For the last seven years the Metal Roofing Alliance has seen residential metal roofing sales grow at double-digit rates, doubling the market share. In fact, according to FW Dodge, 8 percent of the North American homeowners that re-roofed chose metal, which is twice as many as five years ago.
When the MRA first launched in 1998, the main component of the program was a national consumer and trade awareness campaign, which included nationally televised advertising, a Web site and a toll-free metal roofing answer line. Members of the coalition initially agreed to fund the program for a five-year period. Over that period, all of the MRA members saw their sales increase. Due to the ongoing success, the members heartily agreed to support the program for another term.
The MRA continually launches and supports programs that advance and grow the industry. "From the very beginning, one of the MRA's key objectives was to increase the number of metal roofing installers in the United States and Canada. Many roofing contractors did not realize that the metal roofing industry had changed dramatically over the last several years. There are a number of new products on the market that are easier to install and the margins on metal roofing products are very attractive," states Tom Black, executive director of the MRA.
The alliance has also created a strong online media strategy that includes the newest, most effective concepts in Web advertising and search engine placements. The success of the MRA's efforts is demonstrated by the amount of traffic the MRA Web site receives. In 2004, the site posted a 14 percent increase in visitors. The number of visitors increased from 1.3 million in 2003 to over 1.5 million in 2004. One of the most successful components of the site is the contractor-matching program, which provides homeowners in search of metal roofing with a list of contractors in their immediate area. In 2004, the response to the Find-A-Contractor program increased 40 percent from the previous year and generated over 36,885 inquiries. These statistics indicate that on average, approximately 3,000 consumer leads are generated each month.
"The MRA's guiding principles and objectives remain the same. We concentrate on speaking directly to consumers and contractors in a simplified and focused message," says Black. "Reinforcing the overall value of residential metal roofing has been the resounding theme in all of our communication efforts."
The MRA's efforts and campaigns for 2005 continue to energize the metal roofing industry and attract more manufacturers, suppliers and contractors. "We like the marketing direction the MRA is taking. The Internet strategy is cost efficient and very effective," states Todd Miller, president of Classic Products, Piqua, Ohio. "As a member of the MRA we have found that our marketing dollars go a lot further than if we attempted to do this on our own."
Recently, the MRA's efforts received national attention, when the Wall Street Journal published a comprehensive article highlighting the success of the campaign. It also explored the steel industry's outreach to consumers and metal roofing's growth potential. For example, the article sites the Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland research firm, which predicts the residential and commercial metal roofing market will grow 25 percent in five years-from $2.4 billion in 2003 to $3 billion in 2008. In other words, metal roofing will make up at least 8.4 percent of the overall roofing market by 2008.
Many in the industry attribute the growth and interest in residential metal roofing to marketing initiatives and consumer awareness campaigns the MRA has created and launched. "Before the creation of the MRA, our company promoted metal to homeowners, but we were never able to reach them on a large scale," adds Miller. "The MRA program continues to have an impact on consumer mindset. The initiatives have tremendously helped educating consumers about metal roofing being an option for their home."