Meet Josh Derouin: SVP of Performance Marketing and Analytics at BVK


Josh Derouin sees beauty in the simple things — focus, family adventures, and bringing a mindset of curiosity to his work with data analytics. As Senior Vice President of Performance Marketing and Analytics at BVK, Josh digs into the insights for global destinations of all kinds.

Keep reading to find out what inspires Josh — and why he and his family are reprising their 2023 summer travels.

Tell us about your career path — how did you get into the role you are in now?

I started my career as a Flash developer — I believe, the month before the iPhone came out, which basically eliminated Flash from existence. So, I quickly pivoted to figure out how to use my technical skills and stay within a marketing and design capacity. Digital strategy, website design, and social media were natural places for me to fall as it's all very creative, but also data-driven. I worked at a startup company for a few years that was a media channel for hunting and fishing content.

The real reason I ended up at BVK is that those skills brought me to a company called The Mark Travel Corporation. That's where I got my start in travel and tourism, and I was the website manager for a big series of consumer websites for a company that was very traditionally focused on selling vacations to travel agents. They actually processed the first online travel booking for travel agents. When I started working there, our ad agency was none other than BVK — and that was 13 years ago. 

I got to know all the people at BVK. And then throughout my career, I've always kind of jumped to different places with increasing responsibility, but always focused on the performance of digital products. So I went to a software company, then to a big manufacturer, and three times over the years I hired this ad agency BVK. Over time, I found I liked the fit of the agency and had all the experience they were looking for, for someone to lead and transform analytics for them. Five years ago, I came on board to help them move from what has been a historically traditional ad agency-type environment to one that has digital as the foundation for what we do here.


If you weren’t doing this work, what do you think you would be doing instead?

If I didn't work at an ad agency teaching people how to practice data analytics, I would be working on a product. I would be the builder or the person on the product team working with customers and clients.

And then I would say, passion-wise, I'd be a professional head coach of youth sports. That's what I would do. If I could just coach my kids sports and just be all in on that, I would definitely do that.

Where do you go to learn or to find inspiration? Are there any people, books, podcasts, activities, etc. that are capturing your attention lately?

I'm a big reader, and I am all about personal performance and team performance. The author that I have currently gone down the rabbit hole on is this guy named Cal Newport. He graduated from MIT and is a professor at Georgetown, and he’s basically a philosopher on how to work and how to improve work.

I'm currently really inspired by the idea of focus and quality over quantity — which kind of flies in the face of working in the agency world. But what inspires me is thinking about how to apply it, especially in travel and tourism. There's so much information available to us. So really, there are any number of stories that you can tell yourself about anything. 

However, quality is the thing to pursue. And so for me personally, that's what I'm going after right now is, How can I help my clients find the quality measurements and what they're actually moving the needle on versus vanity metrics and things like that. 


Tell us about a place you love — what do you love about it, and what would you tell someone who is planning to visit for the first time?

I love the Reno and Lake Tahoe area. And it's weird, because it's a hidden gem in that everybody thinks they know Reno, but no one really knows Reno unless you're from the area, in my opinion. 

We did a trip there last summer, and I was absolutely shocked at how diverse it was in landscape and things to do and people. And if you're at all interested in sunny weather, some adventure, some relaxation, good food, and also a laid-back cottage-type feel — you can get it all in one place. 

And it's beautiful — stunning — when you see it. Everybody's seen pictures of Lake Tahoe, and then you see it, and you think, I could not have really predicted that. We loved that trip so much that we're going back this summer, and not even wasting another week going someplace else.

What is your “bucket list” travel destination?

I would like to take my kids to see Normandy where the D-Day invasion was and then do some sort of tour following major events in World War II. We enjoy history, and for some reason, my kids have latched on to World War II as a thing. So I think that would be cool. 

But as an aside to that, even just going to D.C. with them as a family and going through the various historical monuments would be really cool. We've been snowboarding in Breckenridge a couple of times, and we want to get to Wyoming, too.


What feature or element of ZDOS® either sparks the best ‘aha moments,’ leads you down the best rabbit holes, or makes your job easier?

The majority of the work that we do at BVK, as it pertains to using ZDOS®, has to do with media strategy and planning. From a segmentation and audience-finding perspective, that's really big for us. And on the back end of that understanding, the Website Contribution is also really nice to use after a campaign has taken place. 

The other portion that's really been helpful with our agency-of-record clients is preparing for our annual planning summits. Every year we all gather in one room and ask, What do we know? What are we going to do this year? And my colleagues always turn to me, the analytics guy, to provide some insights. 

What I like about ZDOS® is it allows me to get curious about things. I work through each module. And it's kind of like going back through a good book where you've earmarked or underlined things. I go through everything, and I summarize the year. 

What ZDOS®  is really good at is it allows me to take a big step back. I re-annotate everything that I find, and it helps me to understand some things that were aha moments that we didn't even realize when we were in the middle of the campaign. It offers the zoomed-out view.

What’s the biggest opportunity the industry is missing out on when it comes to data or technology?

I often see companies investing in tools that they expect to be the solution to all the problems. But this highlights a broader problem. You buy a drill, but that doesn't mean you know how to do DIY. You have the influx of AI tools, but they won’t automate your life without you giving them the right information. The tools themselves are enablers of smart people who have to be creative, think on their feet, and understand the industry and the inputs. 

You need a process to use the analytics to help inform the way you do your job because the tool won't do the work for you.

The other opportunity is data literacy. If we can teach and certify people in data analytics and how to think about data, it's only going to improve our use of the data to make decisions. Tourism is going to increase, and media performance is going to increase. And agency relationships are going to improve because organizations won't be hiring and firing vendors so frequently because they have a clearer understanding of what they're getting. 

BVK is a Zartico Certified Agency Partner. Learn more about how destinations and agencies can join forces and use data to achieve communities’ long-range visions.