Kristin Zhivago, Founder of internet marketing company Zhivago Partners

Kristin has applied her marketing and sales turnaround experiences to create a unique digital marketing agency.

As a revenue coach, Kristin Zhivago specialized in turning around marketing and sales departments. When she was done (and she helped recruit and train her successor), each department was operating efficiently, everyone in the department was doing what they were best at (and loved to do), and the department was generating a solid return on the company’s marketing investment.

She founded Zhivago Partners in 2017 because she observed that many mid-sized companies had done a great job of building and running their companies but were struggling to get their digital marketing to deliver on the promise of bringing qualified leads into the business.

Given that she had spent years in the tech industry, and focused on marketing tech as part of that, she knew she could bring value to clients.

Her first hire was an “infrastructure manager,” because her revenue coaching work had taught her the importance of building strong systems. This person also served as the company’s “app whisperer,” because Kristin knew the entire company would run on cloud-based systems.

She then built the core infrastructure team, consisting of Client Success Managers and those who help run the business. This is the inner circle.

The next circle consists of the campaign managers. These are channel or method specialists providing digital advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, influencer marketing, buyer journey mapping, customer and market research, and quality assurance.

And the largest circle comprises the creative specialists, including developers, designers, and writers.

This structure enables us to adapt easily to fluctuations in activity, and to give each client access to the top-tier specialists in each area. Too many agencies “sell” the client on the “top managers” and then hire intern-level staff to carry out the work. With our approach, each client has a full range of experienced and talented professionals available.

Our company culture is based on Kristin’s dedication to making Zhivago Partners “a safe place for nice people to do their best work.” She has written many articles about effective leadership and she practices what she preaches (including “find it, face it, fix it”). We don’t suffer from the high turnover rates many agencies experience; longevity is the norm.

Those who have worked at other agencies tell us that the main focus was on “making money for the agency,” rather than what we do. Our main focus is on increasing the revenue stream of our clients.

What you can expect and why.

Clients come to us after they have been disappointed. “We tried social; it didn’t work,” they’ll say. “Getting a response from our agency was like pulling teeth.” “I never saw any proof of the campaigns working, and I barely knew what they were doing most of the time.”

Here are the common issues with agencies, and how we have structured Zhivago Partners to deliver delight instead of disappointment:

Transparency: You will know what is going on at all times. Our Client Success Managers manage all of the projects and keep you in the loop at every step. We are totally open about our strategies, status, processes, and pricing. 

Communication: Want a quick answer? You’ll get one—from anyone on the team, including Kristin. She’s a bit of a workaholic (she thinks of it as loving what she does so much that she wants to spend as much time as she can doing it) who is available via Slack, text, phone, or email during business hours and beyond. Each person on the team has that “I want to respond immediately” gene.

Expectations: Every task has its own estimate and straightforward description. We work hard to make sure we come within the estimate; if unforeseen issues arise, we tell you immediately so we can discuss and decide the best course of action. We are also realistic in our predictions of the results of any campaign or new site, although the numbers on whatever we do tend to trend upwards—and if that pattern changes, we figure out how to fix it and set to work. 

Results: This is what you hire us for, and we take our responsibility very seriously. We set up a stats portal for each client that tracks impressions, clicks, opens, sessions, session time, engagement, and more. We work with you to track from start to sale, and beyond. Matching a campaign to individual sales can be complex, especially in today’s multi-touch, multi-channel marketing environments. But we will keep working on it with you, your team, and our respective systems until we are as close as is humanly possible. 

Costs: We are not the least expensive option, given the quality of our people, systems, and the work we produce. But we’re not outrageously priced, either. You will find our prices to be logical and reasonable, given the type of work being done and the effectiveness of that work. No work is done without your prior approval. Our overall goal is to be worth every dollar you spend because the results of our work generate revenue for your business. We are definitely less expensive than what it would cost to build a department staffed with all of these specialists. And it is rare for all of these specialists to be working so smoothly as a team. 

Customization: All of the work we do for you is, as the British like to say, “bespoke.” We take no cookie-cutter shortcuts. Your company, customers, marketplace, competitors, people, policies, processes, products, and services are all unique to you. Your marketing should be, also. 

Staff Longevity: Every single person assigned to your account is there for the long haul. Turnover at Zhivago Partners is extremely low. Those who work here appreciate the culture of helpfulness, the lack of politics, and the support they get from Kristin. 

Expertise: As we have mentioned, all of your work will be done by experienced professionals. Every person in every position loves what they do and strives to be the best they can be. All of the interactions you will have with our team members will be pleasant, professional, and effective. 

Progress: All of us move along at a smart pace every day. We never rush at the expense of a successful outcome, but we also keep everything moving forward. We meet frequently to review all projects in progress, and we work on fixing anything that is stuck. A truism here is that clients are seldom waiting for us; given that our clients are very busy professionals themselves, it is more common that we are the ones waiting. We don’t mind; we understand. But we will do anything we can to make it easier for clients to do their part. 

Creativity: Kristin has said, “Marketing used to be 80% creativity and 20% logistics; now it is just the opposite.” That’s true, but that doesn’t mean that creativity is any less important. We love to brainstorm with our clients, coming up with new solutions to sticky issues and finding new ways to reach your goals. All of the ideas we bring to the table will make sense both for your buyers and for you. Nothing should stand in the way of your customers understanding exactly what you’re selling and how it can help them. In spite of the necessity of campaign logistics, inspiration still rules. 

Our Leadership Team

Every one of our team members is a leader in their own right, given who we hire and how our company is structured. Here is our team: 

Kristin Zhivago - Zhivago Partners
Kristin
President, Revenue Coach
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Sandra Ross - Managing Editor - Zhivago Partners
Sandra
Managing Editor, Tech Projects
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Cindy Hull, Operations Manager, Zhivago Partners
Cindy
Operations Manager
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Zhivago Partners - Lindsay Hernandez
Lindsay
Financial Analysis & Internal Processes
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Aryn Koepke - Client Success Manger
Aryn
Client Success Manager
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Loreina Klevenski - Social Media - Zhivago Partners
Loreina
Social Media Manager
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Jordan Robarge - Online Advertising - Zhivago Partners
Jordan
Digital Advertising
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Jeff Stafford - Website Developer - Zhivago Partners
Jeff
Senior Developer
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Michelle Weber, SEO, Keyword Research - Zhivago Partners
Michelle
SEO, Quality Assurance
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Louis Mennel - Online Advertising - Zhivago Partners
Louis
Campaign Manager
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Jacquelyn - ZP Research Assistant
Jacquelyn
Research Assistant
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Mike Mintz, Videographer - Zhivago Partners
Mike
Videographer
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Emerald - Zhivago Partners - Graphic Designer-min
Emerald
Graphic Designer
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Kelly Zhivago Partners
Kelly
Writer
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Joe - Zhivago Partners
Joe
Writer
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Liza Littlefield- Graphic Designer
Liza
Graphic Designer
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Caitlin - Developer
Caitlin
Developer, Designer
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Tom-Video
Tom
Video Production
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Daniel - Digital Advertising
Daniel
Digital Advertising
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You will enjoy and benefit from a 2-hour discussion with Kristin about your own marketing goals and how they might best be achieved, whether you decide to work with us or not. Click to schedule a Zoom meeting. You will be glad you did. 🙂

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Kristin Zhivago - Zhivago Partners

Kristin

President, Revenue Coach

Kristin founded Zhivago Partners in 2017, after decades as a revenue coach; she helped CEOs and entrepreneurs grow their companies by understanding what their customers wanted to buy from them and how they wanted to buy it. 

Kristin has spent most of her career in the tech industry. When the web emerged as the sales and marketing venue for businesses, Kristin started doing marketing and sales department turnarounds for companies of all sizes, including IBM and Dow Jones. 

Now, she and her ZP team enjoy working with mid-size companies that have built solid businesses but need help with their digital marketing. She personally loves the fact that Zhivago Partners is “a safe place for nice people to work,” and thrives on the tech-driven fast pace of today’s markets. 

Kristin and her husband spent decades sailing together, including having a 48-foot catamaran built in South Africa and sailing it home to New England in 2009.

Sandra Ross - Managing Editor - Zhivago Partners

Sandra

Managing Editor, Tech Projects

Sandra has spent her entire career in the field of technology. Sandra began working as a technical writer, then moved into systems design, implementation, and management and disaster recovery. 

Eventually, Sandra also began doing web design and development and served as Chief Technical Officer for a medium-sized manufacturing company. In 2012, Sandra decided to become a consultant and refocus her career on the type of work she enjoys most: content development and editing.

Cindy Hull, Operations Manager, Zhivago Partners

Cindy

Operations Manager

As operations manager, Cindy handles all of the backend financial responsibilities for the company, including accounts receivable. She is also very involved in infrastructure systems and decisions, including project management and analysis of cloud-based applications that we use to run ZP. 

Cindy spent 15 years in travel management and group travel. She has a bachelor of science from the University of Texas at Austin.

Zhivago Partners - Lindsay Hernandez

Lindsay

Financial Analysis & Internal Processes

Lindsay’s career has spanned many industries, but she has found her home in digital marketing. Most of her career has been in the financial services industry, as she holds a Bachelors of Business Administration in Finance, but she has also dabbled in aviation and influencer marketing. 

Lindsay has a heart to help others and has discovered her passion is project management and client success, where she uses her organizational and interpersonal skills to help others stay accountable and achieve their goals. 

Lindsay and her husband live in Kansas, where they were both born and raised, with their two young children. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, writing, and spending as much time outdoors as possible.

Aryn Koepke - Client Success Manger

Aryn

Client Success Manager

Aryn is one of our client success managers, dedicated to helping clients achieve their lead-generation goals through various appropriate digital marketing methods. She has spent ten years in legal and government positions, and five years in influencer marketing, social media, and brand research. 

She graduated from Lindenwood University with a degree in HR management. She lives in Saint Charles, MO with her husband and two boys, and enjoys traveling, trying out new restaurants, and golfing.

Loreina Klevenski - Social Media - Zhivago Partners

Loreina

Social Media Manager

Loreina manages social media for multiple clients. She creates content and graphics for the various social channels, reflecting each client’s unique value and offerings. She also posts content onto client websites and alerts Google to the new content. 

Loreina started working as a virtual assistant some years ago, which helped her excel in many different areas. She has been a website moderator, project manager, customer service manager, personal assistant, email manager, data entry operator, and more. She has experience with eCommerce (Amazon and Shopify). 

Prior to becoming a virtual assistant, she worked in the pharmacy and criminal justice industry, as a probation officer and administrative assistant. She takes pride in her ability to solve problems and help the operations of Zhivago Partners run as smoothly as possible. 

Loreina has a degree in business administration, and lives in Texas with her three children and one grandchild.

Jordan Robarge - Online Advertising - Zhivago Partners

Jordan

Digital Advertising

Jordan runs the Google Ads campaigns for Zhivago Partners clients. He earned his Google Ads and Google Analytics Certifications in 2014. Before working for Zhivago Partners, Jordan worked for a wide variety of companies improving their Google Ads and Analytics accounts. 

Jordan takes a very practical and statistical approach to online advertising, constantly optimizing campaigns by making both small and strategic adjustments. 

Jordan also launched a food truck called Revival Chili in 2016, and has since grown his food business to two food trucks and a brick-and-mortar restaurant currently employing 10 people.

Jeff Stafford - Website Developer - Zhivago Partners

Jeff

Senior Developer

Jeff has been involved in the design, development, and deployment of custom websites, software systems, and network security for more than 20 years. His ability to listen, comprehend the vision, and deliver results sets him apart from others in his field. 

Jeff has served in various roles, including Senior Developer & Architect, IT Director, and Consultant. He has developed software systems used by the Department of Defense and has donated his time to assist with technology needs for Central American mission organizations. 

Jeff brings over two decades of experience and expertise to every solution he delivers, while displaying a dedication and commitment reflective of his passion to use technology for the betterment of our society.

Michelle Weber, SEO, Keyword Research - Zhivago Partners

Michelle

SEO, Quality Assurance

Michelle has been working in WordPress and performing SEO work for 7 years. She is responsible for all of the competitive keyword research for all ZP clients, which serves as the foundation for all SEO-driven content that our writers produce. 

Michelle also conducts daily quality control for all clients, checking websites, online advertising, and email campaigns to make sure everything is operating as it should be. As a result, our clients have very few “site down” or “broken link” issues to deal with.

Louis Mennel - Online Advertising - Zhivago Partners

Louis

Campaign Manager

After graduating from Emory University, Louis spent 4 years in the solar industry, working his way from sales rep to regional manager where he was able to open a new territory and lead a team of 16. He then pursued entrepreneurship, first working at a fintech startup and eventually founding his own sustainability focused company. 

Louis is responsible for managing and optimizing a variety of digital campaigns, bringing valuable experience in growth marketing, sales, and customer service to our clients.

Jacquelyn - ZP Research Assistant

Jacquelyn

Research Assistant

Jacquelyn’s job experiences included many years of administrative duties before she landed the perfect job of raising and homeschooling her two boys. Once they grew up and moved on with their lives, she went back to work as the service manager for a crawlspace and foundation repair company. Helping others through difficult situations (she lives in hurricane country) is one of her passions.

Jacquelyn lives in the country in North Carolina with her husband and oldest son. They share their lives with two dogs, a parakeet, and a leopard gecko. Organizing is her love language, while her other loves are raising chickens, acrylic painting, jigsaw puzzles, and reading. Throw in making sure she keeps her boys on their toes, gardening, working in the yard, and getting her toes in the sand when she can, and her days are pretty full.

Mike Mintz, Videographer - Zhivago Partners

Mike

Videographer

Over the past decade, Mike has been producing both live action and animated videos for various brands and non-profits. He puts a special emphasis on understanding each company and their product in order to deliver optimal video branding. 

Outside of the branding space, Mike is an active filmmaker working on both documentary and narrative films.

Emerald - Zhivago Partners - Graphic Designer-min

Emerald

Graphic Designer

Emerald is a graphic designer based in the Pacific Northwest. She has been designing professionally for more than 13 years. Her passion for her work shows through in her commitment to producing beautiful and relevant designs.  Emerald received a SAMMY Marketing Award for Best Sales Brochure for a brochure design for Allied Fire & Security, and also had the opportunity to design the Spokane Hoopfest Youtube Logo and the 2021 Bloomsday Finisher Medal. She is skilled in computer science, typography, multi-page layout designs, product advertisements, brand development, and communication. She also worked as a Print Manager for two years.  Her passion for art extends beyond the computer; she creates original paintings, makes jewelry, and even started her own Etsy store. Working in different mediums helps keep her inspired and motivated to continue doing the work she loves. Outside of work Emerald loves taking her two dogs out to explore, hiking the numerous trails around Spokane, and getting hooked into another book.

Kelly Zhivago Partners

Kelly

Writer

Kelly is a lifelong freelance writer. Her undying love for all things reading and writing began as soon as she was old enough to hold a book and has only grown with time. This fondness has caused her oldest friends, on many occasions, to use the affectionate introduction: “This is Kelly. She words good.” 

Once a jack-of-all-trades who dabbled in everything from psychology to personal training, she now specializes in tech and fintech topics, primarily for B2B companies. Kelly lives in Ohio with her husband, son, and two 60-pound lap dogs. Her hobbies include sustainable gardening and trying to get lost in the woods.

Joe - Zhivago Partners

Joe

Writer

Joe is an engineer who discovered writing as a passion. A background in technical consulting drives him to write articles that both inform and entertain. Born and raised near Chicago, Illinois, Joe has worked across the country and overseas, emphasizing strong communication as the key to successful projects and professional relationships. 

From hands-on experience in various industries, including civil engineering, energy systems, and environmental reporting, Joe enjoys connecting the dots across supply chains and stakeholders to make the world work a little better. When he isn’t consumed by his latest project, Joe enjoys unplugging in the great outdoors or reading a good book overlooking the prairie.

Liza Littlefield- Graphic Designer

Liza

Graphic Designer

Liza is an artist who thinks outside of the box and enjoys creating meaningful visuals. She uses graphic design to make information easier to understand, painting & drawing to express concepts, and writing & music to communicate experiences, ideas and poetry. Liza is attentive to detail, organized and able to adapt quickly. She graduated with a BFA from Parsons School of Design in NY and has worked on a wide range of professional projects.

Caitlin - Developer

Caitlin

Developer, Designer

Caitlin is a web developer specializing in WordPress. With more than 10 years of experience, she has worked on a wide range of websites from various industries. She enjoys the challenges of web development and learning something new with every project. 

Caitlin has a BA from Simmons College in Graphic Design and Marketing. She’s a Connecticut native but currently lives in South Carolina with her husband. In her free time she enjoys hiking, playing tennis, practicing yoga, and reading.

Tom-Video

Tom

Video Production

Tom has worked in entertainment, radio and television for more than 35 years. He graduated with a degree in Marketing from the University of Tennessee and has been a TV and radio writer & producer since 1987. Work history includes an ad agency writer/ producer, radio personality, television commercial writer/producer/editor, senior video editor for various TV production companies, producer of music soundtracks/choreographing fireworks shows, and cable series producer/editor. He has edited hundreds of episodes of TV shows, and has produced countless commercials, corporate videos, promotions and web content – for companies such as A&E, Discovery, Oxygen, Investigation Discovery, TLC, HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, Sea Ray Boats, Boston Whaler, Brunswick, Department of Energy, Penske Trucking and more. Tom was also host of the radio talk show, “Dealing with Life.”

Daniel - Digital Advertising

Daniel

Digital Advertising

Daniel graduated from Georgetown University in 2022 with a major in Marketing and a minor in Entrepreneurship. He began his journey into digital advertising as a sophomore in college, when he taught himself how to use Facebook Ads to profitably sell posters online for supplemental income. Since then, he has gone on to help multiple companies succeed with their digital marketing.

He places utmost importance on understanding the customer, and makes sure to structure every campaign in a way that will provide valuable insights and allow for prompt, data-driven improvements.

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