ATLANTIC, Iowa — Ray Armstrong is quite the marketer, according to a story in a recent issue of Heil’s “Dealer Link.” If he wasn’t the owner of Armstrong Plumbing & Heating Inc., he might have embarked on a career in marketing.

He said the key to competing for business in a small Midwestern town is to “try to advertise in different ways. We want our ads to grab your attention right away and hold you.”

Armstrong has been in business for 33 years in this town of 7,000 people. He believes in reaching people where he lives and since there are a lot of auto racing fans in the community, he advertises his business on stock cars. At a recent high school homecoming parade, Armstrong entered his company float, which featured a very creative theme. He painted an old claw foot bathtub in the school colors, complete with a “Tony the Tiger” dummy to represent the opposing team and “soaked” the tiger throughout the parade with a shower operated by a recirculating pump.

He recently planted a 70-foot row of tulips in the team colors of the Iowa State Cyclones in front of his business sign. “When the tulips come up next spring, it will be a striking sight that catches the eye,” he added.

He also plans to get his message out by mailing out his own “Welcome Wagon” type of letter. He can get the names of newcomers from the local Chamber of Commerce. He plans to put a letter of introduction with facts about his company and include some pictures of his trucks and employees.

Publication date: 02/24/2003