Alumni Spotlight: Nick Payne

Nick Payne, '08 graduate in Advertising


Graduation Year: 2008

Degree/Major: B.A. in Advertising

Current Employer: Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Hometown: Jackson, MS

Currently Reside: New Orleans, LA

Current Title: Marketing Supervisor

What do you do on a “typical day” of work? Manage marketing campaigns for the Fair Grounds' thoroughbred race track, casino and 10 off track betting locations in the New Orleans metro area. Tasks include creative direction, agency interaction, media buys, promotional executions, event planning, budget reviews and projections and watching the horses come down the stretch! I also manage all social media outlets for the track including: Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and others.

What led you to your current job/career choice? I started at Peter A. Mayer Advertising here in New Orleans right out of college. Peter Mayer is the largest ad agency in the Gulf South and provided a great upbringing in the marketing/advertising world. As a production manager, and then a project manager I was able to work in their largest $20 million account providing advertising in over 36 states. That helped mold me to become a marketer and I made the switch over to the Fair Grounds.

What are some of your career highlights/accomplishments/achievements?

  • Managing all production for CenturyLink, a Fortune 500 company at Peter Mayer
  • Creating an in house production design studio. Purchasing over $1.35 million in outside production costs for outdoor, direct mail, and collateral advertising
  • Currently the Director of New Business and Sponsorship in the Advertising Club of New Orleans - the nation's oldest Ad Club
  • Increasing casino revenue through advanced promotions and targeted marketing
  • Managing all social media campaigns at the track. Working for Churchill Downs, a world renowned publicly traded corporation

What are some other jobs you’ve had before your current position? Production Manager - Peter A. Mayer Advertising 2008-2010, Project Manager - Peter A. Mayer Advertising  2010-2011

Why did you choose to attend Southern Miss? Close to home, but far enough away.

What was your favorite/most useful class while at USM? Advertising Campaigns - the Advertising major's capstone class with Dr. Johnson.

If you could go back today, is there anything you would change about your college experience? I would be more focused on learning about the industry as a whole and trying to get as much real world business experience as possible.

What advice do you have for students going into your field?

1.)    Learn to listen. There are a lot of acronyms and language used in real life business that you're never taught in school.
2.)    Excel at one thing, but be knowledgeable in every field. There is a need for people who can design, write HTML and still lay down a sound business plan.

Who is your role model? My father.

Do you have any memories of your time at USM you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them! Writing for the Student Printz in the opinions column and getting letters to the editor about how wrong I was. One in particular was an article about how WUSM should be run by the students and for the students. The director of the station was really offended and wrote a harsh letter. The station ended up going to the hands of the students a few years later and really having success with its new business model.