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Spotlight On: Matt Foreman, Co-Founder of Shoot to Thrill Media

matt foreman web development

When it comes to dependability, the guys at Shoot to Thrill Media, a web design and development company in St. Petersburg, FL, are unparalleled. We feel like we hit the jackpot when we met Matt Foreman and his partner, Mark Lombardi (who you’ll get to meet soon as well). Friendly, responsive, smart, creative, AND fun … we knew we needed to Spotlight them. We are proud to call them Pinstripers, and simply love working with them on our web projects.

Name: Matt Foreman

Title: Co-Founder

Company: Shoot To Thrill Media

City: St. Petersburg

Web site: shoottothrillmedia.com

 

What inspired you to start Shoot to Thrill?

I love businesses! While I was freelance web designing I noticed I was helping out many different types of businesses. So as an entrepreneur I knew I would be able to provide a service that could help other businesses grow online. I knew I had an incredibly talented friend/partner in Mark, so it wasn’t a hard decision to pursue something bigger than freelancing. Shortly after, Shoot To Thrill Media was born.

What do you like most about the your industry and community?

Web design and marketing allows (and rewards) creativity. Whether it’s a new type of design or a new service we start offering, I love being able to think outside the box.

What challenges does your industry face?

I think one of the biggest challenges that the web design world faces is the fact that many people try to cut corners when it comes to web design. Whether it’s a DIY web builder, cheap hosting, or even just not knowing or understanding the value of a strategically built website. Your online image is one of the most important aspects of your business and there are so many things that can tarnish that image that may promote itself as “cheap but effective.”

How do you measure your success?

I think I measure success a little differently than most. I love taking (calculated) leaps of faith, so I put myself in a position of struggle when I’m at a point of wanting/needing to grow. Typically these ‘struggles’ either impact my personal life (like skydiving or riding a motorcycle) or my work life (offering a new service or investing in an unproven system). I measure my success by determining if those decisions are no longer a struggle, but a thrill or a successful endeavor.

What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career?

Being able to help other businesses grow while successfully growing my own business. Our one year anniversary is right around the corner, so knowing that we survived while shouldering all that responsibility is a huge accomplishment for me.

What do you think is the biggest mistake companies make when working in your industry?

Over-promising and under-delivering. We see it all the time, where a company or freelancer will bend the truth (lie) about their skill set just to secure a client. It’s hard to watch clients get away, especially ones with big dollar signs behind them, but knowing your limits and holding yourself to those limits to not harm the client and your own reputation is a great skill to have and it should encourage you to continue learning.

What is the most interesting trend you see in your industry?

I think it’s interesting (and great) that people are realizing more and more the importance of a mobile friendly website. It’s been super important for a few years now, but we’re really starting to notice clients being proactive in ensuring their website is mobile responsive.

How has technology helped/hindered your work?

Well, we wouldn’t be a company without technology, so we appreciate the strides technology has made in the recent past. But specifically, WordPress has come such a long way. It now powers more websites than any other platform, and it continues to grow at such a fast pace. Rightfully so. WordPress is amazing!

How do you stay on top of your field?

I can always admire and appreciate other great websites. It often times encourages me to learn a certain new design, or website function. I personally like to stay on top of my field by always learning and keeping an open mind when it comes to design, so as not to get stale.

What resources do you recommend? (Books, magazines, web, etc.)

If you’re interested in learning WordPress yourself, I recommend Treehouse. Some great courses that definitely helped me along the way. If you want to learn the basics, and how to troubleshoot, check out WPBeginner.com. And as always with WordPress, check the WordPress codex for all your technical questions.

If you could give one piece of advice to Tampa Bay companies, what would it be?

Keep crushing it! Tampa Bay is doing some amazing things. Growing up in the entrepreneurship community here has shown me how creative and determined the community is. Also, look for strategic partnerships. They’re SUPER beneficial for both parties and it’s always great knowing another expert has your back when you need them.

What was your first job?

I worked at the car wash down the road from my house when I was 15. I dried the cars that came out of the wash. Hated the job. My neck was permanently sunburnt.

What are your hobbies?

I love to travel, especially out of the country. I’m always up for an adventure, and the more physically demanding, the better!

Favorite food?

My grandpa’s t-bone steaks. They’re out of this world!

Last book you read?

Startup Stories by Jordan Raynor. Loved the book so much I reached out to Jordan, and eventually interned for him. Now he’s a great friend and mentor of mine.

Spotlight on: Leeward Bean, CEO of Big Frog Custom T-Shirts

leeward bean video

Pinstripe project manager Nikki Devereux met Leeward in the beginning of 2017. They instantly clicked, and chatted over coffee for more than two hours about a video project for Leeward’s franchise brand, Big Frog Custom T-Shirts and More. Leeward’s description of the Big Frog brand and family was so enticing that Nikki instantly wanted to be a part of it in any way possible! In the end, her role was to film the 2017 Frogathon, and she had a great experience doing so. Frogathan is a 4-day event where all the Big Frog franchisees come together in St. Petersburg, FL for education, mingling, food, drink, and fun.

“The Big Frog team made me feel like a part of their family, and every person I met was kind, happy, and energetic. Big Frog brings that out of you and that’s what was so compelling when I first met Leeward – he was all about the franchisees, taking care of them, making sure they were successful, making sure they were HAPPY. I wanted to be a part of that,” Nikki said after filming the event. Stay tuned for the video, coming soon in the portfolio!

Name: Leeward Bean

Title: Chief Executive Frog

Company: Big Frog Custom T-Shirts

City: Dunedin, FL

Web site: www.bigfrog.com and www.bigfrogfranchise.com

 

What inspired you to found Big Frog Custom T-Shirts?

A young couple who worked with me at another company wanted to start their own business.

What do you like most about the your industry and community?

Helping people start their own businesses and making people smile when they get their new favorite T-shirt.

What challenges does your industry face?

Managing and directing 90 independently owned and operated business.

How do you measure your success?

How well our franchisees do.

What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career?

When we sold our last company, eleven people became millionaires.

What do you think is the biggest mistake companies make when working in your industry?

Not focusing on the franchisees.

What is the most interesting trend you see in your industry?

The ability to produce one T-shirt at a time cost effectively.

How has technology helped your work?

The extremely high resolution and reliability of the direct-to-garment printers.

How do you stay on top of your field?

Always putting the customer first and under promising and over delivering.

What resources do you recommend? (Books, magazines, web, etc.)

My favorite book is ‘Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek.

If you could give one piece of advice to Tampa Bay companies, what would it be?

Get up every morning with a positive mental attitude and listen to what people have to say; especially your customers.

What was your first job?

Selling eggs door to door when I was six years old.

What are your hobbies?

Fishing!

Favorite food?

Cuban sandwiches

Last book you read?

Total Control by David Baldacci

Spotlight On: Joel Malizia, Director of Development for Et Cultura Festival

joel malizia et cultura

We never pass up the chance to help improve and grow our community, so when we met Joel Malizia at the BurgBorn event back in June at the Mahaffey Theater, we were intrigued. He briefly talked about Et Cultura Festival during that encounter, and that was the seed that quickly grew into our sponsoring the event. Now, we are lucky enough to see Joel a couple times a month to excitedly discuss Et Cultura Festival, a brand new interactive, film, music, and arts festival in St. Pete. Joel has the heart and dedication necessary to grow such an extraordinary event from the ground up, and it seems the timing is perfect. St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area in general are primed and ready for rapid cultural growth, and the inaugural Et Cultura Festival is helping to build the critical mass of that growth. The following interview details some of Joel’s history with his film company, Pilot Moon Films, and how Et Cultura Festival was born.

Joel Malizia

Director of Development

Et Cultura Festival

St. Petersburg, FL

www.etcultura.com

What inspired you to found the Et Cultura Festival?

Our production company, Pilot Moon Films, has been sponsoring and covering festivals for the past 8 years. We made a groove for ourselves in the music industry helping musicians create live performance videos which led to us covering entire music festivals and we really enjoyed it. Three years ago we got a call from SXSW, a huge festival in Austin, TX, asking us to work on their Pro Media Team and we have done this every year since. Participating in this world class festival is what inspired us to see if we could instigate a “next-level” event in St. Pete.

What do you like most about the your industry and community?

The people. It is full of dreamers and creatives.

What challenges does your industry face?

The people. It is full of dreamers and creatives.

How do you measure your success?

I think a good way to measure success is if, and how well, I am able to connect with others. No matter what I am doing. I always do my best to connect with humans and when that happens, the rest takes care of itself… in addition to a lot of hard work.

What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career?

Starting Pilot Moon Films. In the beginning, just the idea of being my own boss gave me a charge, but now I am incredibly proud of the content we are able to create with our clients. That and I made a video for my daughter’s 1st grade class a few years back that gets me everytime I watch it.

What do you think is the biggest mistake companies make when working in your industry?

Doing jobs with money being the #1 priority. Production companies whose primary focus is making money usually find themselves working on projects that are far away from what feeds their spirit. They lose their original identity and become a machine that cranks out packages, formulas, templates, etc. so they can quickly move to the next job.

What is the most interesting trend you see in your industry?

People relying on bigger and better cameras to improve their product instead of focusing on content. Not sure why, but it seems to work for some companies. This makes more companies follow suit.

How has technology helped/hindered your work?

Focusing on technology in this business is a very sexy and dangerous distraction. Of course, the newest equipment is amazing and it enables anyone to provide a better “looking” product.   I have found myself coveting gear and equipment that I don’t currently have access to. But, content is, and will always, be king! And the only technology need to come up with great content is a piece of paper and a pencil.

How do you stay on top of your field?

I have never been on top of my field.

What resources do you recommend? (Books, magazines, web, etc.)

–        I recommend reading a lot of books and collaborating, in person, with as many people as you can.

–        Connecting with people is the best way to open up your entire world and books are great portals into the human experience.

If you could give one piece of advice to Tampa Bay companies, what would it be?

Do what you love, find a niche and your business will grow.

What was your first job?

I worked at an AMC Movie Theater. Cleaning the theater between movies. Endless supply of pretzel bites, Cherry Coke and stomach aches. I had a blast.

What are your hobbies?

I love guitar and used to play all the time. But now, I think my hobbies are the same as my work. Ill get back to it, though.

Favorite food?

Lasagna

Last book you read?

Stranger In A Strange Land – Robert Heinlein

Spotlight On: Nikki Devereux, Project Manager at Pinstripe Marketing

spotlight nikki devereux marketing design Nikki became an invaluable asset to the Pinstripe team the day she started at the agency. Her skills match the project management role – intelligent, organized, friendly, insightful – but we hit the jackpot with her numerous talents, not the least of which include photography and videography. She sees challenges from different angles and opportunities from an artist’s perspective. Clients love her and so do we. Read her spotlight and you will too!

Nikki Devereux

Project Manager

Pinstripe Marketing

St. Petersburg

www.pinstripemarketing.com | www.nikkidevereux.com

What inspired you to pursue a career in a creative field?

I grew up an artist and that natural inclination has always been a huge force in my career choices and everything I do.

What do you like most about marketing?

I love that my work in marketing, especially at Pinstripe Marketing, allows me to use my wide variety of skills. As an artist, I like to be very creative and use my mind in that way, but I am also very analytical and love problem solving – I studied engineering for a few years in college and I actually enjoy math, so I still like to exercise that part of my brain as well. Working in marketing gives me the variety and freedom to do it all. I shoot and edit video, write articles and other content, and manage web design projects. So many creative outlets plus analytics all wrapped up in one position!

What challenges does your industry face?

People are inundated with advertising and marketing every day. Recently I attended an event about inbound marketing and the speaker was talking about how we’ve “been bad” as advertisers and marketers. We’ve interrupted people’s lives, family time, and relaxation time to sell products. Now it’s time to give back and stop “being bad.” People are tired of us, but it’s not too late to change that. Inbound/content marketing is one way to start being better.

How do you measure your success?

As long as I’m learning, I feel like I’m successful. I don’t set monetary goals or goals of status – I always want to keep moving forward in everything I do, and the best way to do that is to devour information. I am constantly learning new things about video, photography, artistic techniques, design, and marketing. As long as I can continue to learn and improve my craft, I feel that I am successful in my work. My education is passed on to my clients and informs my art – I do a better job at everything when I keep up with it.

What do you think is the biggest mistake companies make when working on marketing projects?

I think that it’s a huge mistake to think “I need new printed collateral” or “I need a new website” without thinking about the larger picture. When you “need something new” take a look at your entire marketing campaign. Each piece is a part of a symbiosis, and if they’re not working together, you’re wasting your time and money. We always try to steer clients in the direction of thinking about the whole rather than just individual pieces. We want our work to be effective, not just a one and done deal that has no lasting effects on the brand.

What is the most interesting trend you see in marketing?

The current trend is and has been inbound marketing. It’s interesting to me because it really fits my style of relating to people. I am not an in-your-face, salesy kind of person – I like to give. Whether it’s lending an ear, teaching, informing, or helping, that is my preferred way of interacting with people. Inbound marketing allows me to do this in an organic way, and in this way we gain people’s trust.

How has technology helped/hindered your work?

I’m not sure that I can say technology has hindered my work – definitely there are applications and software that have helped make many things quicker, easier and more automated. The thing that I always try to keep in mind is never to resist technology. That means you’re losing your game, getting rusty. A new technology comes on the market, embrace it and learn it as quickly as you can. It may or may not remain viable, but you will be as long as you’re not afraid of change. With technology, and many facets of life, you have to flow like water. When you resist like a rock, you break things, other people, yourself, and your flow.

How do you stay on top of your field?

I love learning, so I am constantly reading industry news, books, and taking courses related to marketing, art, photography, design, and video. I am the Director of Communications on the board of the Society of Marketing Professional Services Tampa Bay (SMPS), and they offer webinars and other educational events that can be pretty enlightening. I take courses in design, art history, and project management on Coursera – there is a wealth of coursework from top-notch universities on the site. I’ve taken some really interesting courses there.

What marketing resources do you recommend? (Books, magazines, web, etc.)

Fast Company is great for just about anything cutting edge, whether it be art, music, design, film, environmentally friendly design, architecture, and even infrastructure. It’s a great resource for anyone in a creative field. American Advertising Federation’s newsletter is full of good advertising industry stuff. Joining local marketing organizations or your local small business association is a great way to keep up with people and learning. St. Petersburg has the St. Pete Greenhouse, which is a wealth of info and education for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the area.

What are your hobbies?

I go to the beach, I cook, do yoga, go to the gym, run with my dog, travel, road trips, I like to go to salvage yards and make stuff with the materials I find, hike, kayak, outdoor activities, river trips, badminton with friends, concerts, art museums and galleries.

Favorite food?

I LOVE FOOD. But I guess if I have to choose – Vietnamese and Indian

Last book you read?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series and The Hours – all SO GOOD

Spotlight On: Shannon Bennett, VP Sales & Marketing at ADM Two

Spotlight-On-shannon-bennett
ADM Two has been one of our clients for years and we feel like we’ve become a part of the family. We love working with them because of their incredible creativity, fine craftsmanship, and awesome gigantic warehouse space that we get tours of every chance we get. They design and fabricate trade show booths, corporate signage and interiors, and museum cases and displays. It’s a really fascinating business, so we are honored to feature Shannon Bennett, VP of Sales & Marketing at ADM Two.

Shannon Bennett

VP Sales & Marketing

ADM Two

 Tampa

www.admtwo.com

813-887-1960

What inspired you to pursue a career in exhibit design?

I kind of fell into the industry. I studied mass communication – programming and production – and intended to work in the new media. However, I had my first business job with ADM Two (the original one). Once I started I was hooked. It was much like the industry I studied as we too were putting on a show, but it was just a 3D show.

What is the first assignment you remember? Why?

I remember my first time on the show floor. It was Supershow in Atlanta. We were working on the Nutmeg Mills booth. They are the licensed sportswear company that is on Linebaugh and has the stadium-like building. Their booth replicated the look of their building. Ray Butterfield, our founder and my mentor, was supervising the installation. I found it very impressive seeing all these large companies whose names I see in stores. I felt like I was in on the secret of the new items to come out. However, it was most memorable because during the install, one of the labor guys dropped a beam and hit Ray on the head and he had to be seen by the medical staff onsite. Not only was I worried about Ray; we still had a booth to get up as the show had to go on. However, Ray was fine and everything went up without a hitch.

What do you like most about the exhibit design industry and community?

I like the change every day brings. There is always a solution that needs to be found to meet an objective. The creative vibe of the community is what inspires me most. There are very talented people who love what they do and it shows in their craft. The people make the difference in this industry. One you are in you never seem to leave which lends itself to long lasting business relationships and friendships.

What challenges does your industry face?

Our industry faces many challenges that change based on the business climate at the time. During the economic downturn, we had to determine the best way to help our clients exhibit most cost efficiently without sacrificing their brand. This meant extra efforts on our part to determine everything from layouts to materials that would reduce the cost of attending shows.

Another challenge in our industry is how to maximize the experience beyond the trade show floor. A client’s success at a trade show is determined by the overall experience they have inside the booth space as well as before and after the show.

How do you measure your success?

I measure my success by my client’s success. If they do well then I feel we have done our part of the job.

What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career?

My greatest accomplishment is balancing family life and my work life. Both parts of my life allow me to achieve greater success in the other.

What do you think is the biggest mistake companies make when working in exhibit design?

I find that companies try and rush through the process of design focusing on a final look prior to doing their homework and determining the overall objectives. I think it is important to include decision-makers in the process rather than just delivering a design that meets parts of the objectives. More time should be spent on understanding the branding goals of the company, the budgetary costs of the exhibit as well as cost of exhibiting, the functional needs of the exhibit and how a new design impacts the overall trade show program.

What is the most interesting trend you see in exhibit design?

The increased use of rental components in the design for various types of events – trade shows, small private meetings (Yara) and private events (PSCU, NexTech). By integrating rentals into the program either as a complete solution or in combination with existing or new components, clients can achieve more with less and not have the commitment and cost of ownership for parts they may only use once a year.

How has technology helped/hindered your work?

Just one of the ways technology has helped is it allows us to quickly and easily look up show information. Back in the day (15+ yrs ago) they communicated information about a particular show to the exhibitor through a show manual. The pros of the old exhibit manual were that it were usually accurate and received in a timely manner. Today’s technology makes it easier and more cost effective to provide the information online. However, I have found that the information is not provided as early as the old style manuals were. Additionally, I have found that the information from year to year is only updated and often the dates/days etc are not changed in their entirety, making important dates not 100% accurate. You may have the right date but not the correct day of the week noted.

The second way I think technology has hindered our work is in the delivery of information. We tend to get pieced information rather than a well thought out delivery of complete details. We then have to spend additional time compiling emails to ensure we have all the information and that any changes through the e-chain are caught. Information is not provided in a timely manner, pushing us to change our internal schedules and rush to meet client needs.

Technology has helped immensely in the search for specific or specialized materials needed for our various projects. It also helps in the speed of communication, conveying images and transferring data. However, the speed of communication can also be a hindrance.

How do you stay on top of your field?

  • I attend various trade shows to see what is the latest and greatest in the field
  • I read industry magazines, blogs and studies
  • I look at new product innovations to see how they may impact my clients

What resources do you recommend? (Books, magazines, web, etc.)

I read Seth Godin every morning as in inspirational start to the day, as well as:

 If you could give one piece of advice to Tampa Bay companies, what would it be?

Invest in your community resources. Use local companies as there are very talented people and companies just around the corner from you. Build relationships.

What are your hobbies?

Traveling, reading, learning about healthy eating/lifestyle, wine, and I’m in a Krewe – Queen Anne’s Revenge.

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