If anyone has worked offshore, or on any oilfield location, you know one thing: word of mouth is how news gets around, and if someone needs something they don't google it.
In many industries SEO's (Search Engine Optimization) are intricate in how companies attract potential customers and advertise their product. Marketing companies are created with this entire goal insight. To the majority of industries Google is their source of word of mouth. Think about the last time you looked for a hotel, restaurant, the best Thai food in your area, best camera to buy, or "things to do" in an area you are about to travel to. That's because for the vast amount of industries: companies rely on the population to be their customers.
This just isn't true in our industry. Sure there are the random services, or times you were stuck when you had to turn to Google, but I can imagine that you've done the majority of your research based on word of mouth. I remember working offshore some buddies and me would conduct an experiment and bring up a wild rumor in the sack room, then time it to see how long it took to get up to the rig floor. Not surprisingly it was quick as hell! Another thing I've learned during my time in the industry is that if there is a "rumor" in the field about something, chances are there is some truth to it. From company acquisitions, to people leaving their job, taking new jobs, to new companies formations: the field knows.
This is such a perfect example of how our industry works and why I truly love it: our industry loves to talk, our industry loves to meet people and build relationships with people, our industry is a very trusting industry where rumors can spread, word of mouth is more accurate and timely than a Google search.
I try and think if there was a situation where an engineer (a customer) would have an issue their directional drilling company (that never happens, but using it as an example), be displeased, run them off, then sit there and get behind the computer and do a search of "best directional companies for West Texs" then get the response of "did you mean best directional companies for West TEXAS", and select the company based off of the search. I would argue that if an engineer would do that, they wouldn't be a very strong engineer and has areas of improvement. But because our industry is based off of relationships when services are called, that engineer would pick up the phone and have another one lined up (and not use Google).
Our industry is a bubble. The luxury of being in a bubble is that if you need to find another service or find out about how a company operates, if they pay their vendors, etc. you do what our industry has always done: you utilize your network and ask around. You don't go to a search engine and type in what you are looking for.
How often does our industry outsource their marketing to firms who promise to strengthen their SEO's or do targeted ads. I'm not saying those aren't important, and/or valuable tools in the marketing box. But many times marketing firms that don't have the pulse of the industry just don't understand our industry and how it works. I've even seen some content for a wireline company with a pump jack on it, or a refinery picture when it was a project engineering company.
Relationships matter in our industry, our networks matter in our industry, having a presence matters in our industry.
But one thing I'm sure of: our industry doesn't google.