Rouben is the Director of CRM & Optimization at Hilton Worldwide, responsible for delivering scalable and 'ready to market' analytics that power highly personalized decision engines in direct marketing channels. With extensive experience in Hospitality and Financial sectors managing marketing analytics, customer insights, database marketing, digital marketing and risk management, over the course of his career, Rouben has spearheaded numerous successful market deployments of Customer Centric Strategies and Customer Contact Optimization, with in excess of $100 million revenue gains.
We sat down with him ahead of his presentation at the Customer Analytics Innovation Summit, taking place this June 16-17.
How did you get started in customer analytics?
I was in this field for almost 20 years. I guess it was a combination of a few factors. One of them was my structured and logical mindset and, on the other end, it was the perceived opportunity that existed in the industry with a potential to grow and evolve. It also coincided with rapid advances in computational technology which kept me in this field for all these years.
Are there any particular developments that will make it more challenging for analysts to derive insight from data?
There are many factors that make deriving insights from data more and more difficult and it is hard to list all of them. In my opinion, the biggest threat to deriving insight from data comes from extremely short 'shelf life' of the actionable data, pushing towards near real-time decision and execution. On top of that, we have more and more competing companies engaging in very sophisticated customer-centric analysis, which will bring us to a new equilibrium where analytical sophistication will reach diminishing returns.
Many people think deep customer analytics is unethical. Should companies be allowed to know so much about a customer's habits and browsing journey? Where do you think the boundaries are?
I think the boundaries of customer privacy becomes a very nebulous concept. On one end we have people broadcasting about their life and actions in public domain every step of the way, and on the other end, there is a pressure to restrict access to customer data. I think the ethical aspect of using the data is different for different people and is never going to be one size fits all. However the key ethical aspect, which should be adhered to at all times, is respecting customer preference.
Customer Analytics is no longer a nice to have, but a necessity. What do you see as being a game changer for customer analytics over the next year? Where can you see the technology going?
As I elaborated in question 3 – There will be a push towards real-time decision-making engines with full integration with delivery platforms.
What will you be discussing in your presentation?
I will be discussing the concept and example of ready to deploy analytics, it is not quite fully automated real-time decision engine but definitely a step in that direction.