InterviewMay 8th, 2023

Meet Ed Steenman


Owner, Steenman Associates

The Start

Growing up in Hawaii, I had the unique opportunity to intern at a local radio station at just 14 years old; I was the youngest disc jockey on the island. During high school and college, I became semi-famous in a small island community where there were only two rock stations.

A girl came along and changed my story, leading me to move to Portland, Oregon. I was an on-air talent on one station while selling radio ads for another. After a year, I decided to focus on the sales aspect, which ignited my love for media and advertising.

With an MBA in statistics, I have both creative and business sides to my personality. This led me to work in an agency environment where I could be a voice talent and copywriter while also selling and working with clients. I was immediately drawn to the automotive space and enjoyed working with auto dealers. They understood the value of advertising, relationship building was at the core, and they had good budgets.

The Foundations

After working for a few agencies and a brief partnership, I decided to venture out on my own with my Macintosh 512K in a luggable bag. I set up shop in Seattle, and through persistence and hard work, I've built a successful career in advertising. At the time, advertising was simpler, with a few ads on radio, TV, or newspapers being enough to drive sales. However, the advertising landscape has since evolved, with an emphasis on omnichannel touchpoints, attribution, and extensive data analysis.

Although the advertising industry has become more complex and heavily analyzed, creativity remains at its core. Successful advertising campaigns must still break through the noise with engaging, innovative content rather than relying on overused, dull approaches. My mission has always been to brand dealerships differently, focusing on their involvement in the community rather than just selling cars.

The Wins

"Running my own firm, having great partners and clients, and seeing the results of my work have been the most rewarding aspects of my career"

No one can be an expert in everything, so having talented individuals like art directors, SEO partners, and videographers on my team has been essential. Working with great clients has been another source of satisfaction. The best clients are those who believe in the process, trust me and my team, and give us the freedom to create innovative work. These wins and the opportunity to work closely with businesses and dealership principals have been the driving force behind my passion for this industry. These moments of success are what continue to motivate me every day.

The Future

"The future of the automotive business has been shaped by the accelerated shift towards online shopping, changing advertising strategies, and the convergence of data and video."

COVID-19 accelerated the trend toward online shopping in the automotive industry. This change has made it even more critical for dealerships to have effective advertising in place. Messaging found online must be on point and do much of the heavy lifting that used to happen in the dealerships. Concurrent to that change, a significant evolution has also happened in the way people consume video content. The rapid increase in cord-cutting away from traditional television to streaming platforms like Hulu, Pluto and others has opened up significant new and exciting opportunities to reach in-market automotive shoppers more precisely than ever before.


Ed loves learning. He and his team have worked hard to develop in-depth knowledge and experience with all major streaming services and platforms as well as developing their own proprietary technology stack and direct bidding capabilities for OTT advertising. This, coupled with full transparency and a long history of creating exceptional video content for dealers, places Steenman in a unique position to continue to super-serve this business with new and innovative video advertising solutions for years to come.

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