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The Makegood Q&A with Loren Hillberg, President & GM, Thinknear by Telenav

Loren Hillberg Headshot260The Makegood: You’ve been in the mobile space for a number of years.  What aspects of your experience are most relevant for your new role at Thinknear?

I’ve served in a number of digital and mobile roles but have always had a focus on scaling high-growth businesses. At Telenav, I’ve had the chance to develop a strong understanding of the mobile space, with a specific focus on how mobile and location work together. Telenav is a location-based services business , and so much location data is generated and/or used by mobile devices that my perspective on mobile has been very much influenced by Telenav’s approach. When the company acquired Thinknear, it was clear that the two companies were very complementary. Following the acquisition, I worked closely with Eli Portnoy, who founded the company, to drive the vision and growth of Thinknear. My experience combined with our strong team will allow us to drive the business growth in this market.

The Makegood: What drew you to take on this position at Thinknear?

As part of my advisory role to Thinknear, I became more involved with the team, and more invested in Thinknear’s success.  Though the mobile space is still very nascent, it is growing rapidly and the opportunities for innovation are exciting at this stage. As I look to the future, it’s clear that mobile is where the consumer is going to be. It is a challenging space in terms of managing the data, leveraging new technologies, and solving difficult problems for brands, but there is no question that the opportunities are huge.  That’s what drove me to take on this role.

 The Makegood: Can you describe Thinknear’s place within Telenav?

Thinknear and Telenav have a very healthy, symbiotic relationship.  Telenav has consciously decided to keep Thinknear operating as a separate entity, but at the same time Thinknear, and our clients, benefit greatly from Telenav’s technology and data.  We can really leverage our ability to access first-party location data and 15 years of location expertise.  Other competitors have to rely on third-party data and other external sources for this type of data, which increases their costs and offers fewer potential insights for targeting capabilities.

The Makegood: Thinknear launched the Location Score, Location Score Index, and Location Score Tags in 2014.  What can we expect in 2015?

Better accuracy in location targeting—and not just from us.  We launched the Location Score suite of products with the idea of improving the industry as a whole.  We’re already seeing an improvement.

We also see big opportunities in helping brands and agencies to more effectively reach their audience and to improve on the ability to measure ROI.  The question of ROI and measurement remains a key focus for the industry.  We’re excited about the solutions we’ll be rolling out in 2015 that will help close the loop for our customers.

The Makegood: Where do you see the future of mobile location advertising?

Eventually, I think almost every mobile campaign will leverage location data.  There’s no reason not to use it, as it helps drive performance and consumer engagement.  Creative will continue to improve as brands invest the time and effort towards the “localization” of all their content. And we as an industry will be delivering solutions that offer enhanced analytics and improved ROI quantification.  Overall, mobile is going to continue to grow and our ability to tell stories that engage consumers and drive behaviors will get better and better.

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