Elevation Awards case study: How Stein IAS won Gold for most commercially successful campaign for their work ‘Big data: Breaking down the buzz’ for Trelleborg Marine and Infrastructure

In recent years, the marine market has been on the brink of a wholesale transformation in manufacturing, driven by advances in IoT technologies. Trelleborg has been a close observer of the emerging transformation. 

With players such as Amazon and Alibaba entering the market and new technologies – from big data to blockchain – making inroads, the market pot has been stirring.

Back in 2018, the marine industry perceived Trelleborg as a manufacturer of polymer products. But they were developing and manufacturing digital port technologies to lead in new ways. To encapsulate these new, smart solutions, Stein IAS needed to create a new brand.

A multi-year campaign launched Trelleborg’s new SmartPort brand. Driven by qualitative insights, Stein IAS promoted SmartPort through a digitally integrated go-to-market campaign. They then launched product campaigns to drive lead volume and velocity.

Utilizing marketing automation, Stein IAS drove multichannel demand campaigns and monitored the digital body language of prospects across Trelleborg’s website, landing pages and product pages. This enabled them to precisely identify when prospects were showing significant interest, pushing them to the sales team for a high lead-to-close rate.

Engaging 25%+ of the total addressable market, the campaign delivered an ROI of 10:1 and an above-target revenue of 31%!

About the client company

Historically, Trelleborg Marine & Infrastructure are global leaders in engineered polymer solutions. Recently, they have become technology leaders in the marine industry with the invention of SmartPort. 

Port operators struggle with outdated manual systems. The multiple touchpoints of approach, docking and mooring vast amounts of cargo, and its swift unloading, is of utmost importance. SmartPort by Trelleborg is an integrated solution, giving port operators 360-degree visibility. It monitors the movement of both the ocean and other ships, enabling vessels and goods to flow freely – and safely.

Strategy – broader business issues the company faced

Deep Market Analysis

Stein IAS conducted qualitative interviews with 20 port leaders to understand their challenges, and how this would relate to Trelleborg’s campaign, as well as how they perceived the market.

Key Finding: Port Operators Fall into Three “Digital Maturity” Categories

  1. Digitally Overdue – These port operators’ digital maturity is low.
  2. Digitally Dependent – These operators have begun to navigate their way toward the safety, reliability, efficiency and reduced human error that digital technologies offer.
  3. Digitally Driven – Less than 5% of operators are steps ahead of the industry, in terms of their digital evolution.

Research revealed that the market had not embraced technology, but wanted to digitally innovate – essentially giving Trelleborg the approval to undertake this transformative pivot.

However, Trelleborg’s own challenge, alongside addressing the industry’s challenge of low digital maturity, was that port operators have to make purchase decisions worth millions. Convincing them to spend huge sums of money needed a smarter approach.

Objectives of the campaign

Before the start of the campaign, Trelleborg was solely associated with polymer engineering. To announce the shift in Trelleborg’s offer, Stein IAS needed to create a new brand that could take ownership of the port technology space. The brand “SmartPort” was created as a result.

The more audacious goal was not just to evolve along with the market, but to be an accelerant of its change. By leading change with a consolidated message around the need for smart technology, Trelleborg could drive sales of an evolved product suite, hold its premium position and add the brand attribute of innovation to its long-established attribute of engineering excellence.

The business goal was to create a brand and campaign that would drive enough leads to account for 7% of Trelleborg’s global revenue by 2021.

How the campaign addressed challenges

The creative assets and messaging were all led by our SmartPort proposition – “The Smarter Approach.” This proposition encapsulated everything the market needed, expressing the benefits of smart technology.

Stein IAS translated SmartPort into creative experiences that port owners could instantly absorb. A prime example of this was a 360° virtual reality experience promoting a key SmartPort product – SafeTug. Stein IAS boarded the bridge of a supertanker coming into berth, and created a VR web experience that was both exciting and informative. Content like this allowed port stakeholders to see the SmartPort innovation from the inside out.

The target audience

The target audience for Trelleborg’s smart product offering is 10,000 stakeholders including port owners, port operators, marine consultants and contractors.

Media, channels or techniques used

Year one

The SmartPort brand launch was promoted through a digitally integrated go-to-market campaign across paid trade media, social media, performance media, email marketing and earned media channels. The campaign highlighted the creative narrative of SmartPort, using messaging that addressed the big issues of efficiency and sustainability.

Stein IAS conducted interviews with industry leaders discussing digital transformation. This content was atomized for social promotion and woven throughout the entire campaign.  

Year two

Stein IAS then launched “bottoms-up” product campaigns to drive lead volume and velocity. The launch of Trelleborg’s two automated mooring products, AutoMoor and DynaMoor, was combined with the launch of two educational whitepapers. These were promoted to targeted audiences across social platforms and email. 

SmartPort was promoted at live events around the world, giving us the opportunity to showcase the 360° SafeTug VR experience.

Year three

Addressing a total of 8,000 accounts identified as high-potential prospects, Stein IAS utilized Oracle’s marketing automation platform, Eloqua, to drive the multichannel demand campaigns and monitor the digital body language of prospects across Trelleborg’s website, landing pages and product pages. We were then able to precisely identify when prospects were showing significant interest, pushing them to the sales team for a high lead-to-close rate.

Timescales of the campaign

  • Customer research/analysis: January 2019–March 2019.
  • Strategic planning: March 2019 – April 2019.
  • Creative idea and identity: May 2019–June 2019.
  • Go-to-market strategy development: June 2019.
  • Phase 1: SmartPort launch campaign: September 2019–March 2020.
  • Phase 2: SafeTug campaign: April 2020–June 2020.
  • Phase 3: Automated mooring campaign: July 2020–December 2021.
  • Performance analysis and reporting: January 2022.


Performance Against Objectives

Trelleborg engaged 25%+ of the total addressable market. Performance was measured by analyzing paid trade media, social media, performance media, email marketing and earned media results.

SmartPort revenue also exceeded the target – and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10% over the next five years.

Captivating Communications Commanding Interest, Engagement and Conversion 

Collective campaigns exceeded the demand generation goal, generating 2,100+ prospects and 459 marketing qualified leads – a completely new and high-value pipeline. The overall marketing return on investment was 10:1 across multiple campaigns. 

Booming Digital Business 

Trelleborg grew sales to 9.2% of its existing business (31% above target). The SmartPort revenue is also recurring – impacting Trelleborg’s business for years to come.

“This campaign engaged our salespeople and our audience with the right balance of creativity and technical know-how. The video production is an accurate and apt representation of our brand and the innovative technology we develop. This campaign connected with our high-value stakeholders and helped the continued growth of our SmartPort solutions"

Scott Smith, president of Marine Technology at Trelleborg Marine and Infrastructure

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