Phil Rubin

CEO, rDialogue

Phil is CEO of rDialogue, an Atlanta-based customer marketing firm with clients ranging from mid-market to Fortune 100 and in industries including retail, travel and hospitality, telecommunications, dining, financial services and pharmaceuticals. Representative clients include Caribou Coffee, Cracker Barrel, Kimpton Hotels and Sprint, as well as a number of clients that can’t be named like a world famous customer-centric department store.

He has nearly 20 years of strategic marketing experience with an emphasis on customer loyalty and relationship marketing, integrated communications, partnership development, promotions and program development. He founded the loyalty practice at Loyaltyworks and led the spin-off of the practice to rDialogue. Prior to Loyaltyworks he was Group Vice President and General Manager of The Lacek Group, a loyalty marketing firm now part of OgilvyOne. While at Lacek he established the Atlanta office and was responsible for leading the development and implementation of relationship marketing strategies on behalf of clients such as Delta Air Lines, Cox Communications and UPS.

Phil has developed and managed loyalty and relationship marketing as a client both at Midway Airlines and at GTE Wireless (now Verizon). He began his career going through Macy’s Executive Training Program and working in store management.

Phil has an M.B.A. with a concentration in Marketing and Strategy from Tulane University and a B.S. in finance from L.S.U.

Other Links from Phil Rubin:

  • Posted on: 02/26/2021

    Target wants a bigger slice of Apple’s pie

    The quote on the topic, direct from Target, says it all (to me at least): “This new model was created with Target’s guests in mind." This customer-centric experiential strategy is what retail going forward must be in order for it to succeed. It is such a basic strategy yet all you have to do is shop most brands, in any channel, to see and experience how exceptional such a strategy and experience is today. Including Apple in RedCard's value proposition is icing on the cake. Smart move and one that will succeed and, apparently, expand.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2021

    Macy’s says it will recover and rebuild coming off a tough 2020

    The most encouraging aspect of Macy's earnings report was the actual earnings, in EPS terms. That said, there remain fundamental problems with its business that will remain a challenge and open question in terms of whether they are addressable in any kind of sustainable way going forward. Paraphrasing what Gene Destroyer aptly says, "Sears, J.C. Penney, Macy's -- inevitable." Having started in the original Macy's Executive Training program, reading that Macy's has added 1,000 new vendors is the antithesis of what we learned, which was that going narrow and deep on best sellers is how you win. Granted my experience was 35 years ago and Macy's was a different company, but when you read Apple's earnings they often talk about blockbuster quarters while citing specific product sales. Apples to oranges :) yes, but... Macy's has two other problems: it can't sell apparel (or most other goods) at full price and it has too many stores. The first problem is obvious and is best summed up by the words of a CFO of a client company, "great companies get their best customers to pay more, not less." I'm not sure a big off-price Bloomingdale's offering is going to help. The second problem is that while Macy's cites e-commerce performance as better where it has stores, having so many stores (600+ still) is a huge profit drag on a profitable digital business. That's a big denominator to manage, especially when mall traffic is never going to return to pre-pandemic levels, in spite of what the mall owners and operators hope for. Bottom line: good news for Macy's this week, but I'm not at all bullish on its future.
  • Posted on: 02/23/2021

    What’s so funny about authenticity, integrity and transparency?

    The headline says it all. The combination of authenticity, integrity and transparency add up to trust. And trust is more important than ever and when it's paired with a focus on customers, the payoff is clear. Customers are loyal to brands that are loyal to them, and brands like Farmgirl Flowers embody that beautifully, pun intended :). So does a Glossier. The notion of building a business with products you would buy and as a place you'd want to work for is a beautiful model and exactly what we set out to do at rDialogue: create the place we all wanted to work. Therein lies a challenge for many retailers. They don't trust customers or employees nor treat them especially well, similar to suppliers. Too many don't put their money or their mouth in the same place, and in the 21st century that doesn't work.
  • Posted on: 02/18/2021

    Is suburban retail (malls, too) primed for a comeback?

    I completely agree Steve. The winners will continue to win as leaders and the laggards will continue their slow death from irrelevance. In my mind, this applies both to the shopping centers (A-malls) and the merchants that lie (rent) within. The challenge ultimately lies in whether there are enough A-retailers to provide enough occupancy to the A-malls. I'm not sure there are, unless more online merchants expand to physical retail. If that happens, it's unlikely they will be willing to pay the rent that the David Simons expect, especially in larger centers in the suburbs.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2021

    The retail apocalypse didn’t happen last year, despite the coverage

    Thanks Paula!
  • Posted on: 02/05/2021

    The retail apocalypse didn’t happen last year, despite the coverage

    Thanks Gene!
  • Posted on: 02/05/2021

    The retail apocalypse didn’t happen last year, despite the coverage

    No doubt that "apocalypse" was overly dramatic but as Paula points out, there are a lot of closures and even more that were prevented due to PPP and other relief mechanisms. And let's be mindful of the vast number of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filings that we've seen and the bailouts/infusions that saved countless other reorganizations. How about Retail Darwinism as a better descriptor?
  • Posted on: 01/25/2021

    Will Godiva’s stores ever come back from the pandemic?

    This feels an awful lot like selling your portfolio of stocks in the middle of a crash and is similar to other moves that brands have made in abandoning parts of their businesses due to the near-term versus what will happen post-vaccine. It's also inconsistent with what we are seeing from other brands shifting away from wholesale and towards more emphasis on DTC where the shopping experience is and can be superior. While Godiva's online business is consistent with such a strategy; goods like chocolate are literally made for sampling and apparently their economics are better suited to this change in their distribution strategy.
  • Posted on: 01/20/2021

    Is My Pillow being ‘cancelled’ or is its CEO trashing the business all on his own?

    The perils of a free market in the United States. The link between brands and their stakeholders, not just their customers, is increasingly clear and it's not going away. It started with the Conference Board recognizing the merits of "Stakeholder Capitalism" and it means that brands and corporate leaders must have values that align with stakeholders. Breach the trust that goes with the alignment of those values and you will lose.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2021

    Shopify dumps Trump’s stores from its platform

    Not just businesses Evan! That said, violence and insurrection are and should be, at a minimum, tipping points.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2021

    Shopify dumps Trump’s stores from its platform

    100 percent. This is a fundamental question of leadership and, actually, what should be a relatively easy decision. Haven't we seen what happens when (some) people prioritize profit over democracy? More specifically, Shopify needs to think about its customers - the businesses and their end-consumers, as well as their employees and other stakeholders. Good for them.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2021

    Retailers call on Trump to end the national chaos he created

    It's great and especially important in today's world to see business leaders and industry associations like RILA call on Trump to do things like proceed with the transition, end the violence (yesterday) and even step down. What's noticeable and worth calling out is that while they direct these messages to the media more than to their legislators or directly to the WH, they mostly fail to share such messages with equally important stakeholders, starting with their customers and employees. Customers and employees, now more than ever, have expectations that their values and the values of the brands they work for and do business with are aligned. Businesses in general are missing a huge opportunity to not just engage those stakeholders, but to activate them. This is our country and it's up to every one of us to do what is necessary to preserve the republic.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2021

    Chewy is barking up the right tree when it comes to customer loyalty

    The "neighborhood store" mentality captures the essence of what loyalty marketing is: paying attention to your customers and treating them accordingly. Like you know them and care about them. Chewy's focus, starting at the top and extending through the organization, shows that loyalty marketing is a lot more than a typical and all too prevalent transactional program. It's what separates leaders like Chewy's from the laggards and those companies that simply "check the box" with a loyalty program.
  • Posted on: 12/28/2020

    Should retail CEOs be on social media?

    If we have learned one thing in 2020, it's that leadership matters. That leadership now includes having a voice on social media, whether we like it or not. The numbers - 80 percent of employees expecting it - provide more than ample evidence of this reality.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2020

    Should C-suite execs keep their opinions to themselves on store visits?

    There is value in what Mr. Mackey suggests for a variety of reasons. First, store visits are often so unrealistic, especially when they are expected. Stores generally never look better than when a senior executive is expected to visit. Standards aside, what about when a store is performing poorly and yet looks impeccable from a merchandising standpoint? Store standards are one thing and performance is another. Poor performance isn't always a function of the store on its own but also should include what the buying/merchant teams are planning and allocating for the store. The converse, of course, is also true.

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