Several years ago, Wheaton, a well-known name in laboratories, introduced a line of vials for cryogenic storage. That meant Wheaton was going to war with Corning and Nunc, two of the mightiest laboratory brands.
Both Corning and Nunc were early pioneers in the supply of cryogenic vials. Both also have a lengthy list of publication references and application articles. And, both enjoy solid support from the top tier laboratory distributors, which is especially so for Nunc since it’s a subsidiary of Thermo Fisher Scientific.
For good reason, the Wheaton management team was cautious. They were skeptical. What kind of campaign could Kenyon Hoag conceive that would 'move the needle' from a marketing perspective? Kenyon Hoag examined the situation.
Cryopreservation, the process of stabilizing biological materials at -60˚C to -150˚C, is deceptively difficult. There are many pitfalls, and labs were seeking advice. How did Kenyon Hoag know this? Among other signs, we saw that seminars on basic cryopreservation practices were over-subscribed, and published instruction manuals were insanely popular.
The demand for information was there. Why not serve the information using a friendly, easy-to-read format so that newcomers to the field could learn the rules and standards, read FAQs, watch videos, participate in forums, and download step-by-step instructions?
Kenyon Hoag pitched the idea for a blog on cryopreservation to Wheaton. It was called CryoFeed, a carefully curated collection of biobanking information.
The idea was flawless. Now scientists could learn how to successfully cryopreserve cells and tissues – such as the benefits of seed lot systems, safety with cryoprotectants, optimum cooling rates, and proper thawing technique.
Providing advice on the best type of container to use created a perfect transition to the introduction of Wheaton’s new cryo-products. We were serving valuable information in context with a new product.
CryoFeed acted as a hub. Visitors got everything they ever wanted to know about cryopreservation without having to ask.
The outbound messaging for CryoFeed included a continuous stream of press releases, ads, email campaigns and trade show promotions. Blog posts were automatically published on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn pages. Plans were made to publish posts as excerpts in journals and magazines. One publisher offered to post a link on CryoFeed that would provide access to their curated collection of peer-reviewed articles on cryopreservation techniques.
It was an exciting launch. Capitalizing on the momentum, Wheaton expanded. They brought in new managers and marketing initiatives. A critical challenge arose: the cost of continuously creating content to accommodate CryoFeed’s voracious demand. As personnel changed, the interest and support for CryoFeed faded. Finally, the loss of a key contributor spelled disaster. CryoFeed folded all too early – before achieving its full potential.
Ideas are the well from which marketing campaigns are drawn. When Kenyon Hoag first met the Wheaton managers, we were issued a challenge: Create a marketing campaign for a commodity consumable that can move the needle. We delivered – not only for Wheaton, but for other companies with similar challenges. It takes wisdom and trust for a client to maintain a campaign.
Wheaton is now part of DWK Life Sciences, the world’s largest scientific labware supplier. The 130-year old Wheaton brand name lives on and the company continues to build a following for its cryo-product line.