Marketing for natural stone (1): A better argument than durability over millions of years is its value stability

People are fascinated by the durability of the stones, like here at the Hito Conmemorativo Comisión Pehuenche in the Andes between Chile and Argentina. But: is that the best argument to sell natural stone? Photo: Filipe Figueroa

During the Corona pandemic, private consumers invested more than usual in modernizations with natural stone because it is a safe haven

As part of the Xiamen Stone Fair 2023, Peter Becker of gave a lecture on current marketing for natural stone. The target audience was the stone sector in China. In several articles we publish some aspects.

When it comes to natural stone, the extraordinary durability of the material plays a major role in public relations. The millions of years speak for themselves when the forces of nature formed the stone of today.

However, one must ask the question: are millions of years an argument that really guides the potential customer at the moment of purchase decision? Do 100 million years, for example, sell better than 10 million?

Or are they more likely to be effective in the run-up to the decision, creating emotion and thus drawing the consumer’s attention to the exceptional material?

However, there is another temporal argument that actually influences the customer’s decision to buy. It is the extraordinary value stability of natural stone: whoever buys, for example, a kitchen countertop made of granite or marble tiles for the living room, increases the value of his real estate not only for a while but permanently, even over generations.

Natural stone retains its value, this overall fashions, and trends.

This also means: what you spend on modernization with stone or the acquisition of
stone, you will get it back, at the latest when the property is sold.

Formulated in the categories of the financial world, this means: the acquisition of natural stone does not cause costs (which one does not get back) but is an investment (which pays off).

Few materials or products have comparable value stability. The best known are precious stones or jewelry. Precious metals, on the other hand, are subject to fluctuations.

Consumers obviously know this, and they see natural stone as a safe haven for
their possessions. The Corona pandemic proved this: in 2020 and 2021, the demand for marble, granite, etc. from private parties increased enormously because, due to the lockdown, people suddenly had money free that they would normally have spent on travel, pleasure, or culture.

And although uncertainty was in the air at the time, citizens did not leave their money in the bank, but invested it in the stone embellishment of their homes and apartments.

The general new appreciation for the home also played a role in these decisions. However, it was striking how many citizens chose natural stone among the alternatives.

In Massa, a neighboring town to Carrara, you can’t get tired of looking even at the curbs.

The emotional value of marble, granite, etc. was also important, and stone also fulfills the customer’s desire for a feeling of well-being in the long term: people do not get tired of looking at it but enjoy the purchase every day anew.

The US Natural Stone Institute (NSI) had already pointed out the value stability of natural stone and the associated purchasing behavior in September 2020, i.e., only about three-quarters of a year after the pandemic had broken out in Wuhan.

At the time, NSI’s Cutting Edge magazine still stated, with a cautious undertone, “It appears that after a few moments of fear in March and April, the average homeowner has decided to put their money to work in their own backyard.“ In the U.S., is said, a steady stream of work has been coming into fabrication stores, and some NSI members have even been forced to turn work away.

The same was observed in industrialized nations around the world.

Obviously, consumers everywhere are aware of the stable value of natural stone – if the sector were to go into marketing with this argument, it would be knocking down open doors.

This is not enough of the temporal aspects of stone that can be used for selling: Patina is another word for value stability and means that even a stone with signs of age does not become unsightly.

Patina characterizes the marble flooring in downtown Verona.

This is true for public spaces. The marble pavement in Verona’s old town is a famous example.

For the private sphere, of course, it does not apply – scratched marble tiles in the bathroom give no one pleasure.

Here, however, the value stability is shown by the fact that the material can be refurbished with little effort.

Then it is like new again and remains as much value as it was at the beginning for quite some time.

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(03.07.2023, USA: 07.03.2023)