This is an interview with Randall Smalley, Executive (AVP) Global Marketing – Business Development of Cruise America
Where were you at 22, and how did you get to where you are today?
Finance in New York in Sales Trading for Equities, the big APPLE! I got here through a career in finance with sales skills and made the switch into the Outdoors segment at Cruise to help grow the marketing efforts, digital via social media, online reputation, and our international business with a strong team of executives and employees.
When did you really decide to “take ownership” of your career? What inspired you to pursue your passion?
Passion is helping people experience bucket list vacations and Cruise offers that appeal. It’s so awesome to be influencing people’s vacation behavior vs. just exchanging money. I enjoyed my times in New York and prepared me well for the change, but very excited to be more well-rounded and focused on a multitude of opportunities at Cruise. We have so much runway still!
All good career stories include some aspect of “risk.” Was there a moment in your career where you felt that you were risking something, but looking back on it now, that move made all the difference?
Risks are all relative, but it was a big change for me but for the right reasons. I had been around the company through family and there was an opportunity to really take a great brand and evolve the digital efforts. In 2017, we launched social mainly instagram, now 38k today. That is a team effort, but taking a brand that was so well known and attaching the loyalty and inspiration that a potential customer and/or follower has for Cruise was rewarding. The risks are like anything, moving to a new place, joining a new company, but Cruise is so well positioned that it made the decision very easy. Always hard to leave a budding career in NY though.
Where do you find significance in your work? What gives you the most satisfaction?
Customer happiness and ensuring the best service for them. The customer votes with their wallet and if they choose to go elsewhere, that’s on us if we can hear from them and improve. We are far from perfect, but understanding that the DNA of the business is the customer will always help the company grow and become more significant. When you ignore those needs, that’s when there is a problem. Getting them on an issue-free vacation that brings countless memories with their family, there’s nothing better.
How do you measure success in your role? How do you know you’re succeeding?
It’s easy to see what our team has built. We have started in a place and have a new outcome daily with our efforts. From online reputation to social the metrics speak for themselves. Technology is the next step to catch up on those digital initiatives, but the brick and mortar and operational piece of the business is always going to be there, it’s thinking of what’s next in making this brand, better than ever.
If you could offer your 22-year old self one piece of advice, what would you say?
Be confident, pursue your dream career, not where your current role might take you. Take risks, listen to your customers, and most importantly be grateful for people. Human capital is everything is a great business and good people bring great results.