Name: Owen Pye
Years in RTO: Two years and four months
What’s your current role/title?
Marketing Manager at SKC Enterprises Inc., dba Rent One
What did you do before RTO?
In the years leading up to my time at Rent One, I’ve worked in the experiential marketing world. Most recently, I’ve worked in event related marketing with major brands and international tours. Throughout my time, I’ve worked with brands of all types to help create experiences that raised brand awareness and loyalty while capturing data and leads. I’ve held exciting roles, but I was traveling about 180 days out of a given year. This was a bit of a toll on my growing family.
What do you do in a typical day or week?
I lead a team of four in the marketing department. Our team is full of experts in their craft, be it design, social media or web-related. My job is to make sure each team member receives the tools they need to move the needle forward in sales and marketing. We all have a “do-whatever-needs-to-be-done” mentality. It’s a “we” and “us” effort. My day-to-day can include seeking out new vendor partnerships, making sure print deadlines are met, and ensuring our stores are on the same page as we are, and vice versa. I enjoy dreaming up future campaigns and ideas — it’s my favorite part.
How did you find your current position?
I met Kelly Martin and Larry Carrico back in 2017 and eventually Mark Williams, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. At the time, Kelly was leading another group and Rent One was a client. They pitched the vision of Rent One having their own internal marketing department, and Mark agreed to have me come to manage the team.
What are the benefits of working in Rent-to-Own?
I really enjoy the camaraderie in our workforce and the relationships built with our clients. For me, I think the benefit of the service we offer is felt by both sides.
How do you manage work/life balance with your role?
One thing I’ve really appreciated since coming to work for Rent One is that we definitely work hard, but when we’re off, that boundary is respected. Rarely do I have to put out any fires outside of business hours. My family appreciates that when I’m home, I’m home.
What do you predict will change in our industry in the next five years?
When I came on board just a couple of years ago, I could see RTO as being first on the scene in a growing cultural shift. Customers of all income levels can purchase with us. Yes, some are still wary of rent-to-own purchase methods, but no one bats an eye at subscription-based purchases like Spotify or Netflix. The last six months have proven that RTO is pandemic-resistant. I think in the next five years, brands like Rent One should consider subscription-based marketing. In many ways, we’re ahead of the game. We just need to make our messaging and branding feel familiar. I can speak for my fellow millennials to the fact that we don’t have a desire to own a lot of “things.” It is trending towards just the opposite. Our business model works right in step with that. We have to adapt our messaging to keep being relevant to our customers. So, in short, it’s branding.
How did you prepare for your role in RTO?
My prior industry experience helped me prepare for my RTO role from a leadership perspective, but the only thing that prepares you for RTO is just diving in. That’s what I’m trying to do each week, just dive in.
What do you love most about your job or employer?
My favorite part of the job will continue to be our willingness to throw crazy ideas at the wall and see what sticks. The idea of “going along to get along” is too boring. I’m very excited to see what our team will come up with in 2021.