U.S. Steel Division Picks RTC Relationship Marketing

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Straightline Source, a distribution division of United States Steel Corp., named RTC Relationship Marketing, Washington, its relationship marketing agency of record.

The agency will help Straightline acquire customers and retain clients for company offerings including StraightEdge, an online service that streamlines steel procurement.

"We're actually trying to solicit people to contact Straightline for a steel contract," said Adriano DeCardenas, executive vice president of client services at RTC.

Straightline joins RTC's roster of clients like Schering-Plough, Nasdaq, Hughes Network Systems, FedEx and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. RTC is part of British agency holding company WPP Group PLC.

Based in Pittsburgh, Straightline distributes carbon flat-rolled steel to companies that typically do not buy steel goods directly from producers. Its StraightEdge online service allows forecast uploads, contract viewing, filing, inventory and forecast reports, contract releases and order status.

RTC will use self-mailers, collateral, e-mail and telemarketing to target procurement managers in mid-level companies using steel in their products. Industry segments targeted include auto parts, casket makers, construction materials, tool making and appliances.

"Procurement guys live and die by their shipping deadlines, so their steel has to be there to make sure the manufacturing process is not delayed," DeCardenas said. "Cost of goods is only part of it, and it's really about how you manage your supply chain."

Besides lead generation, tactics will aim to surround prospects with a consistent brand voice and build awareness to sway them.

"Steel's an old profession, so there's a lot of relationships that have been established," DeCardenas said, "and our challenge is to reach these people and get them to respond. They're playing with a lot of deep relationships. The value that Straightline brings to customers is better optimization of their supply chain process."

A separate agency is running print ads for Straightline.

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