I can already hear you, “Of course NOV owns OTC 2016 Houston. They’re a $23 billion company.”
For as long as I’ve known him, Mark LaCour has stressed the importance of attending NOV’s Annual Shrimp Boil. He often talks about the quality connections you can make, and he’s not wrong.
There is no shortage of heavy hitters in the room.
But the quality connections you can make are just one of myriad reasons NOV dominates OTC 2016 Houston — and every year. Let’s dig into some of those reasons, and see what you can do to prepare for next year.
OTC 2016 Houston: Free Beer! Free Food!
You see the beer tent. You see the food trucks. You see a massive stream of people grabbing plenty of food and beer.
Your natural first thought is, “We can’t afford a kegger!”
Again, fair objection. You probably don’t have the budget for an event of this magnitude. Tribe Rocket Inc. is doing well, but we certainly don’t have the budget to serve up a gallons of party liquor and waffles!
But you don’t have to have truck loads of money to capitalize on one of the 10 largest trade shows in the world.
Leverage Offsite Events
If you’ve listened even once, you have experienced my expertise and Tribe Rocket Inc.’s sweet spot; building and monetizing audiences.
Digital marketing provides leverage. In the real world, you can only talk to one person at a time. Online you can talk to thousands of people at once. It’s scaled relationship-building at its finest.
But when everyone in your industry comes to Houston, you would be a damn fool to not maximize every offline opportunity.
Here is how it’s done for any size company in four simple steps.
Get a Relevant Speaker: Find an expert speaker who compliments the products and services you offer. If you have the budget, it never hurts to pay for name recognition. If you have limited budget, focus on quality content.
This is the oil industry. Engineers, geologists, geophysicists, and other technical professionals will listen to and respect an intelligent person they’ve never heard of over a big name who doesn’t have a clue every day.
Find a Convenient Location: NOV makes the Shrimp Boil outrageously easy to attend. Its hosted at their Holmes Road Facility, just 2.7 miles from NRG Park. You can drive there or you can jump on one of the shuttles they provide from OTC. When you arrive, there is no rugged interrogation. You’re given a wrist band and sent on your way.
When it’s time to choose your location, make is stupid simple. If this is your first time attending OTC, you might look at the surrounding neighborhoods and assume there aren’t any great restaurants nearby to host a smaller event.
But Tribe Rocket Inc. is headquartered in the Museum District, 3.3 miles from NRG Park. The Museum District is home to countless venues that would impress any attendee. Likewise, the Hospital District and Rice University are just up the street. These neighborhoods offer plenty of spots worthy of hosting industry events.
As a side note, if you need groceries and other provisions while you’re here, the Fiesta Mart I shop at is 0.4 miles from OTC.
Invite Qualified Clients and Prospects: This is where NOV truly shines. Employees invite all of their clients and prospects leading up to OTC. This ensures attendees are highly qualified leads that can turn into strong revenue generating opportunities.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel in sales and marketing. Anything that’s good enough for NOV is good enough for your business. Fill your room with leaders who have purchase authority, and do likewise gents.
Synchronize Swatches: I toured NOV’s rig. I talked to several product owners. I got a personalized tour of NOV’s mobile training facility. The team running the beer tent may or may not have gotten tired of me grabbing water bottles by the handful. I’m just a guy with a podcast a handful of attendees have listened to. That didn’t stop the crew from treating me with the same enthusiasm and respect they would give to an ExxonMobil executive.
Over-prepare your team for your event. Get everyone on the same page. Respect is everything. The truth is people aren’t attending your event for free. They could be hundreds of other places at OTC, but they are spending the morning or afternoon with you. Be sure your team makes every attendee feel appreciated.
Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you can’t get more time. – Mr. Jim Rohn
Since we’re discussing a scaled-down version of an offsite event, we’ve got to talk numbers. Again, you don’t need hundreds (or thousands) of people in attendance. When you’re hosting a smaller event, it’s a good idea to keep it small.
In Mark LaCour’s experience, 25 to 50 is optimal. If you don’t have the staff to compensate, more than a hundred can quickly become a circus. Scale your offsite event appropriately.
Like many things in business, I learned this strategy from Mark.
A special tip o’ the NOV trucker hat to him for allowing me to give away this $30,000 strategy for free!
Great Selling is Great Teaching
Once you fill the room, DO NOT SELL.
NOV’s Shrimp Boil is purely educational, and pure brilliance. The sales team isn’t allowed to sell at the event. That seems counterintuitive. Especially in the deal-centric oil industry.
This is yet another fantastic tactic. They create a space where clients and prospects can come to learn about NOV’s offerings in freedom. They don’t have to worry about salespeople doing discovery calls when they start asking questions.
Instead, every station is staffed by a product owner who knows the product inside and out. They might have even made the first version of the product, as was the case when I was learning about NOV’s blowout preventer.
(I am aware this is not a BOP)
In choosing education over selling, NOV creates the perfect environment to foster trust with their tribe. The company thoroughly understands the truth behind the old sales axiom, “People buy from who they like and trust.”
Capitalize on Real Time Communication
And now for the really fun stuff!
You might be hosting an offline event, but that doesn’t mean you get to drop the ball on the digital side. NOV had its #NOVatOTC hashtag EVERYWHERE.
It was most prominent where they were giving away free branded sunglasses … Coincidence?
Nope! More genius at work.
Like it or not, selfies have gone mainstream. They’re not just for Ellen and Millennials anymore. I saw people of all ages snapping selfies throughout the event.
NOV knew this was gonna go down, and they provided an event hashtag to capitalize on their reach. As soon as I saw it, I jumped onboard.
But things got really good when I took to @triberocketinc and sent out a tweet about this forthcoming blog post.
Their social media team was monitoring the hashtag. They responded and retweeted the post within an hour.
As someone who has been fighting the good fight for digital marketing in oil and gas since I was a wee lad at Drillinginfo, this brings a tear to my eye!
This is another outstanding tactic to model for your events. Encourage attendees to use hashtags. Respond quickly to show your appreciation.
Take the time to engage with everyone who follows through and uses your hashtag. If you do it right, you could end up getting a blog written about your brand that’s read by thousands of people.
If that language is too “markety” and vague, think of it like this. When done right, your event can capture digital assets in the strongest producing acreage and bid blocks on the internet.
Keep the Conversation Going
We’re rounding the corner to the finish line. Once again, NOV show how it’s done.
Every water bottle was branded, but they didn’t stop there. They also added social media logos for every channel they have a presence, along with a “Connect with us:” call-to-action.
You don’t have to have branded water bottles, but here’s the thing; people won’t do what you don’t ask them to do. Invite your attendees to connect with you on social media.
Your goal isn’t only to build a list of qualified leads. It’s also to build an enthusiastic and highly-engaged audience that can drive traffic to your website. That traffic creates leads, and those leads create sales.
OTC 2016 Houston – Winning!
They say the proof is in the pudding. Every detail of this event proves NOV is a #brandthatgets it. But they don’t get it because they have money.
NOV get it because engagement and education is fully and fundamentally infused into its company culture.
You have a full year to prepare for OTC 2017. Will you be ready to dominate?
Model NOV’s execution and you too can OWN OTC!
Did you attend NOV’s Shrimp Boil? What were your greatest lessons learned, branding or otherwise? Please take a minute to leave your thoughts in the comments below!