Mandy McWhorter: Female Feature Friday
Updated: Apr 3
It is no secret that I am passionate about women's empowerment and women in leadership positions. As women's history month ended in March, a new series emerged here at The Honest Mama blog. Each week throughout April and May, Female Feature Fridays will spotlight local female entrepreneurs in the Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities.
Meet Mandy McWhorter, a marketing professional who is passionate about helping small businesses in the community grow and thrive.
Name: Mandy McWhorter
Business Name: Pronata Marketing
Tell us about yourself!
I am the owner of Pronata Marketing. I grew up in the CU area, attended the University of Illinois, and have been working in marketing for local CU businesses for 12 years. My experience in marketing has allowed me to gain valuable knowledge into many industrustries including retail, e-commerce, entertainment, and the media. I am passionate about small business and our local community.
How did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in marketing and what do you love most about your industry?
I discovered my love of marketing while in college. I took a few advertising and media classes as electives before I had declared a major and found that they were my favorite classes. Growing up, my favorite subjects were art and math, but I never thought that I would find a career that combined the two. When I started taking marketing classes, I realized that data and analytics played just as big of a role as creativity did. I was immediately hooked. So I declared my major and applied for an internship at Illini Media and haven’t stopped working in marketing since!
What type of clientele does your business focus on?
My focus is definitely on small businesses and entrepreneurs. I’ve always worked for small, locally-owned businesses in CU and have seen first-hand the struggles that they can face. Many can not afford the salary and benefits for a full-time marketing employee, but most outside marketing agencies are just as expensive, if not more. The few services that a business can afford to hire out-of-house are mostly from large, national marketing agencies where they are not getting the personal attention they need or are working with someone that does not understand Champaign-Urbana and it’s clientele. My goal with Pronata Marketing is to bridge that gap between our local businesses and affordable marketing services.
What are the various services that your business offers?
Anything and everything marketing (and more)! To list a few: social media management, email marketing, graphic design, website design, branding, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, traditional media, digital marketing, event planning, market research, consulting, and more. I have experience in all aspects of marketing and strategic planning for businesses. I really enjoy sitting down with a business and listening to their current strategies and developing a plan that is unique to their business’s needs. There is no one size fits all solution for marketing!
What made you decide to start your own marketing business?
When Covid hit in March 2020, the company that I worked for at the time had to make the tough decision to lay off 90% of their staff, myself included. While talking to a friend that was also a marketer and had been laid off, I joked that we should start our own marketing company. The more we talked though, the more it became a serious concept. Especially with the disruptions due to Covid and small businesses unable to support in-house marketing employees, there was a need in the community for affordable marketing services. After a few months of doing market research, laying out a solid business plan, and developing the brand, Pronata Marketing was born!
I love the meaning of your business name and the variety of services you offer in order to cater to all types of clients. Can you explain what made you decide to go this route with your services?
The name Pronata is based on the latin phrase pro re nata, which means: "for the present matter : under present circumstances : as needed.” The idea behind it is that Pronata Marketing is there for you when and how you need us to be. Some businesses may need full-service marketing while others may just be in need of one aspect like social media or email marketing. Some businesses may need one-time projects completed or just need some consulting so that they may move forward with marketing projects on their own. We are open to help however we fit in with a business’s needs and budget. You can think of us as "on-call" marketing.
There are so many small businesses and brand-new businesses locally that could benefit from your services and I love that you make those services affordable and customizable. Can you explain why marketing is especially important for small businesses and new businesses that are just getting started?
Marketing is ever-evolving and businesses need to adapt with it. What works for one business may not work for another and, in the same regard, what worked for one business 5 years ago may not work for them today. Changing and adapting your marketing strategy with your clientele is crucial. However, small businesses and start-ups are usually working with a very limited marketing budget. This means that every dollar spent is important and needs to show a return on investment. That’s why Pronata Marketing offers customizable marketing services that work with any budget, no matter how small.
If someone wanted to start their own business with little to no experience, what is one piece of advice you would offer to them?
Take advantage of your local resources! Especially if you are in Champaign-Urbana, there are so many amazing organizations dedicated to helping small businesses and they are FREE. I have a page on my site where you can find a list of those organizations here. I would highly recommend starting with the SBDC, Champaign-Urbana’s Small Business Development Center. They offer webinars and free consultations for those starting their own business. Their director, Don Elmore, has been a staple of the CU community for many years and can help you flush out your start-up ideas and advise on many aspects including business plans and financing.
Since your business is really just beginning, what are your hopes for the future of Pronata?
I’m really looking forward to in-person events starting up again! As a new B2B company that primarily relies on networking, it has been a struggle adapting to a world where face-to-face communication is rare. I also have plans to start offering more educational content in the form of webinars and it would be great to be able to host some of those events in person as well. I really enjoy talking marketing with others and hearing about other people’s businesses and ideas. I hope Pronata Marketing can help contribute to creating a community where businesses and entrepreneurs can benefit from sharing ideas and helping one another.
For more information on the services Pronata Marketing offers, you can find them at: