American Advertising Federation Daytona Beach
Q&A with Daytona Beach AAF Member Tracy Marino
Q. Tell us a little about yourself and the company you work for.
Tracy Marino, Director of Marketing & Development, Daytona Beach Symphony Society
A native New Yorker, I grew up on Long Island, went to school at Boston College, and have lived in Manhattan, Austin (TX), Brooklyn and now Daytona Beach. My career has spanned many years in general and integrated advertising, time as an indie film producer, and currently, my first “client side” and non-profit position, as Director of Marketing and Development for the Daytona Beach Symphony Society, now in it’s 64th Season.
Q. What do you do for inspiration?
Inspiration for me comes in many shapes and sizes. Mostly in the form of creative expression, including art, music, film, literature, performing arts, design, architecture, and sarcasm.
Q. What is your all time most memorable moment at the Symphony Society?
2014-15 was my first season with the Symphony Society, and also my first chance to experience one of our community programs, YES! (Youth Experiencing Symphony), in action.
With YES!, we work with almost 70 Volusia County schools to bring in 250 students, ages 6-18, to experience the performing arts, some for the first time. We provide bus transport, refreshments at intermission, and a Q&A after the performance.
At the Danish National Symphony performance last season, the YES! students were grade school level. Conductor Cristian Macelaru and violin soloist, Ray Chen, front and center for the Q&A, and were met with a field of raised hands, with an abundance of interesting questions. And the spirited curiosity of the kids was matched in enthusiasm by both the Maestro and Mr. Chen. The pure enjoyment in the room brought tears to my eyes and reminded me how impactful the arts can be, especially when fostered with genuine curiosity.
Q. What’s your favorite project you’ve ever been involved with?
A few years ago, in Austin, I worked at an agency called GSD&M, as Director of the Integration department. One of my assignments lasted about 3 years, and was working with the U.S. Air Force, on their traveling trucks, community outreach, and NASCAR programs. I met wonderful people at bases in San Antonio and around the country, and I still keep in touch with my client, Captain Jeff Owen (ret.), who I was most honored to serve. Some additional highlights in my advertising career include working with American Express Corporate Card (at Wunderman), Mercedes-Benz.(at Rapp), and AT&T (at GSD&M).
Q. What does the next 10 years of advertising look like to you?
Regardless of the era, advertising is about branding, connection and advocacy, whatever platform presents the message. Over the last few years, technology has become intricately woven into our marketplace. The increasing interactive capability of the television screen will fuel brand engagement and accessibility of purchase. And the continued personalization of smaller screens will further distill the messaging. History can be cyclical, and currently, while destinations like Amazon have grown exponentially, downtown alliances and movements towards farmers markets, and local bricks and mortar brands, have also grown. It’s fascinating to see both branding and commerce evolve.
Q. What’s your favorite thing about working in the Daytona Beach area? What do you think Daytona Beach has to offer that other cities don’t?
In some ways, Daytona Beach feels like a city, in other ways, like a town, and in yet other ways, like a vacation destination. This unique mix fuels the essential and unique experience that is Daytona Beach. And just getting a glimpse of the ocean is inspiring to me both personally and professionally. Having grown up on Long Island, being here strikes a kindred chord with me.
Q. If you weren’t working in advertising, what would you be doing?
I have lived that answer…through my indie film making, and now, working for a non-profit in the performing arts. I’ve worn different hats but it’s always been about helping make creative things happen.
Q. What advice do you have for students/people just starting out in advertising?
Relationships and flexibility are vital. Keep in mind that the politics of working client-side can be tough, but on the agency side, facing any and all curve balls a client might throw your way, it’s about being handed a challenge or problem and creatively finding solutions. Also, as a marketing professional don’t forget to step back and experience brands through the eyes of the consumer we all have inside us.
Q. Where can people connect with you or learn more about the Symphony Society?
An important part of my role at the Symphony Society is community outreach so I participate with various groups in town, and you can find me at our performances, running around the Peabody or talking with people in the lobby at intermission. And for more information about us, you can visit dbss.org and attend a performance!
Q. If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?
Years ago, while interviewing at Wunderman, I met a woman named Marj Kalter. Marj was smart, savvy and inspiring, and the reason I took that job over other offers at the time. From then on, when she wasn’t my boss, she was my mentor and played an important and unique role in my development as a professional woman.
Q. What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?
One thing. That’s a tough one. Does LoveMusicHumor count?
Q. Before you go, is there one last piece of wisdom you can drop on us?
One of the strongest ideas that has woven itself into all my career evolutions, has been the simple phrase, “it’s all about options.” I respect our individual decision-making and believe having and providing options sparks a fruitful environment.