What is your approach to marketing for your oil company? Do you:
- Concern yourself more with the budget than the desired impact?
- Rely on the same “tried and true” strategies year after year?
- Focus on only one or two marketing channels?
- All, some, or none of the above?
Whether your company falls into the oil production, transportation and storage, or refining and marketing segments of the oil industry, your business needs a solid, well-thought-out marketing plan to capture target audiences and achieve growth.
Marketing for any company demands creativity, flexibility, strategizing, and re-strategizing to gain the attention of both direct and indirect markets. For oil and gas companies, specifically, it’s crucial to create the right strategies and tactics to stand out in the appropriate industry sector, raise brand awareness, and increase conversions.
And doing all of these relies on a solid marketing plan.
How to Create a Strong Marketing Plan
The best way to create a successful marketing plan is to first get into the specifics. Why are you making this plan? Who does this plan apply to? What does this plan entail? How will you achieve the plan? With what will you achieve the plan?
To help guide plan creation, you need a detailed outline. The outline should serve as the bones, or the structural foundation that enables you to build a plan that will stand. If your outline is too general or generic, your plan is likely to either turn out too weak or too likely to fall apart. If your outline is more granular and specific, you will be better prepared to create and carry out a more fleshed-out, effective plan.
A marketing plan outline should consist of a few important elements, including:
Your Business’s Summary
Your business summary is, well, a summary of your business. It’s the details you use to tell people about who you are and why you exist. What is your name and location? Who do you serve? Why do you serve them? What is your mission and your vision? Your business summary should answer all of these questions so that anyone looking at the plan can understand your company quickly and thoroughly.
Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
An effective outline includes honest analysis regarding the areas where you are succeeding currently and where you can improve. Formally known as a SWOT analysis, this reflective exercise helps clarify your company’s strengths and weaknesses, and it details areas of opportunity you can take advantage of and the threats that may get in the way.
By being honest about all four issues, you can create and execute even stronger, more specific strategies in your plan.
Your Marketing Goals
A plan is all but functional if it’s not trying to achieve a goal. Your marketing plan’s outline should include the goals you want to accomplish during your campaign or series of campaigns. These should neither be nor include your company’s big-picture goals, but they should reflect and support the efforts needed to achieve your big-picture goals.
For example, let’s say you are a fuel and oil marketer, and your 3-year goal is to open five new fueling stations. Your marketing goals may be to:
- Increase brand awareness among drivers in each of the five locations
- Increase social media engagement, specifically on Facebook and LinkedIn
- Improve website ranking on both Google and Bing
- Appear more in local searches
A SMART Tip for Your Marketing Goals
When you think through your goals, shape them using the SMART method:
S – Specific
Your goal should be specific to eliminate ambiguity or misunderstandings. For instance, a goal to “increase engagement on social media” could mean anything from getting an average of 5 more likes per post to increasing your follower count by 100,000. And it could mean that you want to increase engagement on all your accounts or specifically on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or any other platform.
A specific goal instead would be something like “a 30% increase in page likes on Facebook.”
M – Measurable
When you can clearly measure your progress, you can see if your strategies are working or not to achieve the goals you have set. Looking again at the example goal of “increasing engagement on social media,” we see that this particular goal is not measurable. However, when we made it specific, it became measurable. Let’s say your Facebook page currently has 500 page likes. A 30% increase means you will rise to 650, a quantifiable number you can track.
A – Attainable
It’s essential to set goals that you know you can achieve. That’s not to say your goals should be easy or weakened, but they should be attainable. For many companies, it’s a bit outrageous to aim to increase like counts by 100,000 in one campaign or strategy. However, if you only get a few page likes here and there on Facebook, an effort to increase that number by 30% is an attainable goal. And it’s one that you can keep setting and achieving if you do eventually intend on reaching 100,000.
R – Relevant
Is your goal in line with your business’s big-picture goals? Returning to the example of wanting to open five new fueling stations, the marketing goal should be relevant to that mission. Establishing a marketing goal that targets customers outside those five locations would not be relevant or practical to the big picture.
T – Timely
So many people create goals without a defined end date, but deadlines are a crucial part of a SMART goal. Without a deadline, your team will have a hard time measuring whether the goal is on or off track. Plus, a lack of a deadline opens the door to your team applying little to no effort toward the goal while saying, “We have time” or “We can reach it eventually.” Having a definite end point to the goal helps ensure that it stays on track, and it helps measure the success or failure of the efforts made to achieve the goal.
Again, let’s say you want to increase your like count on Facebook by 30%. You have 500 likes currently, and let’s also say you get an average increase of five likes each month. A 30% increase means 150 new likes, which will be organically achieved within 30 months at your current rate. But, with the right strategies and tactics, you want to achieve that increase within six months.
So now, your goal is to increase like counts on Facebook by 30% in six months. Congrats! Your team now has a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goal to work toward.
You have your business and marketing goals. Now, you need to choose the strategies that will ensure you move toward the finish line with strength and success. Using the example of wanting to improve brand awareness, social media engagement, and local search performance as you move toward opening your five new locations, your strategies can include:
- Direct mail campaigns (brand awareness)
- Geofencing (Brand awareness)
- Social media ad campaigns (brand awareness and social media engagement)
- Search engine marketing campaigns (brand awareness and local search performance)
- Search engine optimization (local search performance)
- Video ad campaigns (brand awareness and social media engagement)
- Press releases (brand awareness)
This list of options is certainly not exhaustive. There are numerous strategies to consider that can work toward achieving your marketing goals.
Marketing budgets can be challenging to set. Your plans and strategies should be flexible and allow for re-strategizing and pivoting whenever necessary. The smartest move is to choose the tactics you would like to pursue to achieve your goals and make note of the estimated cost of each tactic. This will help you zero in on what is most effective and most in line with what you can allocate to your marketing efforts.
Ready to build a successful marketing plan for your oil company? Partner with M&R Marketing!
Our team has helped oil companies across the US with marketing plans, strategies, and campaigns. Our business development managers understand the importance of a well-designed marketing plan, and our digital strategists, web developers, graphic designers, copywriters, and project managers are keenly versed in the tactics available to execute your plan and achieve successful outcomes.
If it’s time to create or rethink your company’s marketing plan, contact one of our business development managers today!
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