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Advertiser vs Connector

by Owner Steph Mazanowski


Know what you don't know before you say no...We are all one relationship away from changing our future.

Know what you don’t know before you say no.


As business owners, we all get those calls from those darn “advertising people,” wanting to talk to the decision-maker. “Not interested,” you say just to hurry up and get off the phone. Or, you may even have a really great gatekeeper who is trained to ask a series of questions to determine whether or not they let the call come through. “He’s not interested,” they say.


“Not interested in what exactly?” I say.


You see, when I make calls each day, I honestly don’t even know whether what I have to offer is a good fit for you or whether you are a good fit for me, however as a business person, I am at least interested in exploring how we may be able to help each other… in some way…”advertising” partnership or not….


I get it though, historically there have been so many individuals and companies trying to sell you a form of advertising and then once they do, poof they are gone. These “advertising people” are doing what they do for a paycheck and may not even care or understand whether what they are trying to sell you is truly a good fit for your company. After year in and year out of attempts to get your brand out there with these “advertising people” making impossible promises, I can totally see why you have your doors and phones under lock and key thinking nothing works.


This morning, I was thinking about an appointment I scheduled yesterday. The gentleman told me, “We have no budget left for your product, and I have turned down meetings with 5 other ‘advertising people’ already today, so getting a meeting is a plus.” If that sounds like a wall up, decision has already been made and waste of my time to you, you are wrong in so many ways. I have no idea whether a sale will come of this meeting, however my response was, “well I don’t see myself as an ‘advertiser,’ but rather a community connector.” I look forward to our conversation and cannot wait to explore how we may be able to help each other connect and grow.


I was also thinking about those of you who are on my “wish list” that I, in my own head, think would be a great fit, who I’d love to explore partnership with in 2022. I bet in some cases you don’t even know I am trying to get ahold of you because your gatekeeper is THAT good. Or you may be continuously getting my “friendly follow-up” calls and ignoring them and not calling me back hoping that I will eventually move on and go bug someone else. (Don’t worry, I will, but I may pick up this old list in about three months and start bugging you again.) You see, I realize it’s not that you aren’t interested in a partnership, it is that you don’t even know what you don’t know. So, I thought I’d take a little time to let you know exactly what you (or your gatekeeper) don’t know… so at least you know.


At any given moment, we are all one relationship away from changing our future. I personally may not be the one than can help you do that, but I may be the one to provide the bridge to the one who can. You see, in the past five years, I have found myself in the center of a huge web of networking. It is a place I never anticipated being in, but here I am loving every minute of it. By now I have a couple of shoe boxes full of business cards, perhaps a couple thousand business professionals who I have sat down with, had great conversation with, and explored opportunities of partnership. My means of advertising may not have been the best fit for these people in the moment, but I now know who they are, what they do, what they have to offer, and how they might be able to help someone. What inevitably happens is, I then meet someone else who has that need and I am able to make a business connection that opens a door to an opportunity that otherwise may not have happened. At the time, I don’t even know what it might be, but it happens…daily.


Now, when it comes to marketing your business, I DO with my whole heart and soul believe there is NO BETTER way to micro-target to the people with the most buying power through multiple channels in a positive, uplifting way that gives back to the community at the same time. (That was a run on sentence of amazingness). The All-Encompassing Community Sponsorship aligns your brand with the good happening here locally every single month. You are aligning with the message to ‘shop local,’ highlighting local charities, and supporting local sports all while putting your brand in front of the right eyeballs. All of that, and you get ME. I am an always on, always aware, on the lookout for you; a set of eyes, ears, and voice for you all around the community… sometimes even across communities.


While I am not claiming single-handed responsibility in any of these upcoming scenarios, I certainly take ownership of providing a bridge or opening a window or door for so many. I have now spotlighted 48 different charities via my magazines over the past four years. I do not even know what all has come of it, but one story in particular leaves me believing there are plenty more where this comes from. (If you have an update, I'd LOVE to hear it!)


Early on a reader reached out with a story idea. He wanted us to do a story about his dog. “Aww cute, tell me about your dog.” Well you see, his dog is a therapy dog, part of an organization called Paw Print Ministries. He takes his dog around the community to churches, senior centers, schools, etc. as a positive, uplifting presence around the community. Another reader reached out and wanted to highlight a non-profit organization she was close to. Royal Family Kids puts on a foster camp every year and spoils these kids rotten with the week-long birthday party they have never had, complete with life-changing experiences the kids will cherish forever. I saw an opportunity to pair up the two organizations and they bring dogs to the camp for the kids to ease in the check-in process. Unbeknownst to me, I later found out that running the story for Royal Family Kids in the magazine and telling that story to various businesses during my sales pitch resulted in neighbors dropping off wish list items, West Bloomington Revitalization Project donating 22 bicycles, cash donations that allowed two more kids to come to camp and tons of new awareness and support for the organization.


A coffee chat with a Tesla employee resulted in a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club for weekend in a Tesla car raffle. Warm email introductions have resulted in an interior designer helping a new salon, trivia nights starting in multiple venues, paint nights starting in multiple venues, event planning for multiple events, health insurance options for a small businesses, vehicle wrapping for a fleet of cars, printing of marketing materials at a local printer, and the list goes on and on. What I thought initially was going to be pairing up my readers with the businesses, has turned into pairing up businesses with other businesses, and everyone with charity. It is heartwarming to know that one simple introduction can lead to something so amazing for both parties.


I am also always on the lookout for opportunities to plug my clients in beyond their ad in the magazine. I extend a hand to bring you along as a guest to my various networking groups in hopes of helping you connect and grow that way. Any chance I get, I plug my clients on the various social media recommendation sites on Facebook, Nextdoor, etc. I nominate my clients for various awards and recognition opportunities around the community as well. I certainly do not take 100% credit for the final results, but boosting my clients into the forefront for the community to see, helping instill that brand recognition, so when put in a lineup next to others in their industry, they are most recognizable and desired. It is no coincidence that 49 of my clients found their way to the top 3 in their categories for the Readers’ Choice awards and two are up for upcoming Chamber Awards.


So you see, who knows what may happen if you say yes. Let’s grab a coffee and explore possible partnerships. All pricing aside, let’s take a closer look at the overall value that is in front of you. The All-Encompassing Community Sponsorship as a stand-alone marketing option for your business is HUGE value in itself, but add that to the value of what you are helping me do in the community for local businesses, local charities and local sports, and then add in the value of my eyes, my ears, and my voice also working for you. Many quickly shift their thinking from not being able to afford to partner with me to realizing they can’t afford not to!


If your business would benefit from reaching the residents with the most buying power, we need to chat. If your business would benefit from a warm introduction to the right person to take your business to the next level, we need to chat. Even if you are shorthanded and completely overwhelmed with business right now and THINK you don’t have the capacity to grow, we still need to chat. I run into good, quality people looking for jobs all the time! If you are a business owner who loves the idea of aligning your brand with all things ‘good’ happening in the community, we need to chat. If you have a missed call from me or a message waiting, let's chat. If you are a business owner who has no idea I have even been trying to call you, please, call me! Let’s grab coffee and see what amazing things we can come up with! I’m not just “another advertiser,” I could be that one relationship away from changing your future.

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