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A Unique and Innovative Perspective – Tom Hespos

I am joined this week by an old friend, and someone I look up to very much in the industry, Tom Hespos. As an early pioneer in the industry, there is much to talk about with Tom, especially changing patterns and emerging trends he has witnessed over his 20 years in the business and serving many different committees. We also talk about the backstory of how he came to be the founder of the successful marketing firm Underscore, the cynical nature of targeting, why we must expand the conversation of marketing when it comes to consumer privacy, and his own insider methods for advising brands on their own path on the digital landscape.


[1:05] Tom Hespos has remained an active participant in technology and was at the forefront of creating prolific writing in the digital space even decades ago.

[2:06] Tom is a speaker, thought leader, advisor, and founder of Underscore.

[8:33] The biggest change that Tom has seen in targeting is the massive amount of data that available to use for advertising. It is important to know what’s happening not only in digital marketing but those that invade consumer privacy offline, catalog marketing, etc.

[16:02] The philosophy of marketing has been, “I’m going to do this,” instead of “should I do this?”

[23:47] Tom strives to build models for clients where they can truly see and understand how the digital marketing is contributing to their business, primarily with things already accepted and successful within their business. This helps them stand before executive management to explain what they are doing, and why.

[26:25] It sure helps motivate people to get on board when their bonuses are connected to the metrics!

[43:33] You must know how to explain your technology clearly and simply and present the information in a way that’s realistic.

Mentioned in This Episode:

Underscore Marketing

Tom Hespos Twitter — @THespos1


  • “That’s part of digital — we accept failure.”
  • It’s on us in the industry to educate and to say here is how you get to the right understanding of all this stuff.
  • We really need to make sure have a concerted effort and united front when presenting all this information.
  • It’s about being well versed in a lot of different tech types, so you can be well versed when something catastrophic happens.