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SpecialChem vs Prospector®: Which material selection platform is best for you?

Published September 6, 2021 | Written by Nicolas Dupond

SpecialChem and UL Prospector® are the leading platforms in the online material selection. Both have been around for 20+ years and offer digital marketing services to help material suppliers grow their business.

Sometimes, our prospective suppliers ask us “What are the differences between UL Prospector® and SpecialChem?

So, let me give you an honest comparison of the strengths, weaknesses and differences of each platform so that you can decide which one is best for you!


Prospector® vs SpecialChem: The similarities

SpecialChem and UL Prospector® are the 2 primary material selection platforms on the planet. They are both very popular, offer huge product databases to chemical buyers, and attract gigantic traffic on their respective platforms.

In terms of market reach, both SpecialChem and Prospector® offer platforms for the Plastics, Plastics Additives, Adhesives, Coatings and Cosmetics industries. Prospector® also covers some additional markets in Food, Home Care, Lubricants and Metals.

And last, SpecialChem and Prospector® both offer digital marketing services designed to help suppliers increase their awareness, influence their future buyers and engage new customers. Typical campaigns include Product Listing, Webinars, Promotions, Lead Generation and more…


SpecialChem and Prospector® offer a similar reach in the material selection space

SpecialChem vs Prospector comparison audience (1)-2


Prospector® vs SpecialChem: The differences

1 - Product databases

The biggest differentiation comes from the product databases themselves. UL Prospector® only lists products from suppliers that pay, whereas SpecialChem’s goal is to be the most comprehensive and complete database for technical buyers, so we list ALL the products from ALL suppliers. This is also the reason why suppliers can list their products for free on SpecialChem.


2 - Lead Generation

Both platforms provide a Lead Generation Listing so that you can receive the contact details of the technical buyers who visit your products and download your documents. Prospector® counts a lead as unique within 24h. At SpecialChem, we deduplicate your leads within 30 days. So, if you subscribed to a “package” of leads, a visitor who interacts on 2 consecutive days will be counted twice on Prospector®, but only once on SpecialChem.

For this reason, you may end up with a high volume of leads on Prospector® and lower on SpecialChem for de-duplicating.


3 - Lead scoring

Talking about leads, you may feel overloaded with dozens of leads to follow-up in a short amount of time. Trust me, this is the #1 issue that I hear from our clients – raw leads are work and it takes a lot of it to find the “diamond” projects within the volume of raw leads.

To avoid that, each platforms provides solutions to help you identify the hottest leads that hold the most business potential — we call them the marketing qualified leads.

Prospector® provides you an App called “Connect” where you can see all your leads and look at their activity on your products and documents. You can contact and group them by geography, product or more directly from the App. At SpecialChem, we try to eliminate manual effort of manually checking every lead. So, we implemented an Artificial Intelligence based lead scoring to help you save time and energy.

Our A.I. lets you filter out your 3-star leads and dispatch them to your sales teams for immediate follow-up. You can learn how does SpecialChem lead scoring work on that post.


4 - Client success management

And last difference, but not least, the client success management. Over the last years, we have noticed a huge need for suppliers to have our support in their digital marketing journey and to rely on a partner to implement the right digital strategy.

This is the reason why our first step before any decisions are made is a Growth Ability Profile (GAP) diagnostic. Based on your GAP score, we recommend only the program elements that fit your objective and resources — and include a dedicated Client Success Manager to write your promotions, optimize your content and share tips, best practices and advice to maximize your performances.

On the other side, Prospector® will implement the campaign that you bought. Period.


Which platform is a best fit for me?

Let’s play a little game. Imagine that 50% of your potential customers use Google, and 50% use Bing — it sounds weird I know, but just imagine — and ads are in the same price range. On which search engine will you buy ads to influence your buyers?

The answer - BOTH! The reason is simple: you go where your future customers are.

Well, this is the same logic with material selection platforms, or any other digital channel. To capture new customers, you must be present where your technical buyers are already going for their material selection. Be multi-channel.

If SpecialChem and Prospector® cover your target markets, cast your net wide: GO ON BOTH.

The figures are here. You technical buyers are using SpecialChem and Prospector® to actively search for new materials and chemical ingredients. Early 2021, we measured that 42% of SpecialChem visits are related to an active project. Traffic, community, offers, you will find everything that you need to influence your future customers and make an impact in the chemical industry with those 2 platforms.

If I were marketing manager at a supplier, I would fight tooth and nail to have my products listed on both Prospector® and SpecialChem platforms with lead generation subscriptions because they are the leading material selection platforms. See? I told you that I would be honest.

However, if you have budget constraints and can only afford one, SpecialChem will be a better fit if you need or value:

  • A dedicated client support team — you can completely rely on us to fully implement your campaign, share results, best practices and advize you and your team.
  • An effective lead scoring to optimize your lead follow-up.
  • A digital program that is custom designed based on a free diagnostic of your objectives, challenges and resources.
  • An experienced, reliable partner that are experts to help you navigate the digital world of material selection.

So, what platforms are best for you?



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