The brand’s state-of-the-art Digital Advertising Vehicle (DAV®) targets audiences through mobile, customizable and trackable ads.
In today’s marketing landscape, digital marketing is king. But with all the brands posting advertisements across radio, podcasts, television and online, it can be difficult to stand out from the noise—especially when it comes to small businesses.
That’s why Runningboards Marketing (RBM) is paving its own way. The first franchise of its kind, RBM drives client messaging straight to target audiences through mobile, customizable and trackable ads on the sides of a Digital Advertising Vehicle (DAV®). RBM helps businesses grow by getting their messages out there—messages that are impossible to ignore. And for franchisees, RBM presents a turnkey model that is simple to follow and easy to manage.
Pronounced “Dave,” each DAV provides myriad advantages to franchisees looking to distinguish themselves from traditional marketing and advertising routes. From corporate ads to political campaign messages to public marriage proposals, DAV is a revolutionary way to catch the eye of whomever the client is trying to reach, wherever they may be.
Based in Watertown, New York, Runningboards Marketing was founded in 2018 by Calvin McNeely and Zach Yelle. After stumbling upon digital billboard trucks, McNeely, who retired in 2016 from Hi-Lite, the airport runway company he’d founded, was instantly intrigued. He also knew that Yelle, who did tech production at their shared church, would be the perfect business partner for the endeavor.
Born on April 10, 2018, the very first DAV was built on a Ford Transit chassis with three high-resolution LED screens. The concept was successful right off the bat, quickly generating interest and support. After a few months of growing the RBM staff, McNeely reached out to Chris Brooks, a former colleague who had recently become an independent franchise consultant. Brooks introduced RBM to major advisors and lawyers in the industry and eventually came on board as Franchising Director.
As of this year, ads on DAV are now even managed in real-time thanks to a cutting-edge technology platform called RBM VELOCITY. With the ability to update the graphics display from anywhere and set up geo-fence areas as well as a more robust tracking and reporting system, the franchise has notably elevated itself over other companies that must accomplish this manually.
“We do subscription advertising and special events in the community to help businesses grow,” said Brooks. “Most of the time we have two advertisements running at the same time and changing every six seconds. We select noncompeting businesses that rotate ads for two hours and then RBM VELOCITY automatically pulls the next two clients.”
DAV’s high-resolution LED displays are impossible to ignore as they cruise down the road. In fact, DAV is able to be driven straight to wherever the targeted recipients work, hang out or live.
“The movement catches everyone’s attention; everyone turns and looks at the ad,” said Brooks. “No pop-up ad blockers can drown out your clients’ messaging.”
The software that RBM has developed manages the whole business while integrating with a CRM and automatically tracking location and time for insight-rich analytics. The team provides detailed training and support so that every franchisee learns how to manage the platforms with expert care.
“We train on how to troubleshoot DAV and provide plenty of spare parts. It’s a very plug-and-play franchise model,” explained McNeely. “We’ll also teach owners how to upload graphics—including the ins and outs of what makes a good graphic, what fits well and how to ensure that ads are not too wordy.”
With its franchising strategy in place, Runningboards Marketing is gearing up for exciting growth. The brand plans to sell five franchises in 2019 and scale quickly from there based on its never-before-seen business model. 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.
The ideal Runningboards Marketing franchisee is a self-starter with a willingness to learn. Those with a background in marketing, advertising or sales are especially encouraged to apply for ownership. “Our franchisees are eager to leverage their network and skills in order to grow their business locally,” added McNeely.
And with no brick and mortar business to build or lease, new franchisees can get up and running as quickly as three to four weeks.
“We are community-based and we are pre-building DAV units—so we can close deals fast,” said McNeely. “Runningboards really is the first of its kind in the franchise industry.” – Emily Clouse
Start-up costs for a Runningboards Marketing franchise range from $70,500 to $255,200. RBM accommodates a variety of investor models, from active owner-operators to semi-absentee candidates with $50,000 in liquid capital and a net worth of $150,000. Key territories for development should have a population of around 125,000 people.