Introducing the Affiliate Rockstars
Welcome to Affiliate Rockstars!
This series was born out of a simple idea: Let’s highlight all the rockstars of affiliate marketing — including those who may not be found in the usual speaking engagements, podcasts, and award lists. With each profile, we hope to give the industry a broader awareness of the awesome individuals, unique perspectives, and savvy insights that make our ecosystem tick.
Every month on the TUNE Blog, you’ll get a front-row seat to hear from rockstars representing all different corners of the affiliate and partnerships industry. Sit back and enjoy the show!
Introducing Thomas Hung
Thomas has spent more than a decade in the marketing industry on the brand side. He has worked with affiliates at companies like eHarmony and TechStyle Fashion Group (Fabletics, ShoeDazzle, JustFab, FabKids), along with his current role at Hulu. Thomas also co-founded Helt Studio in 2020 to provide comfortable and fashionable chef uniforms to the cooking industry.
Rockstar Q&A with Thomas
What are your day-to-day-duties?
Build and nurture strategic partnerships through the affiliate channel. Recruit/optimize partnerships accordingly to annual budget.
How did you get into the affiliate industry?
I studied Psychology as a major at UCLA and I’ve always loved to study human behavior. Went to eHarmony as a marketing specialist and have decided to dedicate my time into affiliate marketing.
What do you think is undervalued in marketing in general?
What’s undervalued in marketing is that the effort to nurture a partnership/relationship sometimes can go a long way, for decades. Partnerships are truly a two-way street, it shouldn’t be a cold vendor/client relationship. What goes around comes around.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in affiliate marketing?
In my earlier years of affiliate marketing, I was leaning more towards the introvert side. I could’ve done a better job building all the amazing genuine relationships within the affiliate industry. (Well, it’s never too late!)
What are 2-3 trends you are seeing in the industry?
There are more tools to help scout/recruit publishers. People are figuring out affiliate x influencer marketing mix.
Do you have any side hustles or passion projects?
I am co-founder of an up-and-coming chef-wear uniform company named Helt Studio.
Helt in Norwegian means “hero.” We believe that all the chefs, baristas, and kitchen workers behind the kitchen were heroes to their family and to their community, and our passion is to be able to provide them with the best looking tech-functional gear. We want to be the Alfred Pennyworth for Batman!
How have you seen any marketing strategies change from Hulu to what you’re doing with Helt?
As Hulu is turning into a more seasoned stage as a company, we are focusing more on seeking incremental opportunity versus Helt is a baby with the greatest potential for growth. The focus for Helt is scaling and bringing up the revenue. We know our product kicks ass! Just need to world to know. LOL.
What have you done in the last 6-12 months to improve your affiliate efforts?
For Hulu, in the last 6-12 months, I’ve been focusing on optimizing the channel by looking at retention value and viewership.
For Helt, in the last 6-12 months, I’ve been recruiting publishers, educating them about the brand, and boosting up the revenue.
What are some of the things you might do differently during the holiday season?
We would dynamically shift budget to take advantage of the high shopping intention. For the last few years, we also sweetened the deal (promotion) during the holiday season for a limited time.
What’s the next big thing in affiliate marketing?
I believe the next big thing in affiliate marketing would be to marry performance base structure with influencer marketing. There is still hesitation from brands on spending more dollars in influencer marketing because the bottom line numbers are not there. Testing and optimizing would be key to success.
Senior Affiliate Marketing Manager, Hulu
Co-Founder, Helt Studio
As VP of Sales at TUNE, Nate’s team focuses on enterprise sales for TUNE, an industry leading platform that provides brands, agencies, and affiliate networks the infrastructure to track and manage their partner marketing activities. Prior to TUNE, Nate worked in sales and client services at Tippr, one of the early group buying platforms, and Efinancial, an online life insurance brokerage. Nate received his BA in Social Sciences from Washington State University.