HERE aims to build a ‘digital representation’ of the world, using geolocation data. It provides insights into how people move, live, and interact with each other and with the world. HERE has developed an open location platform that is licensed by partners, who use it to optimise experiences for their own customers. The platform gives users access to HERE’s data, products and services, a developer environment, and the HERE Marketplace, where they can exchange data. The platform has a run rate of computing more than 1 billion search queries, with 11 billion traffic probes per month, and 80 million geocoding requests and 24 million route requests per day.
We caught up with Stanimira Koleva, Senior Vice-President and General Manager for the Asia-Pacific region and Japan, to find out more about HERE’s approach to partner marketing.
Stanimira, tell us a bit more about how HERE works with partners.
We support several joint activities, and partners can generate leads from these. We think the platform lends itself particularly well to vertical partnerships and industry-focused activities. Historically, a lot of our joint activities focused on the automotive industry. We want to embed the technology into vehicles, and so we work closely with system vendors producing the rest of the electronics. Recently, though, we have concentrated more on new industries and use cases, especially now we are providing location-centric cloud services. A lot of our new partners are very dependent on us to generate leads, and much of what we do is aimed at developers.
How do you qualify and manage leads in joint demand generation activities with partners?
We qualify and manage all leads. The specialised nature of our market means that we typically select a single strategic partner in each market, and campaign with them. We generally have a preferred partner in each vertical and geography. We jointly agree on the targeted accounts, do some mailings or digital marketing, and then follow up all cases by telephone.
How do you measure demand generation activities with partners?
We track any leads allocated to partners for follow-up. For strategic integration partners, we measure it as a percentage of generated revenue. The leads go through us anyway, for GDPR reasons. We also want to ‘own’ our customer base, so we seek consent from all leads before passing to partners. If a partner wants to invest in their own marketing initiative, they can apply to us for funds, and we support them if we can. We also jointly engage with partners in press and analyst activities.
What sort of co-marketing activities do you deploy with partners?
We produce case studies in volume though our partner isn’t the ‘star’ in most of them. However, especially for case studies on customer service, we include a section that describes the partner, their offering and the customer value delivered. Case studies are extremely powerful in vertical markets. We also use thought leadership, and I think this is probably one of the most helpful elements of the marketing mix. Historically, the focus in location services has been getting goods or people from A to B. Now, though, the automation of business processes means there is an increasing reliance on the tech stack—but this isn’t something that automatically occurs to most people. We therefore need to educate and evangelise.
How do you provide sales and marketing enablement deliverables to partners?
When we launch a new product with existing partners, it can take a while before the first sale. The goal is to reduce this. We invested in direct sales force education and now we are repurposing that for our partners. We offer materials, content and training online and in person. Our channel and marketing teams also work with partners to plan and develop joint value propositions by industry segment and sub-segment.
How important is partner satisfaction with marketing activities to you?
We don’t see the need, yet, for a sophisticated method of measuring partner satisfaction. Rather, we listen carefully to what they’re telling us. I know they value marketing because they look to us to support them in their lead and demand generation efforts. If I were advising someone new to partnership marketing, I would say that marketing plays an important role. Partners will let you know if they’re not happy. People invest in things that work, so you will know if your partners are satisfied with your business partnership. If you can make yourself valuable, they will not be shy about giving you feedback.
Digital solutions lend themselves easily to creative yet pragmatic partnering approaches. HERE’s experience may seem “fluid” to seasoned partner marketing professionals. This flexibility will be key as markets become less enchanted by programmatic partners, and look for more context.