Rule Your Marketing Track…. Don’t Run Around It Aimlessly


Many business owners often find the task of marketing daunting. Staying on track with your plan can be a challenge and often takes a single person to keep on track with the plan throughout the year. If you are a small business owner and do not have the luxury of an assistant or a full marketing department don’t worry, staying on track can be easily obtained by following this short list:  

1. Keep It In Your Face. Never file your marketing plan away in a file cabinet. Keeping your plan posted on your wall or board will allow it to be a constant reminder. If your plan is wordy get creative and make a nice visual chart that will enhance your decor!

2. Organize By Time Horizon. Divide your marketing plan into months. Following a timeline is often the best way to stay on track. More important put your monthly reminders into your electronic calendar to act as a back up. When you schedule meetings and appointments you will get reminders of things to do. For help with setting up your marketing plan follow our Roadmap of Marketing directions here

3. Plan and Prioritize Special Promotions. If you are like many small businesses you have special promotions or advertisements that need to go out at specific times. These are most often a greater part of your marketing budget. Keeping close track of these is crucial to your success. If your piece is not planned already leave time in your schedule for an ample planning process. 

4. Monthly Reviews.  Your marketing goals are like targets. Reviewing monthly to make sure all your targets have been met can be very rewarding. Proving you can stay on track and follow your marketing plan successfully will build confidence in this segment of your business!

5. Estimate Your Time Spent. Estimating your time spent on all of your marketing tasks will allow you to plan for next years marketing. Your business grows year after year. Keeping track of time spent on marketing is a great way to see what tasks you will want to delegate later. Examples of good things to track is:

  • How many hours do you spend on specific marketing activities?
  • What are the three main marketing activities where you spend the most time?
  • How many hours each week do you spend on marketing? Be specific: mailing, addressing, setting up, dealing with designers…

You’ll likely find that you are spending half your time on your highest marketing priorities. Some business owners haven’t carefully thought about their targets, and often neglect important marketing tasks until it becomes a crisis, demanding their full attention.

Marketing can be easy and fun when planned around your main business activities. Remember a solid, successful campaign must be consistent and followed throughout the life-span of the original plan. If you cannot stick to a full year of marketing it may be time to revise your budget and bring help in immediately. There are plenty of resources at your local chapters of APA, ASMP, ASPP, and PPA. Remember to utilize your core support groups for advice, referrals, and insight on steps to follow with the most success!

For assistance with your marketing and staying on track contact iHeart Marketing or book your FREE no-obligation consultation today!

How’d You Get That Shot with Shane Kislack

A Spotlight Series About The Technique Of Photographic Imagery by Photographers For Photography! 


Shane Kislack
My specialty is people for editorial and advertising.
I got an undergraduate degree in film production with the intention of directing movies.  During that time, Dallas had opened a studio and looked to be a “third coast”.  Robert Rodriguez had shown us
how to do Independent Films and a lot of ‘creativity over cost’ energy was in the air.  Unfortunately, about the time I graduated, the creative film industry dried up here.  On top of that, I learned that I didn’t want to move to L.A. or N.Y. to be a P.A.  So I stayed at the corporate job, that was my college job, for another 5 years.  Eventually that place drove me to medication and I knew I didn’t want to live my life in that environment.  So I quit and made a feature length independent film.  It was during the making of that film that my lighting guy noticed I was taking a lot of production stills and suggested I do “commercial photography”… a term I’d never even heard before.  After he explained the industry to me, I looked up some commercial photographers, found the ones I liked, and cold called them explaining that I’d like to learn from them.  One of them explained that I was looking to be a “photo assistant” and he hired me for a job the very next day.

A camera.  I say that simply because I really don’t care about what camera I’m shooting with.  It’s the experience of shooting and the emotion I get from the subject that really drives me.  I like some of my hipstimatic prints more than shots I’ve done with Hassalblads.  I never stepped foot in a dark room, so I don’t have the ‘film purist’ background…although I do appreciate the change of pace that film requires.  As far as lights, I much prefer the ‘let’s create something with what we DO have’ rather than the ‘let’s take every piece of equipment the rental house has, just in case’ style of shooting.  So, if I have to pick a specific thing, I’d say a funny assistant with a good personality.  Is that a tool?

I’m not the kind of photographer that carries a camera with them every where except for my iPhone.  The camera I WOULD carry with me would be like a digital Roliflex.  Something that has limited controls (so you use creativity to find images rather than focal lengths and shutter speeds) and that allows you to shoot as waist level.  However, I think the Canon 5D Mark II and III is the most versatile camera I’ve used.
I love the fact that everyone has a camera.  Everyone has a toaster but that doesn’t make them a great chef.  I feel that if my output doesn’t separate me from the general masses, then maybe I need to re-evaluate my career.  What’s more troubling is the  
attitude of ‘it’s good enough’ that encourages image buyers to hire incompetent photographers for cheap prices.  I wish there were enough jobs for everyone with a camera to make a nice living.
Expectations?  Always amazed, never surprised is how I’d describe the industry…so I can’t rely on expectations.   I’d love to see people start getting paid for their hard work, especially in the DSLR video arena.   I’d also like to see some great stories being told rather than a few vignettes with narrow  focus.  
I’ve done work for many magazines including O Magazine and Entrepreneur.  I’ve also created a few album covers where I’ve had total control over the idea from creation to execution to post processing.  Anyone that needs creative problem solving would benefit from the way I like to approach jobs.
I‘m choosing this photo of a little girl in a lone boat in a small pond (that’s not the name of it, I don’t like naming photographs).  Jess is an amateur model in my area and her mom had contacted me to photograph her for a test.  I wanted to, BUT…she had done a lot of other work for other local photographers, professional and amateur, and while they were always excellent…I just couldn’t come up with an idea to shoot.  So I kinda dropped the ball.  However, her mom Facebook friended me and I kept up with her.  One day her mom posted about some wolf dogs they raised and I immediately had the idea of doing a Little Red Riding Hood series.  I asked her if they had ever done a LRRH shot, they hadn’t, so we jumped on it.  Check out the series on my website. Thanks, Social Media!  

I set out with no crew (I like being flexible), just Jess and her mom and dad and a wolf dog.  We rode around their property looking for a place to shoot the LRRH series and we passed by this small pond with a row boat on the shore.  I immediately had them stop the car and we reconfigured  Jess’s LRRH costume to be generic.  I wasn’t sure what the story was going to be, I just knew that it would be interesting and hoped it would raise more questions than it answered.  To get the shot, we put Jess in the boat and her dad held a tied rope and pushed her into the lake.  I used a Prophoto 2400 pack with a 5ft octobox to light Jess from the shore and underexposed the sky.  I shot with a Canon 5D Mark IIIn addition, I used some photoshop to manipulate the mood and tone.  I had no idea if it would be interesting or not when finished and it didn’t really fit into a LRRH scenario…but I knew I wanted to capture the image that was in my head.  So I guess you can say I stopped the job I was doing to the capture this?

Working with kids is always a trying experience.  Their little personalities and quirks don’t always align with what you want to get done, much less on your schedule.  So when working with kids, you have to work fast and flexible because once they are done…THEY ARE DONE!  The whole Little Red Riding Hood series…including the accompanying video…was shot in 2 hours.  And this outtake was done in the middle of that.  You could never do that in a commercial shoot.  You need many more “definites” in a commercial shoot that don’t allow you to be as flexible.  But then again, I might not have gotten this shot on a commercial advertising shoot.  I shot about 12 frames of this scene and then we moved on to the LRRH stuff.

I chose this shot because it emphasizes my preferred method of shooting.  I like having very small crews (just enough to get the job done) because it allows you to be more flexible.  Sometimes I only take an assistant to keep me company and to stand in while I set up a shot.  Their expertise is just icing on the cake.  I worked with many different photographers as an assistant; some would only shoot when conditions were perfect and never stepped away from their specific idea, and others would set up a shot and had the attitude of “let’s see what happens”.  I prefer the latter method when able.  If you are reasonable competent, creative and open to serendipity, you can often find something you didn’t know you were looking for.  Some people have great skills in executing preconceived shots, others at capturing beauty that’s already there.  For me, this photo does both.

When I shoot a portrait, I want the viewer to want to meet that person.  When I shoot an editorial scene, I want the viewer to wonder what happened right before or right after the shot.
To check out ALL of Shane’s work 
please go to his websiteIf you are
a professional photographer or know
of one that should be in this series
please email us today at: 

How’d You Get That Shot: The Technique Of Photographing by Photographers

How’d You Get That Shot?


A Spotlight Series About The Technique Of Photographic Imagery by Photographers For Photography! 

The digital era helps some of the finest industries expand and witness growth in techniques that can only come from science and the creation of new technology. This series is prepared to take you back to the knowledge, creativity, and personal techniques of real Photographers. By real I mean the people that have a sole purpose of photographing for a living. The Photographers that don’t rely on photoshop for visual remedies. Photographers that know the difference between an image shot on an iPhone and one from a full format camera. Photographers that remember the cost of developing a bad image instead of just deleting it. Photographers that makes the Whopper look like the most delicious sandwich around or the one that drives Moms everywhere to stores for Huggies! The Photographer that can capture the raw emotion of a sorrowful smile and make us feel compassion in one instant. 

Today the creativity and hard work that goes into taking one single image is so easily replaced with “Hey, that’s a great shot!” without the knowledge of where it even comes from. The endless uploaded media we share that really does not do the subject justice hurts the true craft behind what Photographers really do. As Lawyers will argue that they argue the best cases and Doctors will confirm they know the best remedy for your ailment, Photographers are no different… they are the true expert behind the lens! Their job is their passion! They have studied and perfected technique. Some are still studying to stay abreast of todays vastly changing technologies. When a Photographer looks at a group of people they do not see a group of people they see the balance of light, the contrast of colors, the mere depth of perception that alters the image to make it memorable for a lifetime. And that’s what this series is about!

Together lets bring the art of photography back into that special light where it belongs. Let’s get back to what really goes into making a single image! While the world is full of creative people I believe I have gathered some of the finest professional photographers to tell us about their stories. In the next several weeks they will share their visuals, their explanations of techniques, and their depth of what goes on while exposing how they got that shot. I hope you enjoy all of them, I know I will!

If you are a professional photographer or know of one that should be in this series please email us today at: