Ryan Holtz

February 20, 2017

How does a self-described homebody who’s “not even a car guy” become an international automotive marketing expert? We wanted to figure out Ryan Holtz and he was kind enough to help us out. We chatted about staying real, staying balanced, and staying human in the digital world with a #YEG talent who’s even brighter than his socks.

You are known across the nation, and even internationally, as THE automotive dealer marketing expert. How did you get started? What brought you into such a unique niche market?

I have always had a fascination with how people make the choices that they make. Marketing is just that: understanding the “why” behind every need. I’m not even a “car guy” at all, I’m just obsessed with what people want and why.

Did you ever have an “aha!” moment one day that sparked your idea to become a marketing force, public speaker and trainer? When did you decide to turn your passion into a business?
I have been an entrepreneur since before it was cool. I remember being in high school with a very promising football career ahead and thinking, “what do I want to be when I grow up?” All the university and college offerings, they never fit me. I never really found the right box to check. I knew I had to create my own career and being an entrepreneur is one of the best ways to execute that.

You have already won several awards and been featured in countless publications, as well as on Breakfast TV and Global TV. Where do you feel you had your big break as a business owner? What has been one of your proudest moments?
One of my proudest moments was when I did a social media promotion called Share Your Story. There was a Ronald McDonald House family member who came from very humble beginnings and her little boy had been in and out of the Stollery Hospital for several surgeries. She ended up winning a vehicle and I got to present it to her. I thought to myself: “Yes! Someone who is in need finally got a blessing delivered.” As for my big break as a business owner, I would say it came when my marketing work was featured in a case study alongside Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.


Don’t sell, but rather build relationships.


From a marketing perspective, so much has changed over the past 10 years with the introduction of social media and all the distractions a consumer has in this day and age. What do you feel is the key to success from an individual’s or a corporate standpoint in terms of business?
I have one statement that I will quote from Vice founder Shane Smith: “Young people have been marketed to since they were babies, they develop this incredibly sophisticated bullshit detector, and the only way to circumvent the bullshit detector is to not bullshit.”

Your automotive marketing training has expanded beyond automotive to healthcare and even fashion and real estate. When you look at your students from all of these different industries, is there a challenge that you observe across the board?
Yes, I believe it comes down to self-awareness and the ability to really wrap our minds around how much we as humans have changed the way we communicate subconsciously.

What would be the 5 tips that you would give to our readers to help them succeed in their careers and in everyday life?
Be yourself. Be self-aware. LOVE WHAT YOU DO. Invest in people. Have fun.

We see that you are very much involved in community, participating in events and working with the Ronald McDonald House. Can you tell us more about your current projects? Are there are any upcoming community initiatives that you are excited about?
Yes! I love the Ronald McDonald House. I also have my own grassroots initiative called #Dreams4Kids that raises money for kids who need things like swimming lessons, hockey & football equipment, or access to a gym. My whole focus is to keep it grassroots and avoid as much red tape as possible so the kids get what they need directly.


Be yourself. Be self-aware. LOVE WHAT YOU DO. Invest in people. Have fun.


Can you tell us about your first gig as a speaker? Were you nervous and how did you overcome this?
Good question! One of my first gigs with a larger crowd was in Dallas, Texas and I was nervous as hell! I still get nervous, but what calms me is preparation and humour. Of course, my wife, son, and pets are in my brain, along with my mother who passed away. I feel the good vibes and support.

You have great style and you are not shy to feature vibrant colours in your everyday wardrobe. What inspires your style and where is your favourite local place to shop?
It is no secret that I have a weird and sick addiction to socks—so much that my business card is literally a plastic sock! A lot of my style depends on my mood, but I also get a lot of inspiration from when I travel. If my body is the canvas, then my clothes are the paint. Fave local place to shop? Hmm, I could get in trouble for that answer hahaha!

Is there a book that you would recommend that inspired, influenced or helped to motivate you?
Purple Cow by Seth Godin. You have to be remarkable!



There are so many great motivational speakers, trainers and innovators from the likes of Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris, Lewis Howes, to Robin Sharma. Is there an individual or speaker who really resonates with you and who you would recommend?
I love Eric Thomas & Angela Ahrendts.

What words of wisdom would you give to anyone looking to get started in becoming a trainer / public speaker?
Don’t sell, but rather build relationships.

How do you find balance in your life? Do you have any hobbies or activities you like to do outside of your work? How do you wind down and blow off steam?
I’m a homebody and I love my family. I love hot yoga. I don’t look at it as winding down because being an entrepreneur is in my DNA. This is not work to me, I’m having fun and enjoying the adventure. I come from very humble beginnings so I am SO THANKFUL for every opportunity I get.


I think it is important to be real. Do not let perfection hinder you, but intent is EVERYTHING.


Are there any resources or apps that help you stay organized in your daily life? What would you recommend to our readers?
Evernote and my calendar. And I gotta give a shout out to Siri, she keeps me in check! My offline app would be my wife, she is amazing and keeps me going!

Do you think living in Edmonton has shaped you in any way?
When it comes to business, I think our environment and upbringing has a ton to do with it. I love Edmonton because it is a city where I have had my darkest days and also my brightest and I think that is what living is all about. I come from very humble beginnings—my mom, who was a single mom, passed away when I was 13. I have met many people from YEG with amazing stories full of adversity and triumph. Anybody that has a dream can get it, but as the saying goes, the hustle is sold separately.

If you could bring one thing from anywhere in the world to Edmonton, what would it be?
A round trip flight to anywhere in the world so every single Edmontonian could experience the different flavours that the rest of the world has to offer.



What is your favourite restaurant or coffee shop in town?
I’m not much of a coffee shop guy. I make my own espresso—it saves time! Fave restaurant would be Absolutely Edibles, but I don’t know if it’s still open.

If you had to pick a favourite place in Edmonton to take a breather, let loose, or to soak up the city, where would it be? And why?
Any dog park as I LOVE animals! Being with them takes me to a place that cannot be explained by words.

What’s next for Ryan? What are you currently excited about? Are there any new projects in the works?
My company Ryan Holtz Marketing Consulting & Training is celebrating two and a half years in business and I’m proud to say that every one of our clients has been a referral. I’m always looking to grow professionally and personally. My one focus right now is DISRUPTION.

Thanks for chatting with us, Ryan! Any parting words for us?
I think it is important to be real. Do not let perfection hinder you, but intent is EVERYTHING.


Instagram: @RyanHoltz1
Facebook: Ryan Holtz Marketing


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