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Five Signs You Need a New Marketing Agency at Your Dealership

Updated: Mar 21

Whether you have worked with your current agency for five months or five years, when is it time to pull the plug and hire a new automotive marketing agency? Is it a gut feeling? Is the agency not connecting with you and your philosophies or business goals? Do you feel you no longer have common ground? Are you no longer making market share strides that were once very evident, yet your team has remained the same? Has your Account Manager been changed time and time again? These are just a handful of examples that clients have shared with me when they hired CBC.

I would like to offer five reasons it may be time to make for the emergency exit and find a new marketing agency for your dealership or group.

1. Lack of Integrity

Integrity and trust are often seen as interchangeable. The qualities of being honest and having strong moral principles lead to trust, but one needs integrity to get there. It’s imperative for an agency to have integrity to their core. How many times has your advertising agency been overpaid or paid twice for the same invoice? (Hint: it happens often!) Does your agency’s office manager cut a check back to you? Does your agency’s office manager call you and ask if you want a credit? This is integrity, which helps lead to trust. If you aren’t receiving these types of calls or emails from your agency at least occasionally, you may want to look into it further.

2. Lack of Trust

The power of trust cannot be overstated.  Trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or an entity. Trust is earned by constantly doing the right thing for a client even when it is detrimental to the agency’s billings. Trust is earned when an agency turns down the opportunity to work with another client in the same market in the same vertical. Trust is earned when the agency calls a client first to inform them of a mistake before they learn of it themselves, and the Account Manager takes full responsibility, no matter who made the mistake. No excuses…just action taken to make the mistake right. As we all know, actions speak louder than words. We’re all human, so mistakes happen. But if your agency isn’t proactive and likes to point fingers rather than take responsibility for making things right, then perhaps it’s time to look elsewhere.

3. Over-Promising / Under-Delivering

This is where many agencies fall flat on their faces, whether it is with digital advertising, traditional media, market share projections, etc. This action will break up any relationship over time. If your current agency habitually overpromises and doesn’t deliver, you do not need them on your team. We have a saying here at CBC, “Don’t under-promise, but be honest and accurate in what you do promise. And then strive to over-deliver on it.” This is what we also preach to our clients in their advertising approaches; to advertise with honesty and integrity, then deliver (and strive to over-deliver) upon the advertised promises. This creates long-term relationships and loyalty. If your agency isn’t exceeding your expectations, or perhaps isn’t even delivering on their promises at all, it’s probably time to look for a different agency.

4. Lack of Data & Research

Does your current marketing agency provide research data on your customers’ media habits? I don’t mean just your Google Analytics or the various dashboards for your digital advertising. All agencies should be providing those digital specifics, but what about asking your customers about their own various media habits?  Do they watch the local news? If yes, which station? Do they listen to public radio or subscribe to SiriusXM? Which social media platforms do they utilize online (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, TikTok)? What types of mobile devices do they use? By combining media habits research data with digital analytics, your agency is enabled to better target customers for you, and help cut waste in your marketing budget. If your agency isn’t performing daily research of your own customers in your store and then analyzing it in a meaningful way, then either get them to start, or start looking for a new agency.

5. Lack of Creative Ideas

If there was ever one agency attribute that clients have told me they cherish, it is ideas. Ideas are the seedlings to the best marketing strategies and long-lasting campaigns. I’m not referencing the “idea du jour” strategy where every month is a completely new type of ad. I am referring to a well thought out plan of action based upon a client’s UMP (Unique Marketing Position) and bringing a campaign to market consistently over time. I do not remember how many times a client has said, “it’s time to change up our creative” only to have them ask to revert back to what already had made them successful 30-60 days later. Consistency is king. Perhaps most important is that your advertising agency needs to be driving your creative bus, not the other way around. If you feel like you’re always the one going to your agency with ideas, not the other way around, then it’s probably time to consider a new agency. And if you’ve ever gotten the “what do you want to do this month?” call from your agency, then it’s definitely time to cut bait.

When reading the above, did you have any “a-ha!” moments where it sounded like you? Then it may be time for you to begin your search for a new automotive marketing agency. When you feel you have landed upon the agency to take you forward, make sure you and your new agency treat each other like partners, not vendor/client. The right agency wants to be a part of your business, and will work tirelessly for you. Here are some testimonials from CBC clients who will attest to that.

If this article resonates with you, then take the next step. Reach out to us below, and let’s have a conversation.

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