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Intl. Marble Industries, Inc. Creates New Opportunities Through Marketing and Innovation Print
  1. Exporting stand-alone luxury tubs to European distributors. The tubs include a "carved out of stone" Roman-type design which he developed by casting two tubs and fitting them together to create an integral overflow system in the middle. The design was further fine-tuned into a one-piece tub with a built-in overflow. Today those tubs represent one-quarter of his business with European distributors.

  2. Manufacturing specialty products for the remodeling industry. IMI created a custom shower base that can be incorporated into other products, allowing specialty remodelers to sell additional products to customers at increased profit.

  3. Developing unique wall panels for the hospitality industry, offering small samples within a week through rapid prototyping for initial approval by the customer.

  4. Supplying finished product for other cast polymer manufacturers allowing them to offer a broader range of products than their current tooling allowed. Some stopped manufacturing altogether and focused on selling and installing.

  5. Supplying finished product to single-family home builders.



IMI fully appreciates the need for better marketing in today's business environment. "You need to let people know what your capabilities are, or it doesn't matter what you have to offer" according to Dirk. IMI utilizes e-marketing,  CMR software, and has marketing materials ready to go for each and every new product brought to market.  They also test markets a new concept in particular geographic areas before mass marketing it and gauges customer reactions.  Dirk admits sometimes results can be underwhelming, but when something "hits"  it can be equally overwhelming! "The results can be phenomenal," raves Dirk.

"Regional manufacturers should work together more closely," says Dirk, "playing to their strengths, whether those be manufacturing, marketing, shipping, or installing.  This would allow small local providers to keep working in today's regulatory environment."

He adds, "We need to be open to new processes and market them properly.  We also need to manage business relationships.  Let your customers know what you can do for them.  Stay in touch as often as possible.  We need to ask for the order!  We can't just sit and wait for the phone to ring.  We all need to be more proactive."