Monday, December 30, 2019

Kale, Avocados and the Modular Construction Industry

Growing up in the 1960's in rural Pennsylvania meant I never ate Kale, Avocados or Acai Berries. Not only did I never eat them, I never even heard of them.

Fast forward to today and every Millennial and every married Boomer’s wife knows the benefits of those three obnoxious fruits and vegetables and want to share it with their friends and their husbands.

Let’s be real honest here. Kale tastes like tough spinach that is past its expiration date. In fact, kale was originally the perfect winter food for pigs, providing ample amounts of vitamins and fiber which makes them feel fuller longer.

Avocados almost have to be added to something else so that we don’t gag on them. And what are Acai and why are their berries so important?

Kale, like the acai berry and avocado before it, are the latest foods to capture the nation's collective appetite. Touted for its nutritious value, the leafy green seems to be finding its way into all kinds of concoctions – and will likely do so until the next big food trend sweeps through.

The three do have something in common that is missing from the modular housing industry.

They all have marketing boards!

American Kale Association

Those board’s sole job is to take something that can be grown in dirt that won’t support real fruit and vegetable production and convince us that they are the next great discovery to improved health. Kale farmers must be laughing all the way to the bank.

Subway restaurants recently featured Avocado slices on their sandwiches and people ate them and said how good they tasted all the while trying to hold back their gag reflexes. The Sandwich Artist at my local Subway told me they threw out more than they used because so few people ordered them.

So what does that have to do with the modular housing industry?


What do you think would happen if all the modular home factories actually got together and started a marketing board? The log home industry has one, the Kale farmers have one.

My God, there’s even a Red Raspberry Marketing Council.

So the next time you see a Kale disposal recipe on TV or a bean sprout, turnip green and avocado sandwich on the menu, just remember, they all have marketing councils but the modular housing industry doesn't.

Now that's "food for thought!"


Dusty said...

Threw me for a loop for a second there Gary, but I agree 100%! I think that a marketing board for the modular industry would be invaluable to its growth and increasing popularity. Great read!

Anonymous said...

Coach, MHBA has the Consumer Awareness Program that collects $10 per module from participating MHBA members. If the industry ships let say 20,000 homes per year, that would equate to approximately 50,000 modules/floors (avg. of 2.5 floors per home) which would provide around $500,000 of CAP money for MHBA to use to market our industry.

First question is, how many units does our industry ship nationwide per year? Second questions is, how many member participate in the CAP program? Third questions is, what is that money being used for today? Forth question is, how do we get more members to participate in the program? Fifth questions is, how do we raise enough money to make the program a legitimate national industry marketing avenue?

Coach said...

Those are questions are best answered by the MHBA. Speculating on what is actually happening with the CAP is not good when the answers are readily available to members.

I believe their CAP marketing is the only national program out there. However it has limited exposure.

Tom Hardiman said...

Coach, you are correct that it has limited exposure, mainly due to a lack of participation. I read your blog regularly and wince regularly at the anonymous criticisms posted about why the industry can't grow. Its all self inflicted! MHBA has a Consumer Awareness Program as accurately described above. We have 9 manufacturers participating and generate about $30,000 or so a year. With that limited amount of funding, we do a lot of online advertising (adwords, Facebook, etc). We also do a lot of press releases and just started doing targeted radio spots. We will continue with the radio spots in 2020.

Challenges: 1) The 9 manus supporting it are getting a little burned out by carrying the water for those not supporting it. Heck, a good start would be for ALL the modular home manufacturers to actually join the association, and THEN consider supporting the CAP marketing initiative. 2) "We want to see results before we support it." Well, the results won't come without the support!

I think there is a great deal of "trust issues" in this industry, perhaps all well founded. We do not work well as a cohesive industry. It makes it quite frustrating when the ONLY trade association dedicated exclusively to this industry has such trouble getting modular manufacturers and builders to support the cause.

My management team also runs the commercial trade association Modular Building Institute (or MBI). Its membership is at historic highs. MBI has a similar marketing program and it brings in about $150k a year (it could be more as well).

Maybe a good New Years resolution for any company in the modular home industry is to support the only trade association that represents your interests. But I'm not looking for handouts. MHBA can make a legitimate business case for you to join. Just set aside the excuses and approach the possibility of membership with an open mind.

Thanks for the soap box and Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

As a manufacture that does belong to MBHA and also supports the Cap Marketing Initiative, I total agree that we as an industry all need pull together collectively to support our industry association. United we stand, divided we fall! A good New Year Resolution would be for every manufacture and builder in our industry to unite together by joining and supporting MBHA.

Scott Stroud said...

So... what's happened since this was first published nearly a year and a half ago? Complete disruption courtesy of COVID; a renewed urgency for new homes, particularly factory-built homes, and massive backlogs at factories. That would tend to make us think we don't need marketing right now, but nothing would be further from the truth! As a long-time marketing professional who has passionately served this industry for 25+ years, I'm all-in for a concerted, coordinated marketing effort that promotes a unified message. SIGN ME UP!