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The Game Changer…

Updated: May 28, 2019

With a game changing approach, Taconic assumed a market leading position for in vivo research models.

In an effort to overtake the market dominance of Charles River Laboratories, a publicly traded producer of animal research models with 80 facilities, Taconic needed a game changer.

It found one with knockout (KO) animal models.

KO models are used to study diseases, toxins, treatments, or pretty much anything in a living organism – in place of a human. Since the KO animals are genetically altered, the information they provide is unequalled in biomedical research.

Early KO mice were patented and required a license to be used. Some of the patents included “reach-through royalties,” which were extremely punitive.

For example, the OncoMouse®, engineered to be highly susceptible to cancer making it useful for cancer research, was patented by DuPont.

If a researcher discovered a treatment or even a cure using the OncoMouse, they owed royalty payments to the patent holder. Bottom line: nobody was using the OncoMouse.

Going to market…

Then, Taconic, a privately owned, me-too player in animal models, invented a game-changing work-around to licensing KO models. Their approach unlocked unlimited potential in the biomedical research community for using KO models. So, they went to market.

A campaign involving fractional ads was placed in the academic journal, Science. It was thought that an ad offering the KO mice would open the floodgates for orders…

… but Taconic management was surprised when there was no response to the ad.

What happened next…

Kenyon Hoag came up with a response; we developed a booklet entitled, Access to Transgenic Technologies. Using a basic, no-frills design approach, the book provided history, an overview of the current technology and how to license these inventions for research. The booklet was used as the hub for a multimedia marketing campaign that quickly established Taconic as the leader in KO models.

Here’s how we did it:

Working with experts, the book was written and designed solely to focus on the message. It was printed in black and white and used simple tables and diagrams. Although it was only 32 pages, we had the book perfectly bound using high quality matte paper stock. It looked like a textbook.

Next, we were able to get excerpts from the book published in life science journals. It was a popular topic that was quickly devoured by readers.

Simple fractional ads began appearing offering this plain-looking, little book about an emerging technology called KO animal models. There was no flash, no hype. It was offered as an educational booklet.

Access to Transgenic Technologies became the most requested document Taconic offered to the public. It started to appear everywhere.

The one thing that was not done was to publish the booklet on the web. We were certain that the only people who wanted the booklet had to be potential customers. So, in order to get the booklet, researchers were asked to request a physical copy. Taconic got opt-in permission from every request and added the names to the mailing list.

The book, Access to Transgenic Technologies, and its marketing campaign, helped Taconic leap frog to the top of its market and become a multinational leader in the biomedical research community.

Yes, content works in marketing, but how it is designed and presented can make the difference from a good piece of content, to the centerpiece of a highly successful marketing campaign.


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