a semi truck driving along a highway next to mountains

Growth, Reputation

Integrated Strategy Fuels Marketing Success for Breakthrough

Transportation technology solutions provider zooms into a marketing strategy to boost performance across earned, owned and paid channels.


Breakthrough is a transportation technology solutions provider that delivers ROI through fuel, freight and sustainability products and services. Ready to make an investment in the next phase of its growth, the company tasked Walker Sands with auditing existing functions, creating and implementing a tightly integrated strategic marketing plan that would expand awareness of its capabilities and increase engagement with its audiences.

After conducting a marketing strategy project that analyzed the market and existing functions to create a roadmap for marketing success, Walker Sands executed a comprehensive integrated marketing program that resulted in increased awareness, engagement and leads for Breakthrough.

paid media conversions

increase in organic search traffic in 9 weeks

total media placements

The Challenge

While Breakthrough had a nearly 20-year history of helping shippers gain transparency and reduce fuel costs, the company aimed to expand awareness and drive opportunities for its Fuel Recovery solution, as well as its newer freight and sustainability solutions. While it had built a strong internal marketing function, the company needed additional expertise to review existing programs and determine areas of opportunity to enhance ROI and strategically expand its team.

The Solution

Walker Sands’ team set out to establish a foundation for Breakthrough’s integrated marketing program by auditing and augmenting the company’s existing strategy using our proprietary Marketing Maturity Model and pairing it with market insights — aiming to identify areas of opportunity and develop a plan for continued growth. The resulting marketing plan would then serve as a roadmap for executing the integrated program across creative, content, demand generation, PR and social channels.

Laying the Foundation

To kick off the engagement, our strategy team reviewed Breakthrough’s existing marketing materials and interviewed key stakeholders to better understand the company’s current marketing state and goals for the future. We also conducted industry and competitive analyses to pinpoint key themes and areas of focus for Breakthrough’s marketing efforts.

Next, we analyzed Breakthrough’s marketing maturity across channels, strategies and operations to identify opportunities for growth. This included SEO and marketing automation audits during which our demand generation team uncovered, and later helped fix, technical issues with Breakthrough’s website and Pardot instance that prevented the company from reaching and engaging target audiences.

A key piece of the marketing maturity analysis was the content audit. Our editorial team conducted a deep dive into Breakthrough’s content performance and asset library — exploring performance on a URL-by-URL basis and determining how the site’s content stacked up against competitors. Insights from this audit informed the development of a strategic editorial calendar that would fuel Breakthrough’s integrated marketing success. The editorial calendar equipped Breakthrough with a roadmap for the creation of content that addressed key buyer pain points and needs, filled competitive gaps and informed audiences throughout the buying journey.

With the audits and analyses complete, Walker Sands presented an actionable marketing plan that made specific recommendations to align business and marketing goals in more detail, and guide Breakthrough’s integrated marketing strategy in the year ahead.

Building Market Awareness

With a new marketing strategy to guide us, our team was ready to increase brand awareness for Breakthrough across channels. To increase visibility of Breakthrough’s fuel, freight and sustainability solutions, we produced content on topics that mapped to each persona’s needs, such as a blog on how to keep high contract freight rates from hurting shippers’ bottom line and a tip sheet on how to measure hard-to-track scope 3 emissions.

This content propelled ongoing thought leadership efforts across PR and organic Twitter and LinkedIn channels, where our social team tagged publications, reporters and Breakthrough’s thought leaders to encourage sharing and boost credibility. Compelling thought leadership content was also placed in front of Breakthrough’s audiences through paid channels including LinkedIn, Google Display, Google Search and YouTube.

Driving Engagement and Leads

Along with increased awareness, Walker Sands worked to drive engagement with Breakthrough’s audiences and generate leads across channels. Ongoing content development leveraging SEO insights, targeted keywords and user segmentation helped improve Breakthrough’s search traffic and overall click-through-rate.

On Twitter, our social strategists worked to engage top industry influencers and position Breakthrough as a trusted partner — with a focus on building trust in the wider industry. The team leveraged a credible, down-to-earth voice on organic social to further engage Breakthrough’s active clients, thought leaders, key reporters and industry influencers. On paid channels, our PPC team leveraged various ad formats, compelling creative and action-oriented copy with messaging that aligned to Breakthrough’s audiences to drive net new leads and nurture prospects through the buyer journey.

Fueling Product Awareness and Leads With Creative Campaigns

In addition to ongoing marketing efforts, Breakthrough tasked Walker Sands with supporting its product launch for CleanMile, the brand’s new emissions reduction solution. Given the product’s clear sustainability benefits, we knew Breakthrough could make a splash in the market with a creative campaign that teased the launch of CleanMile on Earth Day.

Campaign activations included a teaser video, blog, email nurture, organic social posts and paid digital media ads. All activations directed traffic to a landing page on Breakthrough’s website that introduced CleanMile and communicated its impact to business leaders. Our PR team also focused earned media outreach on sustainability topics in the weeks leading up to Earth Day, targeting both supply chain and sustainability publications to build momentum for thought leaders on these topics.

Following the teaser campaign, we supported the official product launch with a subsequent campaign to drive traffic to the CleanMile landing page, this time emphasizing the need for sustainability leaders to bring about change in their organizations by contrasting corporate imagery with striking natural visuals. Campaign activations included three video spots, a blog, tip sheets, an email nurture, organic social posts and digital media ads. On the PR front, we crafted a product launch announcement press release and distributed it over newswire and personalized outreach to media contacts, leveraging CEO Doug Mueller as CleanMile’s spokesperson.

Later in the partnership, Walker Sands identified another creative campaign opportunity to increase lead volume for Breakthrough’s Fuel Recovery product. As shippers navigated one of the most volatile fuel markets in recent years, Breakthrough sought to capitalize on the need for fuel cost-savings by demonstrating how its Fuel Recovery solution could positively impact shippers.

To promote Fuel Recovery, we executed a creative campaign directing audiences to a simplified plug-and-play ROI calculator on Breakthrough’s website. The calculator allowed leaders to provide various inputs and determine the overall transportation savings and emissions reduction they could expect by partnering with Breakthrough. The CTA encouraged visitors to learn more by scheduling a “Breakthrough 101” demo. Campaign activations included LinkedIn and Display ads, as well as an infographic and motion graphics that highlighted the proprietary transportation data using bold visualizations to incite action and showcase the need for Breakthrough’s strategic, data-based solution.

The Results

Guided by a robust marketing strategy and roadmap, Breakthrough’s integrated marketing program achieved impressive results, including 27 media placements, 7 of which were top-tier, 470+ paid media conversions, a 67% increase in organic search traffic in the first 9 weeks after our SEO recommendations were implemented, 6.5% average LinkedIn engagement rate and a 2.5% average Twitter engagement rate.

The CleanMile and Fuel Recovery campaigns also generated significant increases in product awareness and engagement for Breakthrough. Since its launch, the Fuel Recovery calculator campaign has garnered 400K+ impressions, nearly 4K clicks and 38 conversions via the campaign landing page. For CleanMile, the campaign video view rate on YouTube stands at 57%, far above the industry benchmark of 10% — demonstrating the campaign messaging resonated with audiences. This campaign not only contributed to the success of Breakthrough’s first ever sustainability product launch, but also established a reproducible process for future launches.

Ultimately, building a strong foundation and hitting the ground running was the key to Breakthrough’s success. The approach was well received by Breakthrough with its CMO acknowledging, “This work has brought discipline and rigor to the way we’re using marketing to propel our product portfolio and has created better awareness of our service offerings. You’ve helped us unlock a different level of effectiveness at Breakthrough.”

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