Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

How Hip-Hop Artist Ryan Leslie Hopes to Transform Mobile Marketing

What if you could bypass Facebook and connect directly with customers?

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

What does the hip-hop music industry and marketing have in common? A lot.

While musical artists such as Kanye West and Jay-Z are no strangers to marketing their product or themselves, they are entrepreneurs, too.

At a recent conference keynote in Detroit, I had a slide in my presentation which read “social media marketing is like a rap battle,” implying that gaining visibility online today is similar to a musician going head-to-head with another to drive fandom.

When you think about the role of digital marketers for a business, they’re not only a promoter, but they too are an artist of sorts whose sole objective is to drive awareness and purchase activity through visual content.

Meet Ryan Leslie, a Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist, and producer who’s worked with the likes of Sean “Diddy” Combs and Brittney Spears, in addition to guiding Cassie to a Top 40 hit for 20 straight weeks with the hit “Me & U” – one of the biggest records in the history of Atlantic Records.

Today, Leslie is taking the lessons learned from his time studying at Harvard to learning from music industry giants such as Tommy Mottola and Sean “Diddy” Combs to transcend the world of tech marketing through his mobile messaging platform SuperPhone. According to Leslie, SuperPhone empowers brands, celebrities and online creators to have direct access to their followers on their mobile phones through text messaging, which goes beyond relying on social media or email marketing to reach followers and potential customers. In an era where social networks like Facebook are making massive profits by capturing user data and then reselling to advertisers, SuperPhone gives every user on social media access to valuable data of their own versus paying to reach their fans or followers.

So, how does SuperPhone work? It’s text messaging on steroids. Imagine being able to send a mass text message alert to hundreds or thousands of customers the next time that you have a sale or offer at your company -- that’s precisely what SuperPhone allows you to do. And you can capture opt-ins by having someone text you.

Shortly after meeting Ryan, I signed up at and was assigned the following number -- 1-646-846-1922 (try it, it works!). From here, I am now able to give out my phone number to my social media followers, include it in my email signature, and invite as many connections as possible to text me versus email.

With SuperPhone, you are also able to set up auto-response prompts and send out mass text messages similar to an email campaign.

When you think of the high volume of sales and marketing content people receive on a daily basis in their email inbox, it makes sense that sending a text message is still a highly effective way to get someone’s attention and certainly more effective than a single Facebook or Instagram post too.

Watch Leslie on the latest episode of Real Talk share his motivation for starting SuperPhone along with his vision for transforming mobile marketing.

In the same interview at Nasdaq’s MarketSite, Kerry Flynn (a reporter for Digiday) and Entrepreneur Editor-in-Chief Jason Feifer also join Ryan on the set to discuss the latest digital marketing trends including why entrepreneurs should make it a priority to own versus rent their audience by capturing valuable data points such as phone numbers for future marketing.

Watch more videos from Carlos Gil on his YouTube channel here. Follow Carlos Gil on Instagram @CarlosGil83.


How This Clothing Designer Launched a Side Hustle Making Customizable Grazing Boards

The founder of ME'N'U Grazing LA shares her side hustle journey and her advice for anyone thinking about starting their own business.

Going Public Series Premiere, Watch and Click-to-Invest Now on!

Get ready to watch the first of its kind show where viewers can invest in featured deals while they watch!

Delivering Hospitality to Online Audiences

Interview with Garry Kanfer (Kissaki Sushi) about digital marketing and delivering the restaurant experience to customers at home.

Why This Mom Entrepreneur Is All About Quarterly Planning

The founder of Hustle Like a Mom shares her tips for working moms trying to run a business between drop-off and pick-up.

Build A YouTube Following With Authentic Content

Interview with YouTube Star Sam Zien The Cooking Guy about growing his popular YouTube channel and restaurant empire.

This Celebrity Talent Manager Is Offering a 12-Step Online Course on the Business of Acting

Jamie Freed is known for discovering Selena Gomez and managing celebrities like Paris Hilton. Now he's helping actors learn about the business of acting through his 12-step online course.

Video: Random Act of Kindness at Dollar General Store Goes Viral

Cashier wins hearts with her display of compassion at an Illinois store.

This Entrepreneur's Charity-Driven Startup Was Acquired in Less Than 2 Months

The founder and CEO of CharityPops NFT talks about how his company gives back to charities and how his platform got acquired in under 60 days.

This Company Just Launched a Comprehensive Label for Measuring a Fashion Product's Impact on People and the Planet

While we're used to seeing nutrition labels on food, the founder and CEO of Nisolo says he created the sustainability facts label to protect people and the planet.

She Brought a Baby to the Boardroom While Asking for $1 Million. There's No Way That Worked...Right?

Would you dare to try the high-risk, high-reward strategy of bringing a small child to your investment pitch?

Want to Sell Better Through Your Online Store? You Might Be Overlooking This Important Aspect of Digital Marketing.

The founder and CEO of QMocha explains how his Shopify app will work with your existing product images.

This Mother and Entrepreneur Wrote a Book to Help Adults and Kids Learn About Their Microbiome

The founder of Seed Health and author of 'A Kids Book About Your Microbiome' shares why she's empowering each of us to see ourselves as superorganisms.

You've Got a Great Invention. Now How Do You Get People to Buy It?

It's a good idea to start a business by solving a problem, but make sure to consider who is actually paying for your solution.

How to Create Video Content People Will Actually Watch

The founder of Patrice Poltzer Creative shares video tips that will help you attract your audience and keep them engaged.

This Entrepreneur Maxed Out His Credit Cards to Build a Business That Helps Companies Protect their Data

The president and CEO of Data443 shares how his company secures and manages organizational data wherever it exists.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.

  • An original series streaming weekly where you can Click-to-Invest while you watch. THEIR JOURNEY. Your decision.
  • Your favorite pitch show is back with new entrepreneurs pitching Entrepreneur's investors.
  • Host Nicole Walters interviews small business founders to discuss their unique challenges and experiences running and growing a business. 
  • Jessica Abo covers the causes people care about, the powerful work they do and how they got to where they are in the first place.
  • Bestselling author, Ben Angel, takes his audience on a journey into the entrepreneurial mind to uncover why we do what we do through his powerful short films and educational videos so you can unleash your ideas and potential.
  • Watch our staff interview top entrepreneurs and report on location in these exclusive videos.