An Interview witH
Brian R. Walton
An Experienced Marketing Director
with Digital Expertise.
Download .pdf of this interview
What do you think has been the key to your success?
I’ve had the advantage of working my way up through the ranks, from ad agencies to Disney to Sandals & Beaches Resorts. Even as a leader, I was able to say confidently that I’d already done the work that my team members were doing. Having worked for large corporations, plus having been a consultant to small businesses, I have proven that I can flex my strategic planning skills one minute, or dive into the trenches and do HTML code or data entry the next, depending on the task at hand.
How do you approach work?
I like to put together puzzles. When you’re sitting down to put together a puzzle, you have to determine the strategy – start with the edges, then sort certain colors – be sure no pieces are lost in the couch cushions, and systematically work to put the puzzle together. With a work project, you have to look at the overall picture, determine the best strategy for accomplishing the task, check your resources, and lay out your plan of attack. Sometimes you have to reevaluate your strategy along the way, but that’s OK. The thrill is having completed the task (or puzzle) successfully.
How do you face new challenges?
I’m not intimidated by new challenges, whether it’s a task I’ve never done, or some new technology. I just jump right in and start learning. For example, when I started doing print production, I needed to learn more about paper. I bought a micrometer and started measuring the thickness of every piece of paper in sight. And I partnered with my paper salesmen, and learned how paper was made, the different types, coatings, etc. I became the expert. When one of my consulting clients wanted to add a shopping cart to his website. I said, “no problem,” despite that I’d never done it before. I started researching e-commerce platforms and learned how to integrate a shopping cart into his website. I had him up and running in no time. And, now I have a new skill to use in the future.
What is your approach to leading a team?
I’ve led teams of various sizes, up to 13. The key is something I learned during my years as a leader at Walt Disney World. Understand each team member as an individual. What is their work style? Do they work better after a little chitchat about the weekend, or do they just want the facts and to be left alone, with minor supervision? As a leader, I flex my style differently for each team member, to get the best out of each individual. They are happier, and superior work is the result.
“TAKE ON NEW CHALLENGES
What was the proudest point in your career so far?
There were many proud times, including watching many of my staff progress in their career paths. But of my accomplishments, I’d say there are two that stand out.
First, creating the “College of Disney Knowledge” during my time with Walt Disney World. I had to create something from nothing – virtually NO budget to work with. I created a training program to teach travel agents how to become “Disney Specialists.” It was a unique marketing method using training, rather than platitudes, to give travel agents the information and tools they needed to be successful. It was well received, and I watched the number of loyal Disney travel agents grow, as well as the revenue we got from them.
The second point of pride that stands out would be the creation of the Affiliate Marketing program for Sandals & Beaches Resorts. They had never heard of the concept, so I introduced it. I started with revenue projections, low, medium and high ROI. As I rolled out the program, we blew the doors off the high ROI. I continued to fine-tune the program, and started building business relationships with our top affiliates, in order to maximize those programs. And, I worked with the middle-producers, to give them tools and incentives to become top producers. The program continued to grow, and is still working successfully today.
What’s next for you?
I’m happy to be consulting, helping out small businesses or working on project contracts. But I’d really like to get with a larger organization, like in a Marketing V.P. or Director role, to put all my experience and skills to work, without the bother of canvassing the streets to try to find my next consulting project. Ideally, that would include leading a team of people. Training, coaching and mentoring team members is very rewarding to me.
Brian R. Walton
After starting his career with Advertising Agencies in Account Service, Brian spent 16 years with Walt Disney Attractions, in various Marketing and Sales roles, working on Resort Marketing projects, Disney Vacation Club and creating the first Walt Disney World Website – “Disneyworld.com”.
He then re-imagined “Disneyland.com” to include Disney’s California Adventure, the new Disney’s Grand Californian Resort and their Downtown Disney nighttime entertainment district. There he built up and led the Disneyland e-Marketing team.
Brian then moved to Miami to become the Senior Director of New Media and e-Marketing for Sandals & Beaches All-Inclusive Resorts. There he supervised a staff up to 13 handling Website development, e-Commerce/booking engine development, Search and Email Marketing, and the Affiliate Marketing Program.
At Paramount Hospitality, Brian was the Director of Marketing & e-Commerce for three resort hotels on International Drive in Orlando. This hands-on position allowed Brian to expand their Social Media presence, email marketing strategy and website development/maintenance.
Currently, Brian is doing Marketing Consulting in the Orlando area, helping small businesses enhance their online presence, and tackling various marketing contracts as they come up. Brian is open to considering the right opportunity for a full-time position.