Barkman Concrete

Sherpa led the way on a digital brand-awareness campaign for Barkman Concrete to show the Saskatchewan residents how easy it is to create the beautiful backyard landscaping project of your dreams.

Based in Steinbach, Manitoba, Barkman Concrete offers a host of high-quality concrete products, including hardscapes, landscape kits, site furnishings, precast concrete steps, and products for trenching and agriculture applications. They are well-known across the province as the go-to supplier of beautiful landscaping solutions — an impressive 84% of Manitobans are familiar with their offerings. Saskatchewan residents, however, were at this point less familiar with Barkman and their product line — only 13% of the province’s residents knew of the products and backyard opportunities Barkman offers. This presented a great opportunity for Barkman to engage Sherpa’s expertise in executing a Saskatchewan brand-awareness campaign for their “hardscapes” product line, which includes paving stones and slabs, retaining walls, and concrete firepits.

Campaign Phases

Sherpa’s first priority in this two-month campaign over the summer of 2016 was to understand Barkman’s target markets and engage with them directly as they discover and research their backyard’s potential. Since Barkman doesn’t sell directly to customers but instead to suppliers, our goal was to meet potential customers at each moment in their path to purchase a new backyard upgrade and help guide them through Barkman’s website to a dealer. Our focus was on two specific target markets: “young homeowners,” who are looking to update or build a new backyard living area; and “silver spenders,” who are well-established couples with disposable income looking to undertake a landscaping project. Although these are two distinct groups, their customer journey is similar.

In Phase 1, we met with Barkman to learn about their business and industry, as well as analyze all available current data to gain the insights that would drive the campaign strategy.

In Phase 2, we solidified our strategy: drive brand awareness in Saskatchewan, with the goal to build a solid brand presence for Barkman Concrete that will be discoverable and present at every moment in the path to purchase and will compound the benefits of marketing campaigns in future years.

Phase 3 was when we determined each moment along the customer’s path to purchase. As our President Marty Fisher explains, these moments comprise “a series of steps that can be visually described as a continuum from unaware to advocate.” So, we established the entire path to purchase for each target audience, the message that would best resonate in each moment, and how we could best assist prospective customers with their purchase decision.

Phase 4 was our tactic and execution phase: this was the point at which we were able to carry out our strategy, engaging with prospective customers and guiding them toward their purchase.

Finally, Phase 5 was when we tested, measured, and optimized our strategy to ensure it was working optimally. This included A/B testing, ongoing campaign measurement and analysis, and continuous optimizations to improve performance in all channels.

Campaigns phones

Moving Through the Path to Purchase

They key moments we determined in Phase 3 were:

  • pre-notion (a backyard renovation is not on the customer’s mind);
  • notion (a backyard renovation has piqued their interest);
  • inspiration (the customer is seeking inspiration and resources for a backyard renovation);
  • research (the customer is seeking products, suppliers, and answers to their backyard renovation questions); and
  • execution (the customer has found a Barkman supplier to complete their dream backyard renovation).

In order to assist prospective customers, we met them at each moment and directed them to specific web pages that correspond to their stage in the path to purchase. We did this by creating a seamless experience across all channels, including social ads, social posts, Google ads, videos, and website content.

In the pre-notion, notion, and inspiration moments, customers were engaged by highlighting Barkman’s beautiful product line. We drew potential Saskatchewan customers to Barkman’s website — in particular their “Firepits” page — by utilizing Google AdWords Display Ads, Facebook Ads and Pinterest Ads platforms.

Our Digital Marketing Department also analyzed the search term volume trends for hundreds of keywords that pertained to Barkman’s product offerings, including backyard landscaping projects; landscaping ideas; outdoor living spaces; pavers; slabs; and firepits. We determined that people searched for these products the most during the spring and early summer months and less so as the summer progresses. We used this data to identify five phases over twelve months, which is overlaid over the search volume trends data below:

During the inspiration and research phases, potential customers are looking for stimuli, motivation, and information to help them choose a feasible project, so we focused on driving action to high-value pages through clear and enticing calls to action. The furthest point in the path to purchase that we could measure was each potential customer’s interaction with the “Find a Dealer” page, which indicates not only high interest in a new Barkman backyard renovation, but their intent to visit the nearest dealer to make that dream backyard a reality. You can see the path to purchase funnel below:

The Results

As a result of our campaign, which ran from July 18 – September 28, 2016, Barkman’s new and returning website traffic increased nearly 20% and their general awareness among Saskatchewan residents also grew, as our campaign ads were seen over eight times by each relevant potential Saskatchewan customer. There’s no doubt that the summer of 2016 saw many new backyard bonfires and summer parties, care of Barkman’s product line!

In comparing the Barkman website traffic generated from organic and paid sources with the industry standard across Canada, our campaign saw an increase almost exclusively across the board.

Compared to the previous year, our 2016 campaign saw a 19.05% increase in Saskatchewan organic traffic to the “Find a Dealer” page, where users search for Barkman product dealers. There was also a 65.26% increase in Saskatchewan organic traffic to the “Resources” page, which contains a number of product catalogues and specs sheets. As well, our campaign led to a whopping 125.58% increase in Saskatchewan organic traffic to the “Firepits” page, which was the primary product line that Sherpa promoted in the awareness campaign.

We also increased new and returning visitors over the course of the campaign by 17.7% and 18.7% respectively.  

Overall, in the span of a two-month digital marketing campaign, Barkman’s awareness and website traffic grew significantly, offering Saskatchewan residents the opportunity to discover, research, and execute the backyard firepit, landscaping project, or renovation they were dreaming of.

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