Cracking the Code

In 1977, KNF Neuberger came to the US and began selling their diaphragm pumps. With characteristic Teutonic zeal, they sold pumps for sampling industrial processes and competed for custom OEM contracts. Lucrative but fickle businesses. Searching for a business with a steady revenue stream, KNF started selling vacuum pumps to laboratories.


A KNF pumping morphing from design to reality, this was part of our Engineer-to-Engineer campaign.

Not so easy. People in labs rarely think about vacuum. They only think about it when it’s gone, and then they look for the easiest way to replace it. They don’t want to learn about torr units and flow curves. But KNF is all about pumps; with over 80 models for lab applications, they overwhelmed customers. Too much data, too many choices. KNF made it difficult.


Lab supply houses weren’t helping. Vacuum pumps were hidden among 250,000 catalog items. They were too durable, too inexpensive and just no fun to sell. “Pick one,” was about all the advice a customer would get. Other vacuum pump suppliers were succeeding by offering one, maybe two inexpensive choices. They were making it easy. Then, KNF hired Kenyon Hoag.



Our idea was to embed KNF in the laboratory. We designed a catalog that wasn’t typical in any way, it purposely looked like a lab notebook. The copy was friendly, relaxed and full of user testimonials. We arranged an on-location photo shoot in a working lab, with real live chemists and authentic themes.




We also wanted the experience of choosing a lab pump to be easy, even fun. We designed a simple web tool that asked a few questions, and then revealed the best pump for the job.


Our ideas succeeded in changing KNF from the manufacturer who offered too many pumps to the experts who made the perfect lab pump for you.


The original Lab Pump Finder tool. This helped change KNF from the manufacturer of too many pumps, to the expert who gave you the perfect pump.

Interestingly, the lab supply houses wanted their own version of the Pump Finder. It helped sell the pumps! So we made versions using their branding. The KNF Pump Finder still exists. So does the KNF lab pump catalog, which now follows the corporate brand using professional models in immaculate labs. which is more of an impersonal style and tone.


Branding can be applied with a hot iron or with a familiarity of your customer’s needs, both identify your company and serve to differentiate it from competitors. The objective is to stand out and be memorable.


We develop campaigns after performing careful research. In this case, we wanted a memorable tone, so we employed empathy and insight. It is how we often crack the code and deliver marketing success.


For help with your marketing, give me a call: 1-201-788-3854.

PO Box 218, Saddle River, NJ. 07458

P: 1-201-783-7540

F: 1-201-825-2316

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