The general public's perception of masonry flip-flops from that of a status symbol to something that's hopelessly out-of-date, from creating a feeling of warmth to something that's cold and industrial. Many people don't even know exactly what masonry is, and this confusion shows. The percentage of all-brick homes built in the United States has dropped in the past 20 years from 28% to 20%, according to the Brick Industry Association. On the commercial side, tilt-up concrete, precast concrete, and steel are making serious inroads.

But this industry does have some very dynamic and skilled crusaders on its side. Masonry Construction wanted to learn how the pros are approaching the challenge of marketing masonry and invited four of the best to participate: Gene Abbate, Harry Deitzer, Ann Sullivan, and Tom Perry. The discussion focuses on how masonry is being marketed today: what works, what doesn't, and what we need to do to enhance masonry's image and increase its market share. Masonry Construction's editorial director Bill Palmer asks:

  • What is marketing?
  • Who is the customer? Who makes the decision to use masonry?
  • If the owners are our primary customers, what are we doing to get to them?
  • How do we overcome the perception that masonry is out of date and simplistic?
  • Is there a difference between what's being done at the national level and what's being done at the state or regional level?