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Meet Tam Alesi, Head of Media Strategy at Fluent
We are thrilled to welcome Tam Alesi to the Fluent team! As Head of Media Strategy, Tam is a key force in expanding customer acquisition efforts and supporting Fluent’s continued focus on growth, diversification, and customer centricity. With over 20 years of integrated marketing and media experience on both the agency and client side, Tam is helping to advance Fluent’s differentiated position as a data-first performance engine focused on real-world outcomes.
We sat down with Tam for her perspective on the latest industry trends and a look at her storied career.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Love life! Adventure often! Laugh much! Mom to Stella, Wife to Scott, Pup mom to Elvis & Simone.
What do you think are the key attributes that make a successful leader?
Curiosity. Resilience. Hard work. Ability to listen more, talk less.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career and why?
2 perspectives, both equally as important…
- I’ve had a string of great leaders, CEOs I’ve worked directly for which provided me the opportunity to contribute, fail and grow. Working with them has made up 70% of my career to date, and I am lucky to still consider all three mentors & friends.
- Just as important as great leaders, are the people who taught me what NOT to do. Two examples, one recent, one early on, people who just had no idea what they didn’t know. Additionally, they lacked the ability to ideate, listen, collaborate or take action. Most noteworthy, they were just mean people. For all those eager to grow and lead, this is very important – #DontBeAD*ck
Is there any advice you would give to your younger self, knowing what you know now?
- Working hard isn’t an option, it’s a must. Always give 200% if you want to grow, influence, succeed.
- Lean into mentors you admire and listen to what they have to say, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Their experience is invaluable.
- When looking at new opportunities, interview said opportunity harder than they interview you. It’s not just a “job fit” – “culture” and “people” are equally as important, if not more.
What has been one of your biggest career challenges and how did you overcome it?
Working client-side provided one of my biggest career challenges to date. Not because the job was difficult; in fact, I learned how to solve an entirely new set of business problems. That said, because the founding team was unwilling to a) acknowledge what they didn’t know, and b) innovate to solve problems – from tech to platforms, to competitive pressures, to items considered brilliant basics – it was an uphill battle from day one and it was almost impossible to drive change. While I left feeling positive about the value I provided in terms of strategic insights and growth opportunities for my direct team, it was by far my biggest career challenge to date.
How are social media and the rise of online influencers impacting media strategy?
Social Media and the rise of influencers have enabled mass media to become 1:1 – making Social Media and Influencer strategies a must use tactic for DTC brands. It’s no longer a spray and pray opportunity, elevated organically. Brands must be smart – use data to capture the right consumer in the right moment – and leverage technology to make purchases one-click / easy.
Social Media went from a last buy to a must buy. I predict we’ll see spending continue to shift and opportunities continue to expand.
What must DTC brands do to be successful in such a saturated space?
In Cannes years ago, I heard Sir Martin Sorrell say, “It wasn’t his 14-month old that kept him up at night…it was Amazon. Amazon, is a force to be reckoned with.”
To succeed, DTC brands must have an evolving Amazon strategy. And to be clear, avoidance isn’t a strategy.
In my opinion, Amazon is great because it’s customer-centric. Amazon is simple, makes every purchase easy and is a cultural phenomenon that’s unstoppable.
No matter your ‘product’ customers want simple, and they want easy. To be successful, brands must lean into that. Amazon can help brands manage a storefront, capture searches, prompt users to ‘add to cart’ based on smart AI. If you want to succeed as a DTC brand, you must embrace the opportunity vs. avoid. It’s better to capture more revenue (in that storefront) even with a dip from margin vs. losing out on the many more sales possible all together.