“It’s all about the right message, to the right person at the right time.”
These words, shared by Senior Director of Partnership Management, Jenny Goco, have guided her over a nearly thirteen-year tenure at Daytona International Speedway and ISC.
Fittingly, it’s also a motto truly realized in the efforts of launching a new era of raceday fan experience with the 2016 opening of the world’s only motorsports stadium.
“At the end of the day, our main focus is the guest experience, so we’re going to always look for how we can continue to evolve to improve that piece,” she said.
Central to this reimagined guest experience are DAYTONA’s founding partners –Toyota, Florida Hospital, Chevrolet, Sunoco and, coming in 2017, Axalta.
“Our founding partners are the folks that have truly gotten in the boat with us and have made a significant long-term investment to be here at Daytona International Speedway and to enhance our customer experience right along with us,” she said.
After signing on as founding partners, each organization was tasked to work with DAYTONA to design, brand and fill its own unique injector, providing fans with even more to see and do at the “World Center of Racing”.
And perhaps nobody at DAYTONA had more to do with the successful integration of these fine partners than Goco and the talented partnership marketing team.
“I think DAYTONA Rising was one of the most interesting detours that my career took,” Goco explained. “Early on it became very evident that there needed to be somebody that could be that conduit from the partnership side to ISC's Design & Development Team.”
As such, two years ago her role transitioned to focus solely on DAYTONA Rising and the build out and onboarding of our founding partners over the course of the project.
“I was tasked with being the expert on all things DAYTONA Rising within my existing group to help educate those on the sales team and partnership marketing team,” she recalled. “Once partners were officially brought on board, determining how we were going to work with them to build out an engaging brand extension within a stadium that only existed on paper was the major challenge.”
And as one can imagine, bridging the communication gap between a contingent of architects/engineers and marketing/sales personnel of several different organizations took a great deal of savvy and finesse.
“The Design & Development Team really embraced us,” she said. “You can just imagine how hilarious it is to have engineers and architects sitting in the same room as sales and marketing people.”
Another major challenge was taking the “right message” for the vision for the new stadium, along with the vision that each partner had for their space – which varied greatly by partner -- and finding the right balance of both within what was physically possible for the space available.
“What I think is so noteworthy is that, all of the injectors are so different,” she said. “How Sunoco chose to represent their brand is extremely different from how Florida Hospital chose to represent their brand, and not just because of the obvious differences in their business. What they wanted guests to see, hear and experience within their space and what feeling they wanted people to take away after the fact was all part of a very strategic approach to how they wanted to tackle this opportunity. Whether you're a true, hardcore race fan that wants to get an up close look at a NASCAR show car or somebody who is really interested in how Florida Hospital created this ‘concrete jungle’ within the stadium with the inclusion of their overhead tree canopy, there's a little bit of something for everybody.”
The job proved to be right in her wheelhouse, especially with the backing of a terrific team.
“Obviously, this isn't just about me. We have a great, extended partnership marketing team that is invaluable in successfully managing these partnerships day in and day out.”
Goco and her team are primarily tasked with delivering value to the partners, providing consistent, effective communication to a broad range of people and organizations. Given this, it’s not surprising that she stresses people skills as the most important aspect of her job.
“For me, it all comes back to relationships,” she explained. “It's about understanding people and how and when to communicate to them. Maintaining and growing relationships is a priority for me.”
Interestingly, of all the relationships she’s built in her time at DAYTONA, it’s the one with her husband T.J. that’s proved most significant.
“I met my husband at work here – he is also still a part of the DAYTONA team,” she said. “We're truly a DAYTONA family. We've been supported extensively throughout our careers, both professionally and personally, by this extended ISC family. We wanted to put roots down and that‘s what we’ve done.”
While she’s definitely put roots down in her personal life, it’s the seeds she helped plant during DAYTONA Rising that are bearing the most fruit for fans.
“We have provided this amazing experience in terms of how people are flowing through the stadium, the amenities available to them, the amazing sightlines, the vertical transportation, the free Wi-Fi and so much more.”
And she’s certainly not shy about discussing what the founding partners have brought to the experience.
“What our partners have really brought in are key components of engagement and entertainment –those elements also provide a real look into what's important to those different brands.”
“Sunoco’s play on those interactive fuel tankers was so cool,” she remembered. “How Florida Hospital represented themselves. I mean, there's a waterfall at a racetrack property and an LED canopy that changes seasons. That's kind of unprecedented within motorsports. You have Chevy that really focused on their winning history in racing and even more specifically, at DAYTONA. Toyota wanted to infuse their story in every element of the experience – honoring their employees, demonstrating their extensive support of our veterans and showing how deep their Made in America story runs.”
She even shared a few of her personal favorites.
“I'd say that the Toyota Space Shuttle nose cone is one of my favorites, along with the LED canopy in Florida Hospital,” she began. “The Busch Bar is terrific as well, really reinforcing the message that Busch is back in the sport. Everyone knocked it out of the park.”
As for what fans can expect in 2017 from the new Axalta injector, she was only able to give a few hints.
“The exterior rendering has been released,” she mentioned. “They are so dedicated to enhancing the guest experience. They are focusing on a "Color of Speed" theme with their branding, which is a really unique, creative approach that represents who they are as a company - I think folks will really enjoy.”
Speedweeks 2016 alone left her with a lifetime of truly special motorsports memories.
From walking between the beautifully designed and full finished injectors before the sold-out 58th running of the Great American Race to standing in Gatorade Victory Lane for Founding Partner Toyota’s first ever DAYTONA 500 victory, it was truly a day for the record books.
“I truly don't think there's a word to describe it,” she reminisced. “It was incredible. To hear the feedback from our partners, from our fans and to feel that sense of a two-and-a-half year job well done was so gratifying. To have it have been such a success personally and professionally, for all parties involved, made it all worthwhile.”