The story of Pillar Digital Marketing Agency

You know how you remember certain details, years later...

But, you're never sure why?

Well, let us tell you about one of those details that actually came in handy.

Hi, our names are Mark Congionti and Joe Darragh; best friends, local homeowners and two people that love finding creative ways to solve problems. We’re the owners of Pillar Digital Marketing.

Why does the Hudson Valley, NY need a local, modern marketing agency?

As homeowners, we want reliable home service businesses that understand us. 

The simple fact is, most don’t. The internet is bombarding us with so much, so fast, nobody stands out. Homeowners, like us, can’t easily find the honest, reliable Hudson Valley contractors like you. 

That leaves us all feeling stressed, and overwhelmed. The mere thought of trusting someone with our homes, and the safety of our families, sends chills down our spine. 

You know that feeling? Well…

As we come to learn in life, that’s a problem.

The internet is bombarding us with too much bad information

It’s a problem for local service companies, like yours. 

As a reputable home service business, you have the right licensing, insurance and qualifications. But, with all the noise, how do you stand out from the unqualified ones?

It’s a problem for local homeowners, like us. 

Time and time again we hear horror stories of renegade renovators ripping off Hudson Valley homeowners. Think about it. You spend thousands of dollars on a project, to later find out you have to do it over? How would you feel?

It’s a problem for our community. 

It’s hard for the best businesses in and around Westchester County, NY to thrive if we don’t know who you are. That means fewer jobs, lower quality construction and less local tax revenue. 

All of these problems mean less money in all of our pockets. When that happens, we spend less locally, which hurts everyone.


– it’s pretty clear that we all have a shared problem – and we all need a solution. Someone has to do something. Finding reliable local businesses shouldn’t be this hard. 

And, we know you’re out there – because we’ve found you. But, it’s not easy. Someone’s gotta help you stand out online. Then, you can deliver the ultimate experience for your customers. And, businesses like you can grow. 

The Story of How It All Began

If you’re like us – you’ve known about the problem for awhile. But, you’re not getting the help you need. You’re amazing at delivering the service you provide. But, you need someone to handle the rest – so you can focus on your customers. 

And, your family.

Enter Mark and Joe, lifelong residents of the Hudson Valley, local homeowners and best friends since childhood. 

Being millennials, we’ve always had a lot in common. Our love for cars, fishing, golf, technology and data, dogs, sports and boating are just some of the interests we’ve always shared. 

But, it wasn’t until after two decades of friendship, built from our shared values, that our friendship grew into a partnership.

The Pillar Pony a 2019 Mustang GT
The Pillar Pup, Frankie

Looking back to the day we met, we didn’t even want to get out of bed. What kid does, on the first day of school? 

It was a brisk, sunny September day in 1997. Remember the 90s? 

This was back when we actually used to have an Autumn in the Hudson Valley, the Yanks were finally looking good after the 80s, and a chia pet was in every household. 

It was a simpler time, when your phone book was still the best way to find local businesses. 

Tired and lethargic, from a long summer, we stumbled into our 7th grade science class.

We sat down next to each other at the same long, run-down black lab table with splintering wooden legs. Then, that’s where it all started.

2 Things That Stand Out From That Day

For some reason, there are two things from the day we met that still stand out. 

#1 – The first, how the potent smell of rotten eggs hit us like a ton of bricks as soon as we walked in. Needless to say, we didn’t realize it was the smell of sulfur from a science experiment. 

After sharing a childish laugh at the teacher’s expense, our friendship never looked back.

#2 – The second thing we both remember is something our teacher said. After someone asked, “Can I go to the bathroom?”

Our teacher then jokes, “I don’t know, can you?”

Now, unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard this one before, and thought nothing of it. You’re probably even asking yourself why the heck we’re bringing it up now, and what does this have to do with digital marketing for my home service business?

Well, at the time, as you can expect, we found it annoying. The whole year, anytime someone asked, “Can I…”, our teacher said the same old joke

Marketing doodle to plan a strategy

The Joke – Becomes a Lesson

Fast forward almost 20 years, and we realize how many valuable life lessons are actually packed into a phrase we both had grown to despise. 

We both buy our own fixer uppers, Mark in White Plains, Joe in Ossining, and soon come to realize why both our dads have always been DIYers. 

One day when we were sitting around, commiserating about our own renegade renovator horror stories, a joke turns into an idea.  

After hiring a carpenter to do his crown molding, Mark didn’t have the best experience. 

The molding was crooked, the carpenter, whose website said “Best Carpenter in Westchester” (a self imposed title) didn’t fill the nail holes, and even left out a piece of molding in the corner. 

Mark turned to Joe and said, “Best carpenter in Westchester…can you say that about your own business?”

To which Joe replied, “I don’t know, can you?”

After laughing, a lot, it brought us back to 7th grade science. Being older, and wiser – although the women in our lives may disagree with that –

– we started thinking. 

Finally! We Got It – Language Matters!

That little annoying phrase that we had both despised all of these years, was packed full of valuable life lessons. These same lessons, believe it or not, are some of the fundamental concepts of business. 

The first lesson we learnt, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. 

Sure, you can say that you’re the best contractor in Westchester County. 

But….should you? 

Wouldn’t it be better for your business if you show us you’re the best, instead of telling us? Do you ever trust someone just because they tell you to?

Right. We don’t either. 

The second lesson, pay careful attention to what you say. Words are important, so say what you mean. The difference between, may I, and can I, might seem small. But they actually mean two different things. 

When you ask a customer, can I help you, what you’re really asking is whether or not you have the ability to help. 

Do you want to start your relationship giving your community the impression you lack basic skills to get the job done?

When you ask, “may I help you?” you’re asking if you may have the privilege of serving your customer. 

We See An Opportunity to Help Local Companies, Customers and Our Community

We got to talking, and realized we are in a unique position to help your business, homeowners and our community if we do it right. 

That’s what it’s all about, right? If we told you that you could build a business and put simple strategies in place that could make your life easier, and give you more time with your family, wouldn’t that be a  good thing? 


What if those same strategies aren’t just good for your company, but also…

They’re good for your customers and your community? How does that sound?

We know business, we know marketing, and we know how to use data and technology to solve problems. Your problems.

Remarkable, local businesses like yours need to grow. You deserve the opportunity to compete. We know how important what you do is for our community. 

So, we had to step in. 

Why Are We The Right People For the Job?

Our background in customer service, data analysis, marketing, cyber security and fraud investigations give us the tools we need to understand how your customers think. And, what helps you to earn trust. 

We know together, our diverse set of skills give us an opportunity to use digital marketing to improve your company, the lives of your customers and our community, if done right. 

But you’re the key to the formula. We need to find the best local businesses. Then, we can make sure customers find you. When small, local businesses grow, our communities improve. 

Remember that shared problem? This is the key to the solution. 

It’s about brining people like us together. People who are neighbors. We all want the same things. Reliable local businesses when we need them. A good life for our families. We’re willing to work hard – but don’t have the same advantages as big corporations. 

We Knew We Had To Do Something – But It Wouldn’t Be Easy! (good news though for you)

We’ve had the privilege of working with some remarkable people throughout the years. And, we learnt a lot about what it takes to succeed in business. 

Really – the high level strategy is simple. You can apply it to anything in life. Do some research, make a plan, and work hard to achieve your goal. 

Use some common sense along the way. Be open to change. And, admit when you’re wrong. 

But, that’s just the framework. It’s a process – like with what you do. That’s the general outline – but each type of business is different. We had never run our own home service businesses before. And, never worked at one either. 

So we needed some help from people like you. We also needed to make sure this problem wasn’t unique to us. Doing research, and having a plan is key to success in anything you do.

So, over the next year we got to work. After speaking with contractors and home service businesses around Westchester, and local homeowners, we began to understand you. 

We Do Our Research First - And Keep Doin' It Well

When we decided to try and help solve this shared problem for our community – we were super excited to get started. But, we had to take a step back. That way, we could do it right. 

Hudson Valley Homeowners Shared Their Thoughts

Just like we always tell you, market research is important. So, we had to get to work surveying local homeowners. We learnt a lot about what they care about when working with local home service businesses like yours. 

Survey results from question I have an easy time finding reliable contractors
Survey results from question willing to pay a little more

The initial results are telling us that your neighbors are having a tough time finding you. But, when they do – they’ll pay a bit more for the amazing experience you deliver. 

We Studied A Local, Family Owned Service Businesses

For over two years, we worked with a local roofer and learnt everything there is to know about the business. We studied, we talked to their customers, and we ran surveys in our community.

MCAS Roofing & Contracting, owned by Mike Casolaro and his amazing family. Mike is great at roofing. And, he cares about his customers, and delivering quality work. 

So, Mike allowed us the privilege to work with his family run roofing company. And, that’s no small thing to trust someone with your family’s lively-hood. 

So, we spent over two years researching the home services industry and small businesses. And, we listened to thousands of hours of podcasts, dozens of books, and read the latest marketing research.

We Speak With Lots of Local Business Owners That Rock!

We spent a lot of time speaking with our favorite businesses in the Hudson Valley, NY. Those amazing, small local businesses that truly care about us. 

Marketing isn’t really marketing – it’s building relationships. So, who better to speak to than the business owners that have been able to build lasting relationships in our community. 

Businesses like Kelly’s Creamery and Husband’s Food Truck. They didn’t just start a small business – they started a community. Or, Will’s Barber Shop in Ossining, NY. Will’s attention to detail and safety during COVID-19 has been impressive. When you go to Will’s shop, it’s the ultimate customer experience. 

Then, we took what we learnt – and continue to learn every day. Then, came up with some strategies to test out. We studied the results. Then, we made some adjustments. 

Next, we tested some more. And more…

That took some time, a lot of time. But that parts over. Now, we know the right techniques to help you grow.

So, the good news for you is that we already did the hard work for you. It’s not only about identifying great business marketing strategies. 

You need to know the specifics. Nobody tells you what to do, step-by-step. Nobody speaks in plain language…

Well, until now.

Our Framework For Success – 9 Simple Steps To Building Your Digital Marketing Foundation

You can’t build the walls in a house, if you don’t first make a blueprint, then build a foundation. The same is true for your local marketing. There’s a right way, and a wrong way. 

It’s our job to take care of your local marketing, the right way – so you can worry about what’s really important – your customers and your family.  

With our approach, we make sure you get immediate results. But, our marketing strategy is about the long term. So the longer you do it right – the better it gets. Show you’re an expert, and care about your customers. 

Then, you can get new business without having to pay for ads. 

How much are you spending on online ads, that don’t work? 

We’ve spent thousands of dollars in the past. That was, before we took control of our own destiny.

So we follow our framework for Building Your Digital Marketing Foundation. And, we use it to design a custom blueprint just for you. 

The saying, you never know where life is going to take you has never been more true. 

Joe graduated with a finance degree in 2009 from Pace University. Went on to get his master’s in accounting. Joe was planning to work on wall street. Instead, ending up becoming a federal investigator. That lead to Joe’s love of fighting fraud, marketing abuse, and data analytics. 

Mark graduated from Mount Saint Mary with a degree in mathematics. Mark’s plan was to be a teacher. So, he got certified. But, instead of jumping into the classroom, Mark fell into cyber security and data recovery. Mark’s journey lead to his love of business processes, data analysis and marketing. 

Our combined skill set and experience perfectly positions us to help you build your reputation as a local expert.

And There You Have It - We Were Born

From this crazy chain of events, Pillar Digital Marketing was born. A local, Hudson Valley marketing agency that understands you and your customers. Because – we live here, and care. Just like you.

We took the marketing strategies that worked best for Hudson Valley small businesses. We kept testing. Then, we took the best techniques from Big Business. And, developed a simple technique we now call, Building Your Digital Marketing Foundation

It’s a step-by-step approach. We teach you marketing in plain language that you can understand. We show you what to do, and teach you the basic concepts. Then, if you want, you can handle your marketing on your own. Or, you can ask a local marketing agency for help. 

Either way, you’ll be able to judge your results. 


Well, it’s so you can hold us accountable as your marketing partner. 

With our strategies, you can develop a Digital Marketing Plan, with clear goals, and unique online content. When you stick to it, marketing can make you the authoritative expert in the mind of local homeowners.

We partner with you to take the status quo, and turn it upside down. 

The message you broadcast, and content you put online for  homeowners to read has to be compelling, captivating and innovative. Show our community the unique value you can offer, and why you can do the job better. 

That’s the only way you’ll get noticed. If done right, it works. And, the results are incredible.

But, it only works if you qualify as an honest, reputable business. 

So, what do you say? Are you ready to get started Building Your Digital Marketing Foundation? 

We'd Love to Learn More About Your Business

Let's Speak about Your Marketing

In our experience, the partnership between a marketing agency and your business is only successful when we share the same values.

Your business is unique, and you need a marketing agency that gets you. So, if you’re willing, we’d love to speak with you to learn more about your unique challenges.