The Marble Institute of America (MIA) should use its considerable reputation and credibility to more aggressively promote the use of stone, according to MIA members participating in a March 2003 survey. The vast majority of respondents (94%) also indicated satisfaction with their MIA membership. MIA, the world's leading natural stone association with more than 1,000 members worldwide, commissioned the 2003 Member Needs Survey from Collegiate Research Services (CRS) of Oberlin, OH, to gain a better understanding of members' attitudes toward the association and its programs and activities. The study achieved a phenomenal 35% response rate. "We're delighted and very appreciative of the tremendous response and valuable input we've received from members," says Garis F. Distelhorst, MIA Executive Vice President. "Our members' satisfaction is paramount, and their needs, desires and suggestions will play a critical role as MIA continues to assess the value of current programs and activities to members and explores new options." MIA scored well in the areas of a courteous and helpful staff, positive industry image, effective leadership, technical support and clear, up-to-date communication on industry issues, Distelhorst notes. However, respondents expressed a desire for MIA to take a stronger role in promotion and advocacy of stone, and two-thirds indicated interest in a stone marketing campaign.

There were several other survey highlights as well. More than 90% of respondents are very, extremely or somewhat satisfied with their MIA membership; 96% plan to continue their membership; and 89% are likely to recommend MIA to a colleague. Additionally, more than 33% find their membership in the MIA more valuable than membership in other trade associations. The MIA's Dimension Stone Design Manual and consumer brochures received the highest ratings among MIA's publications.