Former actor gains digital marketing savvy to build his own business
Marco Renna. Photo by Greg Ehlers.
“I developed confidence in my ability to be competitive in today’s marketplace, and to combine more traditional approaches with new technology.”
After leaving the acting scene over 25 years ago, Marco Renna enjoyed a varied career in IT, web development, marketing and advertising. Following his passion for marketing, and looking to develop his digital skills, Marco knew he was ready to take his career to the next stage. After completing our Digital and Mobile Marketing Certificate, he and his wife started Sassy Talent, a boutique film and television talent agency in Vancouver. Today, Marco works behind the scenes, managing all digital communications, brand-building and promotional aspects of his business.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your work?
Using the skills I learned in the program to build a small business in a very competitive industry. I enjoy developing the brand identity, creating marketing plans and increasing our public reach.
What drew you to the Digital and Mobile Marketing program?
In my previous roles, I always enjoyed the marketing aspects the most. I needed to add to my existing skills and knowledge to remain competitive in today’s market. The program was intensive, accelerated and comprehensive. I knew it would prepare me for the next phase of my career.
What was it like going back to school?
Scary. I was 20 years removed from school. I didn’t know what to expect, or if I would be able to keep up with other students who were potentially much younger and more tech-native than me. In addition to balancing my schedule with the demands of the program, it took thoughtful application of each new technology to my professional experience in order to really learn the various tools and platforms.
What sort of challenges did you face?
I’m a writer and storyteller. Analytics, search engine technology and data-driven marketing were not my comfort zone. I knew that marketing was more than photos of kittens and viral YouTube videos, and I wanted to learn the mechanics behind it. It took focus, studying and tenacity—kind of like learning a new language—but I got it eventually.
What’s the most valuable thing you gained from the program?
I made some great friends and gained new perspectives from both my fellow students and instructors. Most of all, I developed confidence in my ability to be competitive in today’s marketplace, and to be able to combine more traditional approaches with the new technology available to me.
How did the program prepare you for the work you’re doing now?
I definitely gained the knowledge to effectively use social media marketing and Google AdWords. Learning from industry pros was paramount to my success. I also had lots of hands-on practice with new media technologies and discovered a hidden passion for creating videos.
Any advice for future students?
Whether you’re developing new skills or updating existing ones, this is a challenging program. Go in with an open mind and stay open to the experience. Ask lots of questions. Your capacity to be a great digital marketer is only limited by your willingness to challenge yourself every single day.
Marco Renna. Photo by Greg Ehlers.
More about Daniel
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At first, an astronaut. Then a Broadway actor and dancer.
What are you reading and/or watching right now?
Forces of Nature and Human Universe with Dr. Brian Cox on BBC Earth, and reading The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
If you could have a dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
My father. He lost his battle with cancer 16 years ago and never met his granddaughter or my wife. It would be nice to have one family dinner together.
What’s one food you would never give up?
Favourite travel spot?
I spent time doing volunteer work in the South American rainforest when I was 20. It was amazing! Life is perfect swinging from a hammock in the middle of the jungle!
Any hidden talents or hobbies?
I love music and astronomy. If I were independently wealthy, I would build a music studio in my backyard with a killer telescope in it.