Small business marketing case study: digging up a difference with Dig Yardscapes

by on January 25, 2011

Logo for retaining wall companyDig Yardscapes is a local business here in Vancouver that offers services in retaining walls and excavation (a little link love for the Dig boys! What can I say, I take care of my clients :)). It’s a pretty saturated market. There are some large, as well as a whole bunch of small outfits offering similar services. And let’s face it, it’s a pretty boring industry, right?

Well, Dig has been some of the best fun I’ve had in my marketing career. When crafting a marketing strategy for such a competitive market, we decided to take what everyone else was doing, and basically just do the complete opposite. And that revolved around having fun with something that’s pretty yawn worthy. Read on to learn about how Dig has differentiated itself, which we learned last week is the cornerstone for marketing magic and small business success.

Branding and logo

Dig’s competitors all had similar branding. Let’s call it boring branding. No personality. No punch. Blah logos. And in some cases very outdated logos (or none at all).

So what did we do for Dig? Well, first off the logo is crisp, clean and very modern looking. It catches your eye. It’s simple, but professional. Without looking like a landscaping company or company that runs big machines. The competitors have that covered.

In terms of branding, we first thought about the target audience, which is homeowners. Regular people like you and me who in most cases don’t know the first thing about heavy duty machinery and what goes into building a retaining wall. They just want the damn thing done well. So we focused the brand and the communications around that. Fun and friendly. We’ve got you covered. We get you. We make it easy.

The competitors definitely were not communicating directly to regular folks, and in many cases, seemed to be gunning for large contractors rather than residential jobs. And therein lies the major Dig difference.


As a start-up, Dig did not have a huge budget, and they certainly didn’t need one for the website. The competitors either didn’t have a website at all , or had really outdated, ugly ones. So, we just chose an easy do-it-yourself website system that looks clean and contemporary. Nothing fancy, but enough to get the message across.

Copy voice

This is where I really had a blast. I was actually the perfect copywriter for this project, because I am the exact target market. Someone who doesn’t know a thing about the technical stuff. Rather than using industry jargon and really boring descriptions, which is what everyone else was doing, I spoke in simple, plain language and had fun with it. We actually put “lifting heavy stuff” on the business card. Cause that’s what they do, after all. No need to fluff it up. And we had fun playing on the word “dig”.


You’re probably wondering what one could possibly blog about in this industry.  But we kept things pretty simple. Sharing business news. Answering common customer questions. No epic blog posts needed. Just some simple refreshing content once in a while (you know, to keep Google stoked).

Other social media

Again, this might seem like a bit of an odd one, cause what on earth would you share on social media? But one thing that Dig does have to share is photos of the jobs they have done. And these photos are really interesting for homeowners so they can see what exactly goes on with a retaining wall or excavation project. Given that, we focused on social media sites that allow for photo sharing, namely Facebook and Flickr.


SEO is the main focus for Dig marketing. Customers find them by searching online, period. Given the nature of their business, they are always looking for new customers. Repeat customers are pretty rare. Referrals work well, but Google is really where it’s at for them. So doing all that SEO (getting Google to like you) stuff is key.

I find that I personally learn best when I am given concrete examples, which is why I decided to start these marketing case study posts. Would love to know what you think! Does it help to clarify concepts? Does it give you some ideas? Please share your views in the comments…

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Derek Ing January 27, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Wow! I adore hearing about creative marketing solutions making a difference in dry industries such as this. In many ways, your marketing approach has defined their business. After reading through the website I was enticed by the casual lingo, which had gotten rid of complicated industry jargon. Assuming this companies work is up to par, I think they will have positive returns from their marketing edge.

Great job.


Martina January 28, 2011 at 11:41 am

Glad you liked it Derek! It’s always a great thing to be given marketing freedom. Thanks 🙂


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