Choosing The Best Automotive Advertising Agency for Your Dealership

best automotive advertising agency for car dealership

Automotive Advertising Agencies For Car & Truck Dealers

Choosing the best automotive advertising agency for your car or truck dealership is something every General Manager or Marketing Director hopes to get right. Unfortunately, without knowing what makes an advertising firm the best, it may take some businesses up to a year or more to know whether they chose well or poorly.

If you care about growth, profit, or the success of your dealership, that’s much too long. No matter which agency a dealership chooses, we believe they deserve to know what to look for in their future marketing partner.

There are many factors that make an ad agency the best for your business. Each dealer may prioritize these in a different order, but the best ad agencies typically provide a combination of these elements. 

Ad Agencies for Automotive: Key Elements for Success 

Co-Op & Compliance 

If your agency doesn’t fully understand the intricate world of automotive co-op and compliance, you’re taking a big risk. The best automotive advertising agencies have a dedicated co-op department to ensure that you get every dime of your advertising dollars available from your reimbursement program, and another team to ensure that your advertising doesn’t get flagged for expensive compliance infractions.

Target Audience Understanding

No two dealerships are identical. Even sister stores in the same market will have different PMAs, different demographics, geographies, and competitors trying to conquest their back yard. Plus, even if you’re fortunate enough to be the only OEM dealer in a 200 mile radius, you may need to work even harder to conquest customers away from cross-brand competition.

Customer Service 

The customer service you receive from your automotive ad agency is the sum total of ongoing support, assistance, and advice you need to effectively drive prospective customers to your dealership and convert them into sales and an effective price point to your bottom line. Ideally, this is done in a manner that ensures a smooth process across all operations. This includes confirming budget allocation, approving monthly creative, submitting co-op reimbursement, or needing to make a last minute change.


An ad agency is only as versatile and successful as its capabilities. This includes offering a full range of services, such as traditional media marketing, digital media marketing, strategic consultation, media planning, budget allocation, and performance analysis, to name a few essentials.

They should have a deep expertise in radio, TV, over-the-top (OTT) advertising, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC), Social Media Marketing (SMM), Email Marketing, Website Merchandising, Content Marketing, Direct Mail, and even Event Planning…not to mention knowledge and recommendations on 3rd party referral sites, such as CarGurus, Cars, Edmunds, AutoTrader, etc. Last but not least, having expertise in and access to the latest innovations will help maximize your advertising effectiveness.


Successful automotive advertising requires previous experience in the automotive marketplace. From understanding monthly incentives to seasonal buying cycles, co-op reimbursement to manufacturer compliance, and different buyer personas to customer journeys, there are many nuances that require an experienced guide.

Results & Performance

Understanding the expected results you’ll get is very important when looking for the best automotive advertising agency. You’ll want to know what the industry averages and benchmarks are, as well as where they stack up. These numbers should be available on a service by service basis.

Price to Value Ratio 

These days, most businesses understand advertising as an investment, rather than an expense. As such, most dealers expect to get more in their return-on-investment (ROI) than they spend in advertising costs. Beyond the hard numbers, an agency can bring additional value through strategic partnerships, certifications, relationships, and technology. All of this contributes to a perceived value. Generally speaking, any dealer hopes to get more in value than they pay to their ad agency. 


If an automotive ad agency has been around long enough to know the industry inside and out, then they should be able to provide credible references to their work. Many agencies rely heavily on the strength of their references to gain new business. These may be available on their website, in their social media reviews, or your may need to request them. We encourage dealers to actively seek out references in working with a future agency partner, just as you would a future employee. 

Creativity & Innovation 

When it comes to advertising, creativity and innovation can truly set an agency ahead of the competition. You shouldn’t have to ask to see this – it should already be present in their sales material and performance metrics. This should include copy writing, graphics production, video production, and overall campaign ideas. Additionally, look for ways the agency is innovating through technology on behalf of your business. These are all great indicators that they will bring that same creativity and innovation to your business. 

Speed to Market 

The last factor to consider for any dealership is an agency’s speed-to-market. In an industry often already saturated with dealerships, vehicle incentives, and brand messaging, being first to market with your monthly creative can be a game changer. Don’t settle for an agency that needs 2 weeks to get your ads up and running. A great agency should require minimal turnaround time, often the product of a highly streamlined incentive submission process. The best agencies are already starting work on next month’s incentives at the end of this month, before they even arrive from the manufacturer.

Selecting the Best Automotive Advertising Agency 

Finding the best automotive advertising agency for your business is crucial. By considering these key elements for success, you can be more confident in making an informed decision that can positively impact the revenue, profit, and growth of your dealership for years to come. Remember, partnering with the right automotive ad agency is an investment in the future success of your dealership.

Choosing the Best Automotive Advertising Agency | Team MMG