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President's Message

Alan Griffin
President, Mason Contractors Association of America

"Got Milk," "Beef: It's What's For Dinner" and "The Incredible Edible Egg" are all simply stated phrases that are credited with revitalizing ailing industries (see "From the Editor" on page 4 in the April issue). We hear these slogans, and we all instinctively know what they mean.

Much like these very effective marketing initiatives, the Masonry Industry Executive Council — comprised of MCAA and 15 state and local masonry associations — introduced a national masonry marketing campaign at the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) Annual Membership Meeting held in March in Las Vegas.

We all are aware of the tremendous effort and resources spent by our friends in the manufacturing industry to promote the use of brick and CMU. While millions are spent each year, our industry still struggles with a loss of market share to other building systems, such as tilt-up concrete, that advocate turn-key approaches. Making matters worse is the difficulty that consumers and construction professionals have with our industry's many voices and finding one source for information. To combat these problems, the Masonry Industry Executive Council has developed a very interesting campaign that will promote the use of masonry systems as a whole — not just as single components.

After all, as contractors we don't really care what masonry products our customers specify, as long as it is masonry. And as contractors, we are in a unique position to work with our industry's customers because we would never pit one masonry material against another. If they want brick, we will build with brick; if they want concrete masonry, we will give them concrete masonry. Of course, we will always push masonry systems because if we are on the job installing the brick, it makes perfect sense to go after the back-up as well.

The national marketing initiative developed by the Council is a very comprehensive, long-term campaign. Beginning this fall, the campaign will feature a dedicated web site, MasonrySystems.org, making choosing and designing a complete masonry system easy for consumers and construction professionals. We believe that once school and government officials, architects, specifiers and general contractors visit the site, they will be convinced that not only is masonry what they want, it's easy to use. And, of course, we hope that they will continue to visit the site, giving us an ongoing opportunity to sell them on masonry well into the future.

The second part of the campaign is to place advertisements in customer publications, directing them to the new web site. While the advertising budget for the first year is only $300,000, the impact can be immediate and far-reaching. The nine publications the Council plans to run advertisements in over the next year have over 500,000 readers per month. That's a large audience of decision-makers who will be exposed to masonry systems.

Currently, the Executive Council is soliciting financial support from their respective associations to get the advertising kicked off this fall. It is my hope that they don't have to rely solely on local and state associations. I hope mason contractors and suppliers will help fund this innovative approach to promote masonry systems.

To find out how you can make a financial contribution to this promotional campaign, call the MCAA office at (800) 536-2225 or Lynn Nash, Executive Director of the North Carolina Mason Contractors Association and Treasurer of the Masonry Industry Executive Council, at (828) 324-1564.






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