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Have you ever wondered who is behind some of the most successful marketing campaigns on the Internet (or utter failures like the tone-deaf Pepsi commercial starring Kendall Jenner)?
Why do some brands continuously push the boundaries and innovate while others grow stale?
The hard truth is that marketing as we know it is both different today and increasingly unpredictable in the future when compared to “what got us here”. Marketing and business development channels that rely on email or social media, for example, are only a couple decades old, and still haven’t reached their full potential as avenues for business growth. Then there’s conversations to be had about VR headsets, Messenger bots, interplanetary travel, and the role that marketing will play as the sci-fi dreams of Silicon Valley’s elite become reality.
This is where Kleinert breaks free from the pack of marketing consultants out there. He’s literally “grown up marketing”, and as early as 15 began the first of his own businesses. Despite never attending college or getting a “normal job”, he’s built a world-class network (and been named USA Today’s “Most Connected Millennial), written award-winning books on entrepreneurship, and made a name for himself among the top experts in the world who hire him because he knows no different other than to market himself and sell his services in that hungry, tenacious way that reminds older folks of their younger selves.
Getting Off To A Fast Start.
Kleinert began his marketing firm Kleinert Ventures at 18 when he brought on his first-ever client – a #1 NYT bestselling author and former Fortune 500 CMO. Since then, Kleinert and his team have helped companies accelerated by 500 Startups to break crowdfunding records, Forbes 30 Under 30 honorees raise more money, and successful seven-figure businesses bring on new clients in a rush.
Part of supporting successful businesses and top thought leaders, which are the core types of clients Kleinert and his team work with, is understanding the inherent value someone like Kleinert could bring to the table for leaders who are willing to try something new and become “experimental” with their marketing.
“I grew up differently than most peers my age,” he explains. “Instead of spending years of my time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in school, I defaulted to being different by not subscribing to what everyone else is doing. The same is true in my marketing advice and, thankfully, the results we’re earning for our clients speak for themselves.” And they do. One of Kleinert Ventures’ clients generated $282,000 in new revenue (quadrupling their sales) in just 35 days from working with the firm.
Of course, in the long run, it’s too early to tell if Kleinert’s decision to forgo school is a good one or not. However, it’s a bet he is willing to make, just like the throng of Thiel Fellows and Uncollege advocates that have surfaced in the last few years.
The Value Of Thinking Differently
“When you actually look into what I’m doing, I’m testing my options in the real world and systemizing what works rather than accepting what’s been known to be true in the past, but hasn’t been proven at the individual level in today’s world. I’m taking a more scientific and conscious approach to designing my own life, leveraging every resource, opportunity, and connection I have, and therefore I’m learning at an accelerated rate from the best people.”
When Kleinert says “best people”, he isn’t exaggerating in the slightest. When he isn’t designing marketing experiments and business development systems for his clients, Kleinert has spent the last four years identifying, connecting with, and befriending hundreds of the world’s smartest and most talented Millennials.
He’s published two books, 2 Billion Under 20 and 3 Billion Under 30, sharing the stories of his influential peers, and if you look at some of the names curated in those titles, you may find it challenging at first to keep up with the diversity and breadth of influences covered. From founders of billion dollar companies like WordPress, professional athletes, top internet marketers, celebrated nonprofit founders, and others, these are the individuals that shape Kleinert’s thinking. That’s quite different than most student bodies he’d be around if he were still in school, and a junior like most of his high school friends. And it shows.
The Life Of A Nomadic Entrepreneur
While he’s based in New York City, half the time Kleinert is in an airport or in a new city working with his clients. For years, he’s only worked with clients willing to invest in high monthly retainer fees for three months (or more), mostly collaborating with his team remotely and providing client deliverables from wherever he wanted to locate himself for the week.
Recently, he’s been testing out a new business model however. The “VIP Day”, taking the same all-day, in-person strategy sessions that his longer-term clients had access to in order to kick off new client engagements, is now being sold as a standalone service, and they are quickly selling out. Kleinert’s already raised the price on this offering three times, and has booked clients in San Francisco, New York, Green Bay, Atlanta, Toronto, and even Shanghai who are interested in seeing what Kleinert can do for them.
True to his motto of questioning the status quo, it’s easy for Kleinert to travel so much. He doesn’t own a car, doesn’t have a lease or mortgage, and only keeps about ten days’ worth of clothes with him in a small suitcase and backpack. He’s opted for a lifestyle of owning nothing, but having access to anything, and uses services like Skiplagged, Turo, Skyscanner, and of course Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft to get around and save both time and money. Without the additional stresses of the average adult, he’s able to focus further on his clients and providing his expertise.
When asked about how others can stand out, Kleinert talks about making conscious decisions to brand, work, and associate yourself differently from your competition. For him, not going to school immediately makes him different from everyone who does. Similarly, a writer that incorporates embedded YouTube videos in every single article will add richer media to their work than almost all other writers. A service business that turns their knowledge into a product and sells that as a low cost way for prospects to learn about the quality of their work will immediately have a unique take on their industry’s standards.
Not only that, but Kleinert suggests increasing the amount of options you have in your network, in your business model, and even with your lifestyle if you want to go that far. That’s why he’s made it a point to connect with individuals from hundreds of different industries, provide clients with different ways to engage him and his team, and swap anything that’d tie him down to one location for new shared economy services.
Perhaps this isn’t your idea of an ideal business or way of life, and maybe you don’t necessarily want to experiment with your marketing and business development channels if you have a successful business already. However, it is working for Kleinert and his clients, and it is certainly interesting.