Decorative concrete is booming, and a close examination of the reasons why should provide you with the foundation of your marketing materials and presentations.
Don’t talk integral colors or color hardeners when what the prospect wants is something custom and to work with a craftsman. (Who gets to interact with a craftsman anymore?) Don’t talk about the pricing advantages of decorative concrete when what the prospect wants is a floor that is easy to clean and doesn’t harbor mites.
Nine reasons people buy decorative concrete
Here are nine reasons people want decorative concrete -– find out which one is attracting your prospect and give them just what they want.
- 1. In this day and age –- it’s often tough out in the world – people want their own home oasis, a place to get away from it all and cocoon with their family. Those with money to spend (and there are plenty of these people, see below) want their home to be a place of reprieve and relaxation. People are also spending more and more time today at home. They’re spending more money on their homes, installing things like wood flooring, specialty tiles, or marble and decorative concrete. The “nesting” phenomenon, people wanting to make their homes be their castle, is one of the strongest elements of the popularity of decorative concrete. For businesses, such as a retail store or a mall, the need to create an “experience” for customers is desperately needed -– if they don’t, a more savvy business competitor will.
- 2. Concrete is less expensive, in most cases, than stone, marble or pavers. So upgraded paving is available to a far larger group of potential buyers. Stone or marble are more expensive than concrete by a factor of one and a half to three times. So when people are shown they can get the same type of look for a lot less money, it broadens the potential market for that type of product and that’s what’s happening with decorative concrete.
- 3. Decorative concrete is a craft product. Working directly with a craftsman to design a one--of--a--kind product is appealing to many people. In this day and age, we buy our furniture and it’s been mass--produced in North Carolina (or China) and it arrives at our house ready to use. But many people still like to interact with the craftsman. This option is not available as much as it was in the past. So the fact that you are a craftsman, and possibly an artist, is hugely attractive to people. Just like they buy artwork, the fact that they can have you create a floor for them or a countertop or a backyard patio or a pool deck that’s very unique is very attractive to people. Give them a special experience.
- 4. Another reason for the growing popularity of decorative concrete is the ability to customize the product. With granite countertops, for instance, you have to select a slab of granite from what is available. With Corian, it comes in a limited number or colors or patterns. With tile, you have a certain choice of shapes and sizes. With concrete, you can create something for people that is not available elsewhere, and this is attractive to a substantial percentage of the market. There’s a certain group of people who want something simply because everyone else doesn’t or can’t have it.
- 5. Decorative concrete is not for everybody -– this is actually a benefit. When something becomes too mainstream it falls from favor in the minds of many. Think Wabi--Sabi –- concrete can function today as prototypical “complete” aesthetic, nature--based and “soft” in contrast to the “hard” digital aesthetics of modern computer--age design. As such, it offers designers and other creative people a wealth of potential.
- 6. Millions of people suffer from allergies. Concrete flooring doesn’t harbor allergens or mites. Concrete is easy to maintain and won’t need to be replaced. Compared to concrete pavers or asphalt, maintaining concrete is a breeze. Concrete is recognized as one of, if not the most, long--lasting construction materials on earth.
- 7. Sustainable design (green building) is big and growing rapidly. Concrete is central to sustainable design. With the energy shortage there’s a large and growing sector of the population concerned about sustainable design. Leaving concrete floors stained or polished fits right in with the sustainable design theme. Many of these owners will also be using radiant floor heating which is the most efficient way to heat their home – concrete works beautifully with radiant heat. Radiant floor heating contractors can be an excellent ally in your marketing of decorative concrete. In many cases, they’re already being called out for installation of radiant heat. When your local radiant contractor is educated (by you) on the different types of patterns and styles that you can achieve with the concrete flooring, that’s going to help him explain to the customer why they should call you, because they certainly don’t want to be placing wood or carpet over the concrete when they’ve done radiant flooring –- that defeats the purpose.
- 8. Many people have lots of money. While this may sound simplistic, a recent Wall Street Journal article noted that 2.3 million U.S. households were millionaires –- and more than 1.2 million of those households have a net worth greater than $5 million. That’s a lot of money! These folks can afford nice things like decorative concrete to go with their nice home interior or outdoor living area.
- 9. There have been broad improvements in the number and type of decorative concrete products –- microtoppings, overlays, stamps, colors, acid stains, dyes, water--based stains, epoxy terrazzo, etc. The choices available to buyers have expanded significantly.
- What does this list of decorative concrete benefits mean to you? When meeting prospects, get an idea of what they are looking for. Don’t immediately jump in and start to tell them about how inexpensive decorative concrete is or how it compares to other materials -– there are lots of reasons to want decorative concrete!
Jim Peterson is founder and president of ConcreteNetwork.com (www.concretenetwork.com), a website serving more than 400,000 visitors per month. He is also a principal in High Grade Form, Inc., a foundation contractor located in Perris, Calif.