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The Impact of Community on Your Dealership's Success With Jenielle Holderfield


David Long

Jenielle Holderfield is the Digital Marketing Specialist and Community Outreach Leader for Beaver Toyota and Beaver Chevrolet, where she handles marketing, community outreach, donations, sponsorships, and the dealership's website. She is a proud recipient of the Dealer Inspire Innovation Award from Launch Digital in Chicago and was recently awarded Rotarian of the Quarter. She is also a member of the Orange Park Rotary Sunrise and became certified in Google Analytics in 2016.

Before joining Beaver Toyota, Jenielle was an On-Air Personality with Flagler Broadcasting and a Promotions Director at Renda Broadcasting. She studied Communications, Business Administration, and Advertising at Flagler College.



Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Jenielle Holderfield talks about the community outreach work she does at Beaver Toyota and the dealership's strong identity

  • How Jenielle got started in the automotive and marketing industry

  • How Jenielle measures digital success at Beaver Toyota

  • The tools Jenielle uses to help convert website visitors into leads and her daily involvement in marketing for the dealership

  • The changes Beaver Toyota made in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • The history of the Beaver Toyota mascot

  • How to get in touch with Beaver Toyota

In this episode…


To create a strong identity in the automotive industry, Beaver Toyota engages in different community outreach programs that include volunteering, donating to their local school districts, giving away a car every year, funding school and community projects, honoring teachers, and supporting the homeless and local organizations.

These actions have helped create a strong identity for the brand that sets them apart from other dealerships in the market. Their priorities have not only helped give back to their community, but have also built bonds among their team members.

Jenielle Holderfield, the Digital Marketing Specialist and Community Outreach Leader for Beaver Toyota, is this week’s guest on the InsideAuto Podcast with Ilana Shabtay and Aharon Horwitz. Jenielle explains how she manages the marketing and community outreach aspect of the dealership to give Beaver Toyota a strong identity in the industry. She also explains how she measures the dealership's digital success and the tools she uses in her work.

Resources Mentioned in this episode


Sponsor for this episode...


This episode is brought to you by AutoLeadStar, a company that helps car dealerships engage quality customers on the web and convert them into car buyers.


Co-founded by Aharon Horwitz, Yishai Goldstein, and Eliav Moshe, AutoLeadStar’s state-of-the-art software automates a dealership’s entire marketing funnel and provides around-the-clock service for dealers.


AutoLeadStar’s innovative technology helps dealerships automate ads, connect with customers, and discover ROI and performance metrics


Visit their website at www.autoleadstar.com to learn more about their around-the-clock marketing service.


Episode Transcript


Intro 0:03

Welcome to InsideAuto Podcast where we feature everyone and anyone you'd want to talk to you in and out of the automotive industry.


Ilana Shabtay 0:14

Ilana Shabtay here with Aharon Horwitz, co-hosts of InsideAuto Podcast where we interview top dealers, GMs, marketers, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in and out of the automotive industry. And before we introduce today's guest, this episode is sponsored by AutoLeadStar.com. The AutoLeadStar platform is built on a technology so powerful it allows you to market, sell and service cars as you would in the real world at scale and online making one to one matches between shoppers and inventory. AutoLeadStar is the only platform that is powered by scale, speed and specificity to change the way dealers do marketing today. All right Aharon, we are back. What's going on?


Aharon Horwitz 0:53

Yes, indeed. This is an exciting day. We are really happy to be joined today by Jenielle. Jenielle Holderfield is for us by far one of the nicest people and smartest and kind of insightful people we've met in the industry over the years. And so we're excited for her to come on. Jenielle, how are you?


Jenielle Holderfield 1:15

Good. Good. How are you doing? Thanks again for having me on this call. I really appreciate it.


Aharon Horwitz 1:19

All right, we're super excited about Chanel's background, which we'll get into a bit. But Jenielle, you are the digital marketing specialist and Community Outreach Manager at Beaver Toyota. Is that right?


Jenielle Holderfield 1:29

Correct. Yes, we have two Beaver Toyota stores and then a Beaver Chevrolet store as well. So I handle all the fun jobs, actually the marketing and all of our community outreach donations, sponsorships, the website. So a lot of the fun stuff.


Aharon Horwitz 1:45

Yeah. So we're going to talk about that. Because I think that if people were saying, Well, someone in digital marketing, does it make sense for them to also be community outreach and do something more charitable,'' there's a connection that I think is very important, and it's uncommon, and I definitely want us to talk about it. I noticed in general, that on the community outreach side, it seems like you're also very active in volunteering, you're active in some educational projects. Is that right?


Jenielle Holderfield 2:11

Absolutely. So I'm going to try my best to not ramble on but I get really, really excited about this. We do so much in our community, like you said, with our school district, we donate about $100,000 every year to our school district. And then that goes amongst, you know, different sports, different teams different. We give a car away to a teacher of the year. But one of my favorite things with the school district is funded projects. And that's basically we have all the teachers that can submit what their grants are, it could be a field trip, or maybe they just need a rug for the classroom, whatever the project is, or the item they need, we fund those. And then we bring our mascot which weekend. I'll tell you that in a little bit too. But we bring our mascot in and we tell them hey, congratulations, we're funding your project. So that's a really fun thing that we do in the community. We've given away cars to local heroes, police, firefighters, nurse teachers, and the military. So we've done a lot of that. And then we also do our acts of wow, this is really exciting. So every week we'll go out in the community and just do something while somebody will go to a restaurant and just pick up their tab and pay for their lunch or we'll go to a gas station for an hour, walk up to the different pumps and swipe our card. He says I'm swiping there. We've, what else have we done, we actually set up downtown where we serve the homeless on Fourth of July, we got our whole team out there. We brought a couple of barbecues, we cooked, we served and just something different each week getting out into the community. And yes, it's exciting. It's exciting what we get to do.


Aharon Horwitz 3:43

Yes, I find like what's so interesting about Beaver Toyota is that there's this, this kind of fusion of the character that dealers maybe had stereotypically 3040 years ago, you know, with kind of those like an oversized presence, the really creative the mascot, as you mentioned the strong identity with a sense of kind of modernity and social impact. And then with extremely impressive sort of, you know, systems and marketing it kind of all comes together into this really interesting example of like, I think it's pretty unique in the landscape. Do you guys how, how organic is this? Or how thought through is this? Like Is this a reflection of you and your you know, your team your ownership? Or is this like an actual business strategy plan that's been really thought through? I'm just curious because it's such a different kind of animal, no pun intended than what you see in most dealerships today.


Jenielle Holderfield 4:44

It's just truly who we are. Mike and Linda Beaver, the owners of Beaver Toyota and Beaver Chevrolet are good caring people, their family may have a lot of teachers in their family. That's why education is very important to them. But it's really I mean from the top down. We've had a lot of people, even people in the detail department, we've had sales people, service people come to us with, Hey, I heard about this, we should do this in the community. So it's not just one person that says we have to do this. It's everybody that built it into who we are as a Beaver family is this is who we are. This is what we do. And it's our job to give back to the community. And of course, yeah, there's two sides to it. We do get customers that may come in, because they heard what we've done in the community. But that's not the reason why we just do it. We do it because it's the right thing to do. We want to give back. And we hope that they'll pay it forward. And maybe they'll give back to somebody else as well. We'll pay for your lunch, well, maybe you pay for another person and you change their day as well. It's just who we are.


Aharon Horwitz 5:44

Yeah, that's I think it's very exciting and interesting. And a really nice model of, for me at least, why this industry is special in that it is so rooted in community in a way that many multinational or massive enterprises are not able to be. And so you have like the stores that you mentioned, some of which I've been in, they really are like community hubs. It's incredible the things that you guys do. Anyone who has not been at the coming GA location of, of the Beaver Toyota should absolutely go see it. It is incredible. From the kids area to the fire pit outside. I mean, it's unbelievable. So yeah, that I think it's very important. So Jenielle, backing out of it. Um, you know, something Ilana, and I always like to get into it is what's your origin story in auto, because everyone seems to have a different, a different take or a different path. Very few people started sort of oriented towards auto. But then once they got in, they kind of fell in love. Yeah, how did you get there? Like, what's what, how was your story?


Jenielle Holderfield 6:48

So it's a pretty funny story. So I actually went to college, I did communications broadcast track, I did minor in advertising and minor in business, and didn't really know exactly what I was going to do with my life. But I was really excited about those fields. Well, I happen to have an internship with a radio station. And long term or long story short, basically, after college, I ended up getting a job at that radio station, where I worked there for about four years. And it was great. I loved it. You know, I learned so much. I get to go to concerts all the time, meet a lot of artists, it was really fun out of college, I really learned a lot but felt like I kind of hit my peak with a company. I wasn't learning. I wasn't growing, there was just no more growth for me there. So I gave them my two weeks notice. And I was actually offered a position at another radio station, they kind of created a little position for me just part time that was in Palm Coast. And this is what actually, you know, kind of, I guess, led me to the dealership, because we were doing an event at a school and we put this back to school event on where Beaver Toyota actually sponsored the event. So meeting our sponsor, we actually shared a table together where it was Beaver Toyota slash the radio station stuff on the table. Through that partnership, I met Matt Canavan, who was the general manager of Beaver Toyota in the St. Augustine area at the time. And he kind of looked at me, we talked a little bit, I want to talk to you. And I was kind of nervous, though. Okay, what about and he ended up offering me a part time position doing what I think it was promotions, it was helping out with social media at the time. And just some of the events promotions, well, within a month, it led to a full time position. And I'll never forget the day that Matt told me, I need you to buy this keyword. And I looked at him like what do you mean by the keyword? I have no idea what that meant by a keyword. So I'm googling How do you buy a keyword I'm asking and, and I just and he finally gave me a contract for a company we use that, hey, call them up. And from there, I started to learn a little bit more about paid ads and AdWords and Google Analytics. And I just spent the next couple of months doing as much research and webinars and you're reading and get a lot of it actually did come from webinars and learning a lot of the basics of digital marketing. And I fell in love with it. And I just continue to grow from there. I've been with the company almost eight years now. And it's funny because I can remember that specific day that I worked at a radio station and I was asked by this keyword and now I'm here and I just fell in love with it.


Ilana Shabtay 9:28

So Jenielle, you learned a lot throughout the years and you really got up to speed with digital marketing for the dealership from everything from buying a keyword to managing records now. So how do you measure digital success at your dealership? What are your tools? What are some tips and tricks you can share with our listeners today?


Jenielle Holderfield 9:50

So as everybody knows, it's obviously a very tough thing to do to measure success. The ultimate goal is how many cars did you sell this month. So many different variables can use I mean, I could, date and date. And the most important thing is now how do you analyze those reports? How do you actually look at them? What are you looking for? And I think one of the most useful tools in analytics setting Google Analytics, at least, would be to set up goals. So that you know, okay, are you converting on this page or on that page and set up the goals of what's important to you, and for us, definitely any kind of conversion. So those lead form fields, and those phone calls that you get definitely tracks the success of a campaign. Looking into even deeper and analytics, some people may not be as familiar with but assisted conversions. And that really helps measure the effectiveness of some campaigns, especially with third parties, because you could see if somebody went to your autotraderrecords.com, and then came your website, and you can see those assisted conversions, now they convert on the site. But I know there's a lot of different tools out there. But I think it's just important to remember the basic tools that you have to meet those goals and those lead conversions. We do look at the quality of our website traffic as well. Are they staying on the page? Are they coming back? Are they, you know, what are they doing on the page, so even if they don't necessarily convert immediately, but you see people are continuing to come back to the page, they may convert next week or down the road? So there's a lot of different tools, I would say to actually measure success, but ultimately comes down to and then how many cards did you sell?


Aharon Horwitz 11:30

Do you see any ability to react in real time to challenges in a month? This is something I'm always like observing in autos, you know, as we work with, with dealers, and, you know, if you I mean, it's been a while now, dealers have had some really good months, but like, remember those months where it's looking really slow or bad at the end of the month, and there's like pressure to see how do you know, how do you change that that fate? Have you found tools to get that rapid reaction? Do you believe in that? Or do you feel like in the end, you're always, you know, working more strategically and less tactically, you're always working on a multi month cycle? Like, how do you approach that? That's my first question. I have another one after that follow on.


Jenielle Holderfield 12:18

So I mean, it's definitely important to be proactive, you don't want to just set a campaign and then see what happens for the month, I think is very important to keep up with, well, how are you doing this month, you need to change one of those campaigns, maybe you set a Facebook ad up, it's been running two weeks halfway through the month, and it's just not really working for you, what can we do to change that maybe it's a better offer, or a different offer, or maybe a different audience. So it's okay to tweak some campaigns throughout the month or add another one if we need to. We do have a very effective tool. It's been around for a while, but we just kind of recently started using it, where when a customer has already converted our website, they're already in our CRM in our system, and they come back to the website, then we can, we'll get our sales person will actually get a text message notifying us, hey, this customer is back on your website. So now we can proactively reach out to them. Obviously, you have to be very careful with something like that and not say, Hey, I'm following you, you're on our website. So we got to be really careful with how we approach the customer. But it's oftentimes that that customer may actually be marked as a dead lead in our system, because they haven't been interested in the vehicle. Well, now they are. So getting that notification is very, very helpful for us to proactively act on those leads that sexually I mean, it's not really a lead, but it is it is. So there's that and then like I said to tweaking any of the messaging, as we need to on on Facebook or on Google posts, we'll tweak our Google AdWords, that's something that we're always looking at it well, if there's a specific vehicle that we need to push, then maybe we add a little bit more budget to that campaign. So I think it is definitely important to make some of those adjustments throughout the month as they're needed.


Aharon Horwitz 14:07

And on that, then, is there a how involved are you in, in that aspect? Meaning? Are you using any sort of, you know, is that something you're doing with an agency on a weekly basis, daily basis? Are you in the accounts making the changes and adjusting the Facebook and the Google ads? Are you? Is it a combo? Um, and how much sort of input do you have? How much like daily or, you know, input are you putting into those adjustments that


Jenielle Holderfield 14:43

you make? Very, very involved. So I do have access to everything. And that's something that's always very, very important to me. I have a probably a two page spreadsheet with usernames and passwords. So everything's organized everything I need, I can do Photoshop and illustrator so I can create ads if I need to. And I have the ability to push those out. But we do rely a lot on our agency partners as well. I have a standing weekly call with our agency. But honestly, we text back and forth email calls to each other probably on a daily basis. I don't think I even talked to my mother as often as I talk to them. So we are definitely very, very involved in. So I think it's a combination, it's important to have that relationship and that partnership with the agencies, they do a fantastic job, but they also have a lot of other dealerships they're working for as well. And I've learned that a lot of agencies will give you as much attention as you want, when they see you are interested in it as well. They'll always do a good job for you. But some things may kind of set it and forget it. So by holding them accountable and staying on top of them and having that relationship with them, and just letting them know how much you care and that you want ideas to we love when our agencies recommend things and tell us No, I don't recommend you doing that. What are you trying to achieve here? We could do this instead, we love being told no. And we love having that debate, because it often leads to an even greater idea where we come up with together. So it's very, very important to be involved. But I guess to answer your question, we do rely a lot on them. But I'm, I also I'd like to know any changes that are being made, and I look at it on my own and recommend, hey, maybe we should change this? Or maybe we should tweak that? Or what do you think about this, and we have those conversations quite often. But I do have the ability to make changes on my own end as well as needed.


Aharon Horwitz 16:34

Got it in general, how's like the balance of, you know, in your role with the two hats that you wear, which you know, I think probably you see is a very integrated thing with the community outreach and the, you know, all kind of flows together, like how, you know, how are you seeing this year and kind of the mission that the dealership had? You know, not not so much in COVID. But now as you're coming out of COVID? Like, was there kind of a, or let's not say I know, COVID still strong, but like just kind of some light at the end of the tunnel, say in Florida, there's like, you know, we see kind of where things are going. Do you guys like gearing up for something? Or you already feel like you're in the middle of something? And how did the dealership handle that, you know, from the leadership perspective.


Jenielle Holderfield 17:19

I mean, we made a couple minor changes, you know, during COVID, as everybody has to, but honestly a lot of things because we are very proactive, and we'd like to be ahead of the game. So we already had the option where people can, you know, we'll bring the vehicle to our customers and bring it to your home, we already had those options. But we made slight adjustments to being at the promotion that a little bit more than we used to as many dealers have. We really haven't changed a whole lot though, because we've always had our AdWords campaign, We always had a small budget set up for being campaigns, we've always had our targeted Facebook ads and our YouTube ads. And we've always kind of done those things proactively. It's just the point of staying ahead of the game and being prepared and being aware of the algorithm changes or security changes, there's always some kind of changes going on anyway. So whether it's COVID or the Google algorithm change, there's always something changing that we need to stay ahead of. But overall, I mean, we haven't changed a whole whole lot other than our basic tweaking things here and there, like we've always done.


Aharon Horwitz 18:27

That it's very, very interesting. I think you guys in some ways were like, ready for a situation like this in ways that, you know, probably were very helpful during those months.


Jenielle Holderfield 18:38

I do appreciate that. And I mean, yeah, we definitely try our best to be prepared for anything. I mean, this is something that nobody gets prepared for.


Aharon Horwitz 18:49

But people know that being oriented, community oriented, sort of flexible. I mean, it's it kind of is like the grit you need to get through a situation like what we what we have, you know,


Jenielle Holderfield 19:01

Absolutely, we came up with some ideas. And like I said, it's not always coming from management, it could be a sales person or service advisor, many different people at the dealership had these ideas, people would just start cleaning without having to be told they just know what needs to get done. But in our service department we started something where we partnered with the police department, and they knew about this very quickly where we allowed them to come in and we completely cleaned out their car for them. And we just wanted to keep any of the germs out. And I don't know all the specific details. But I know it was a lot more than just vacuuming out the car, they cleaned up. And they pushed a lot of those germs out. And we literally had a line of police cars at the dealership. And those are the little things that make a huge difference that just have to adapt to and that kind of goes back to what we were talking about earlier where our community oriented family minded team is from the top down every single person has that mindset to come up with these ideas. I mean, I didn't think That and somebody in the service department did because that's the area that they're in and so having everybody guess what to stay up with these terrible times you know, and they make the adjustments that we need


Ilana Shabtay 20:15

I think that's what made me very successful be so successful also because we talked a lot on this podcast about how dealerships were orienting digitally but you are positioned your dealership was positioned so well in the community that the even just the trust that you had from your buyers and your shoppers and your client and your clients helped with just surviving through through those tough months. So I think that's an important lesson to take away. And I know we touched just a touch on this in a way beginning you know, you mentioned something about your mascot, and I'd love to know if you can share the history of Beaver mascot with us today. It's just such a strong one. And I love that you said you deliver cars or go go to your go to schools and you'll you'll have the air will tell us a little bit about that and


Jenielle Holderfield 21:03

how that plays a role. Yes, so Bucky Beaver is our mascot. Everybody loves Bucky Beaver. He was actually created about 24 years ago in our Santa Fe store. We had that store prior to the St. Augustine store but decided to close that one down just to make it easier to keep everything in the area Florida, Georgia and have them closer where Mike and Linda Beaver can be involved. They're very involved in the dealership, they're not just you know, it's tough to be traveling back and forth. But anyways, going back to Bucky. So he started at the Santa Fe store. And they basically I mean, the biggest criteria was that they wanted a smiling happy, friendly Beaver. So they ended up going through probably about six to eight different artists before they found that perfect Bucky Beaver that just felt right. They didn't want one that was creepy, you're angry, you're gonna scare a little kid, they just needed to have that perfect look. And obviously, the name kind of came from budgie because he has, you know, but the Beaver had too big front teeth and just needed to be smiling and appealing to everybody. And it's actually really funny. You can look on our Facebook pages to see pictures of them everywhere. But it's not just the kids that love him. The adults do too. I literally have pictures where we're at a festival and a group of bikers put their bikes down and they kind of ran over. They're covered in leather and tattoos and like, oh, a buggy and they got really excited to take a picture with them. We have pictures of Bucky vivre everywhere. I mean, he's in the gym working out. He's playing golf. I have pictured him in a barber shop and driving the golf cart, which was a little bit scary, but he just really is around the community around the town. Everybody knows and loves Bucky Beaver from kids to adults to everybody. Does. He really stands out.


Ilana Shabtay 22:52

Good branding.


Aharon Horwitz 22:53

Fantastic. Oh, wow. That's great. Great story. Actually, it's a good note, I think Ilana for us to wrap Jenielle with that story, because like, you know, it's an iconic, iconic mascot by now.


Ilana Shabtay 23:05

Yeah, and everyone. Check out Bucky Beaver on Beaver Toyota's facebook page. I don't know if you guys have an Instagram Do you know?


Jenielle Holderfield 23:14

We do with Instagram and Twitter as well. Then if you go to any of our websites, you can see all the links to our social media on there. It's just fun. Everybody loves them.


Aharon Horwitz 23:25

Yeah, me generally, around a Beaver store. Just stop in because it's fun. And that's I think it's a great experience to stop. And I think everyone will appreciate that. Jenielle is so fun. We really appreciated your time and enjoyed the conversation. Thank you for joining us.


Jenielle Holderfield 23:43

No, thank you very much. I enjoyed this.


Aharon Horwitz 23:46

Oh, yeah. So listen, for all of our listeners. The content is coming fast and furious, right Ilana? We're doing great here. We are Jenielle Holderfield from Beaver Toyota today and we've got some cool things coming up. So everyone will stay tuned. You know, where can people find our podcasts? And how can they subscribe? Subscribe


Ilana Shabtay 24:07

Subscribe on any mainstream podcast app. Really we're on all them - I Heart, Apple, and Spotify. You could find all the links from Insideautopodcast.com. So please subscribe and tune in if you'd like this episode, and Jenielle, thank you so much for joining us today.


Aharon Horwitz 24:25

Yeah. Send us a picture and we will get it up. It's gonna go up on our link on our channels as well. So all right, here we are. We're gonna say goodbye for now. Thanks to everyone. Jenielle, thank you and we look forward to next time. Take care everybody.


Jenielle Holderfield 24:42

Thank you very much. Bye.


Outro 24:47

Thanks for listening to InsideAuto Podcast. Check out our other episodes with top entrepreneurs and industry leaders.








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