Deals on Wheels: How Our Digital Advertising Helps Clients Grow Their Business

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Runningboards’ Digital Advertising Vehicle (DAV®) provides hyper-targeted brand messaging thanks to trackable, real-time ads on eye-catching LED screens.

It’s safe to say that, in 2019, digital advertising is now both non-negotiable and visible at every turn. But amidst Coca-Cola’s flashy ad spots—or even flashier moves like Burger King’s Whopper-Turned-Diamond Ring campaign to celebrate Pride Month—it can be easy for small businesses to get lost in the noise.

Enter Runningboards Marketing (RBM), a digital mobile marketing service—and the first franchise of its kind—that delivers client messaging straight to target audiences through mobile, tailored, and trackable ads on the LED-clad sides of a Digital Advertising Vehicle (DAV®). A customizable billboard on wheels? Targeted to the audience and capturing real-time analytics? That’s Runningboards.

“All business owners, no matter the size of their business, know the importance of their network,” explained RBM President and co-founder, Calvin McNeely. “If you want to activate your network and expand your reach, you need to communicate the value of your offering in compelling ways and you need that messaging to meet your audience where they are. RBM fills a void in the marketplace by giving small businesses a chance to get their stories in front of the right eyes and not lose out to the noise from big brands.”

The need for a cut-through-the-noise solution is precisely why, in 2018, Calvin McNeely and Zach Yelle founded RBM in Watertown, New York. The year before, McNeely—who had recently retired from the airport runway company he founded—chanced upon digital billboard trucks and was immediately intrigued. In all his years of business travel, he had never before encountered vehicles outfitted with digital billboards. With the benefit to small businesses top of mind, McNeely partnered with Yelle, a product and tech professional whom he’d met at church, and Runningboards Marketing was born.

In Spring of 2018, the very first DAV—pronounced “Dave”—was built on a Ford Transit chassis with three high-resolution LED screens. The concept was immediately successful and McNeely and Yelle quickly began securing subscription ads for DAV. After only a month, community interest and support was so high that RBM added a full-time driver as well as several part-time drivers and support staff. RBM also expanded the executive team, adding Franchising Director Chris Brooks in 2018 and Operations Manager Chris Mooney in 2019, as well as shared the brand stories of multi-unit owners for brands such as Orangetheory Fitness and Wendy’s. Recently, Runningboards Marketing even opened up its proven model to franchising opportunities for qualified candidates.

So just how can brands leverage the messaging power of RBM’s DAV technology? Mooney explained that, in addition to the option for bigger brands to run targeted multi-market campaigns with DAVs, RBM provides business owners a best-in-class means of marketing their offering.

“Local businesses and franchise owners don’t always have access to a large amount of capital for advertising,” explained Mooney.” So it can be tough for their brand to get noticed. RBM gives them an affordable option to disrupt that norm; to get their brand to stand out from their competition.”

No matter the strategy, then, RBM helps businesses grow by getting their messages out there in an innovative way that is impossible to ignore.

And as of this year, DAV ads are now managed in real-time thanks to RBM’s proprietary new technology platform, RBM VELOCITY. With the ability to update the graphics display from anywhere—controlling what’s displayed and when—as well as establish geo-fence areas for hyper-targeted messaging, RBM VELOCITY positions clients for high-impact messaging.

“The movement catches everyone’s attention; everyone turns and looks at the ad,” said Brooks. “No pop-up ad blockers can drown out [the] clients’ messaging and that messaging is relevant and valuable to the audience in the area.”

Not only do DAVs capture attention; they also capture data. The vehicles track location and ad run-time, among other data, integrating real-time analytics into Runningboards’ CRM and accounting software.

With its strategy in place and a current footprint of five trucks in Watertown and Syracuse, RBM is gearing up for exciting growth. With the goal of breaking into the Canadian market by the end of 2021, RMB is looking to first expand organically into Rochester, Buffalo, and the east Albany areas of New York. From there, the sky—or perhaps the gas tank—is the limit. – Katie LaTour

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