Verdi Vision Blog Header

The Verdi Group Welcomes John!

John D. Clayton
Chief Analytics Officer at
The Verdi Group.

The Verdi Group has a Chief Analytics Officer – John! We decided it’s only appropriate to do a Q & A for you (and us!) to get to know him better – plus, get a sneak peek on his advanced analytics insights.

Can you tell me a little bit about your background? (College, past jobs, etc.)

I’m originally from the Rochester, NY area, and very happy to be back after 32 years in Southern California! My education includes Duke University where I graduated magna cum laude in French and Economics. I did graduate work in Economics at the Institut des Hautes-Etudes in Geneva, Switzerland. I also received my M.B.A. with honors from Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania where I majored in Marketing & Econometrics.

The first half of my career I practiced Big Data, doing large consumer database management for major loyalty programs such as United MileagePlus, Hilton Honors, Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Latitudes and Epson B2B.  The second half of my career, the last 16 years, has been in Econometrics/Predictive Analytics working for MarketShare and Accenture.

How did you come to know our President and Creative Director Bob Green?

Bob and I met in 1983 when we worked together for three years at Saatchi & Saatchi’s Direct Marketing Agency, CMS. We have collaborated many times since then!

What sparked your interest in marketing & advanced analytics?

My world-renowned professors at Wharton strongly encouraged me in my pursuit of the then-new science of econometrics (which started at Wharton). This new data-based field allowed me to serve my twin passions, marketing and advanced analytics.

What moments are you most proud of in your career?

Early in my career, I supervised the team that started Hilton Honors and United Airlines’ MileagePlus (two of the largest loyalty programs in the travel business). I built some of the earliest multi-million name consumer databases there. I also made principles developed in my M.B.A. thesis, “Non-financial Rewards for Sales Forces,” become a reality. Today, millions of business travelers earn free rewards thanks to my 15 years in loyalty programs.

My team and I at McCann Erickson also won a Gold DMA for our work on Red Moon, the Secret Soviet Moon Mission. Our loyalty agency only had six employees at that time, yet we won one of the most coveted rewards in direct marketing during our first year in business.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge within advanced analytics?

There has never been a greater interest in advanced analytics, yet corporate budgets do not support these efforts as they should. This is partly due to a lack of C-Suite education on the topic.

What are you looking forward to most in your role at The Verdi Group?

I look forward to bringing new ideas from advanced analytics into play in direct marketing.

What will the impact of AI over the next ten years look like?

I believe nearly all Fortune 500 companies will undertake their repetitive, human-staffed jobs with AI applications that require virtually no human intervention. And as a result, college education in STEM will be a must, not just a nice-to-have. I also believe thousands of new, high-paying AI-development jobs will be created for individuals who have advanced degrees in engineering and computer science. Not to mention a new, upper-middle class will emerge, one of AI and Advanced Analytics tech employees. 

And last but not least, what is your favorite type of cheese?

Swiss Raclette, nicht wahr!