As we started on this project for an oilfield services company that sells drilling fluids, a younger account manager asked us how we could be so interested in something as dry and boring as the mud business.
In fact, this was a fascinating project trying to figure out how to sell what is perceived to be a commodity product at a premium price.
The engineers we spoke with were very logical. Detail and process focused, they saw differences before similarities. It was either exactly right or exactly wrong.
They also were personally invested in their wells, always tweaking their projects, trying to make them run better, faster, cheaper, smoother. This creates a tension between avoiding what could go wrong and missing an opportunity to do something better.
We identified two customer segments:
- One group wanted to set well records, they were risk accepting.
- The other group wanted to drill smart, they were risk minimizing. They described their best experiences as "no problem."
Understanding these emotional differences in how the very logical engineers made buying decisions allowed for a much more customized and effectve marketing and sales approach.
We also identified a specific segment of wells where the premium product had greater value and we identified a new premium service offering that could be used in the lower margin markets.