 2016 will still be one of the highest on record. While it will be down compared to 2014 & 2015, there is still a lot of sand being mined, moved, and used.
With oil & gas industry margins shrinking, service companies are focusing on investing in technology, improving their supply chains, renegotiating contracts with suppliers and logistics consultants, and finding ways to get more petroleum for less money. This translates to great opportunities for those offering solutions…and the frac sand supply chain can play a big role here.
This is not the time for those in the frac sand industry to circle the wagons or drop off the radar! Now is the time for frac sand industry leaders to invest in marketing. Investing in marketing does not necessarily mean spending more money. It means marketing smarter, using earned media and social media, and getting in front of the industry with innovative solutions. Industry leaders and emerging companies should focus on opportunities for free or low-cost opportunities to increase visibility, build their brand, and network with industry leaders.
There are some very good articles out there on how great companies approach downturns. Great companies turn external threats into opportunities and aggressively positive themselves ahead of the competition during downturns. Industry leaders focus on their existing customers first and think long term.
Leaders with a long term outlook also recognize the unique opportunity to add previously-unavailable talent to their teams. With lay-offs and closings, there is a great opportunity to add individuals with knowledge, experience, and relationships in the industry. Adding industry leaders to your team during the slowdown is the type of move that can impact your business for decades to come.
So give some thought to opportunities opening up to you due to the industry slowdown, and then work on letting the industry know about the solutions you offer.
We feel the best way to get that message out to the industry (in addition to social media and earned media) is to attend, speak, and sponsor conferences.
Next blog post: Building a Business Case for Attending Conferences During an Industry Slowdown