Webcast Launches BTB Chemical Site

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OneChem.com hopes it can use term contracting and spot-market purchasing services to stand out among the more than 50 companies crowding the chemical industry's business-to-business market.


The dot-com start-up deployed a live Webcast of a press conference in Miami to promote the recent launch of its new Web site, which will act as an online trading block for the chemical industry.


A year of planning and development among 135 chemical industry professionals with business connections in more than 50 countries led to last month's Webcast and the debut of OneChem.


Company officials chose Webcasting as a tool for promoting the venture because "It seemed kind of silly to use a traditional press conference" to promote a dot-com, said Bill Buie, vice president of marketing at OneChem, Ridgefield, CT.


OneChem's sales representatives were given the Webcast's URL and were urged to convince their customers to hear and see testimonials from officials at bricks-and-mortar giants Koch Chemical and Vulcan Chemical.


Buie thinks most companies in the chemical industry have not taken full advantage of the Internet. The live, interactive Webcast "gave us the ability to field questions via e-mail from the live audience," he said.


The content used in the Webcast is still available for viewing at OneChem, and customers can call in to the company with questions after viewing the taped conference.


The Webcast was used as a tool to market the company to the media. A media alert was put out on the Internet, and company promoters pitched the Webcast to others via targeted e-mails, faxes and phone calls. An estimated 30 percent of those targeted registered to view the Webcast. OneChem had hoped for 50 viewers and got nearly 90, including members of the media, competitors and potential customers. Completed registration forms will serve as the beginning of OneChem's customer database.


But NCH Corp. purchasing manager Randy Clayton, who has been in the industry for 18 years, said it appears OneChem is operating on the same model that guides online chemical portals such as ChemConnect and FobChemicals.com.


Term contracting and buying on spot market "are not anything new or different in my mind," Clayton said.


Buie said the company is not funded by or aligned with any chemical companies. It provides neutral, industry-specific services that enable online and unbiased transactions for buyers and sellers alike.


In order to market itself and increase its credibility, OneChem will allow customers to profile themselves. Customers will be asked their topics of interest, and OneChem will e-mail them information pertaining to their specific profiles. The company will archive customer case histories.


OneChem is planning two more Webcasts this year. Press conferences are scheduled in September to emphasize the European chemical industry and in November, in Tokyo or Singapore, to address the Asian chemical industry, Buie said.


OneChem has already begun uploading data and creating e-commerce storefronts for chemical distributors. The site began handling transactions last week.
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