207: Tyler Kelley (Slam! Agency)

Tyler Kelley on Innovation City

“I don’t think that anybody can look back on the roughest toughest parts of their lives and say that didn’t get me to where I am now.” -Tyler Kelley

Welcome to Season 7 of Innovation City (The St. Louis Edition), a podcast featuring innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency and Aīre Ventures, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community.

Today’s guest is Tyler Kelley, co-founder of SLAM! Agency, a marketing agency based out of St. Louis that focuses on helping businesses fulfill their purpose. In this episode, Tyler sits down with Leigh-Ann to discuss his journey from DJ to marketing expert, key foundational marketing principles, and the importance of being strengthened by our failures.


They discuss:

  • Tyler’s Superpower
    • From a business standpoint, Tyler’s superpower is process and his gut feeling. He relates this to the Thong Song. In college Tyler was a DJ, and one of the greatest frustrations that a DJ has is knowing a song is good but nobody knows it yet. 
    • He sees things early, whether it’s business opportunities, etc. 
  • How did he develop the patience to know he’s right but knowing that the timing’s right to take action?
    • Trial and error and listening to your gut. 
  • Tyler’s Career Journey
    • Tyler has always been an entrepreneur. It all started as a DJ in college in the late 90s, and he figured out how to build a website to advertise. He then started learning SEO.
    • Tyler taught himself SEO, and had a fairly successful DJ business. He started building other websites. 
    • “I spent my first year after graduation in my parents basement building websites.” 5:57
    • Then Tyler started getting hired doing digital marketing. Got into the mortgage industry and was doing so well, he started his own mortgage company.
    • Tyler left everything in 2008-2009 crash, and he rebuilt from them. And then he eventually founded SLAM! Agency. 
  • How have you adjusted your mindset to not give up and be able to start from scratch?
    • It’s difficult at the time. 
    • “I don’t think that anybody can look back on the roughest toughest parts of their lives and say that didn’t get me to where I am now.” 7:27
    • You always make it through and you learn. 
    • WHat I learned from the 2008-2009 crisis, when COVID came was, eliminate all unnecessary expenses.
  • Evolution of the Marketing Industry and Emerging Trends.
    • “The crazy thing about marketing is that there are certain principles that never change.” 8:53
    • One example is SEO, then came blogging, then content marketing. It’s all the same thing but with different components. 
    • “The principle is to create content that people can engage with.” 9:34
  • Key Foundational Marketing Principles
    • Don’t neglect the copy.
    • Learning how to communicate with people in a way that makes them think. 
    • A lot of time people say marketing is bad because it makes
    • Marketing can also be good because you can also help people see what’s good for them.
    • Don’t chase the shiny red object. FOr example, let’s examine TikTok. If you’re a local 
    • Don’t look at what your competitors are doing and think it’s best for you.
    • “Get in where you fit in.”
  • Tyler’s Love of Hip Hop
    • The last song Tyler liked was “Coming in Hot.”
    • Tyler’s favorite of all time is “There Ain’t No Future in Your Frontin.” 
  • One piece of advice 
    • Follow your heart. We often forget to listen to ourselves.

Lightning Round:

  • A dream I’ve never shared…
    • Wave a magic wand and be able to communicate with everyone.
  • The kindest thing anyone has ever done for me…
    • Tyler has a short term memory. He’s thinking about the kindest thing of the day was Leigh Ann wanting to interview him.
  • I’m proud I stood up for myself when…
    • With kids you have to draw the line but still be compassionate and loving. 
  • The celebrity I want to play me in a movie…
    • Sam Smith or Matt Damon
  • I’m most proud of my family for…
    • Tyler’s family has adopted the EOS system. They have core values, him and his wife have quarterly rocks. He’s most proud of being able to implement that as a family. 


Get in Touch

Visit the SLAM! Agency website

Find SLAM! on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Follow Tyler on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn