In this podcast episode, we interview Tim Bohn, Founder of GatedContent, an enterprise web form and content gating platform.

Tim shares how GatedContent is helping enterprise companies scale up their marketing automation and lead generation activities, to enable companies to build consistent campaigns easily and effectively across any website or content management system.

He also shares what strategies he thinks are best for driving lead generation through content marketing, and what B2B marketers could be doing wrong with forms and content to miss out on generating leads.

Transcript: Interview with Tim Bohn – GatedContent

Mike: Thanks for listening to marketing b2b tech, the podcast from Napier, where you can find out what really works in b2b marketing today. Welcome to marketing b2b technology, the podcast from Napier. Today, I’m joined by Tim bone. Tim is the founder of gated content and a marketing technologist. Welcome to the podcast, Tim.

Tim: Thanks for having me.

Mike: Well, it’s great to have you on Tim, particularly as you seem so busy, you’re still working in an agency as well as driving gated content. How did you manage to deal with that?

Tim: Yeah, that’s true. Yeah. Well, I mean, it’s really getting content is a spinoff, from my experiences from working in a marketing agency. So over the years, the agency, we built quite a few tools and applications for enterprise businesses doing b2b marketing. And, you know, a couple of them turned out to be quite interesting. And we took them to market and gated content is really the main one we’re focusing on right now. So yeah, I do have I wear two hats on a day on a weekly basis.

Mike: That’s impressive. So gated content was that designed to solve a problem for a specific client or a group of clients.

Tim: It was probably a sort of pattern emerging that we saw when we worked with large businesses running marketing automation. So we’ve been working with companies like that for probably nine or 10 years, working with the likes of Eloqua, Marketo, HubSpot apart up. And we noticed the challenge that large businesses has in trying to roll out their lead generation forms across the websites scale. And certainly, when you look at multi language or multi country campaigns, it really was a challenge, really getting it right and getting a standardisation in there. So that’s kind of where the product came from.

Mike: Interesting, and presumably that that problems got worse over the the nine years, you’ve been running the business as people have moved more and more to inbound marketing or content marketing?

Tim: That’s right. Yeah, it’s and what we’re finding is it’s really a sort of a maturity point with our clients is that they may start with marketing automation, doing more sort of data, activities, where you might be just doing batch and blast loading lists in and things like that. And then as they mature, and start to expand out and trying to enable campaign creation for their teams, they realise this is a challenge, they realise that actually keeping control of all the data that you get from inbound marketing and doing lead capture and content gating, it can be a real problem. And that’s where we come in, and we sit between the website layer and the marketing automation system, just to make it a far easier to, to roll out campaigns quickly and efficiently.

Mike: Interesting. So I’m guessing you’re not another form builder, you’re trying to solve a different problem. Do you want to talk a little bit bit about exactly what you’re trying to solve? What the challenges that your enterprise customers have?

Tim: Yeah, that’s right. We’re not, I mean, there are lots of formulas out there. And they’re and they’re designed to sort of drag and drop and quickly put a form together at style it in a sort of one off, or a handful. What we’re about is solving how you scale up your marketing, automation activities and your lead capture from inbound marketing. So it’s the idea is that we you have a your marketing operations team, or your maybe your demand Centre for want of a better word, sit in the middle, and they define your standards for data capture for lead generation. You know, what, what are we going to be asking? What’s our privacy policy? What are what are disclaimers? What industries do we ask, do we support what product areas we are going to ask all those kind of standards in the middle, and then they are defined in the centre. And then our system enables marketing teams to come in and use those standards and build campaigns and forms very quickly and efficiently. Stick them into any web page, any content management system they might be using, independently of the content management system. And therefore, you end up with consistent data, you know, across the entire entire enterprise. And certainly as we’re seeing, there’s a drive in multinational companies towards centralization of infrastructure, that, you know, we absolutely helped with that, that kind of process to bring everything into one system.

Mike: It sounds a bit like you’re taking the the boring stuff away from those marketing teams. They don’t have to worry about, you know, consistency of data or notices and things like that. They have to worry more about the campaign they’re running. And I’m sure not only does that make them more efficient, but it probably also makes the job more fun as well.

Tim: Absolutely, yeah. So we kind of replace, if you imagine a lot of way a lot of digital campaigns are put together, you would probably have to involve your web team, maybe your marketing automation team to put together a gating experience or a few web pages, make sure they’re collecting up their analytics, make sure your measurements correct, make sure we’re following the data standard guidelines, do the translation work, all that kind of thing is sort of already built into our system. And all the marketer has to do is decide what content pieces that they want to gate. What what’s the messaging, they’re going to give to the user, maybe provide some analytics information, like, you know, what, what’s, what’s my asset name, or what’s my event label, I’m going to push into my analytics system, you just define a few things from a marketing point of view. and away you go, you don’t really have to get any of the tech team involved to actually build campaigns out.

Mike: And that must, you know, massively increase the speed of getting campaigns out without needing, you know, developers and, you know, potentially market automation experts involved.

Tim: Yeah, absolutely. And that was really, one of the things we saw over the years was the the time it took to put a campaign together, particularly multi language, just the build time, and then the QA time to make sure everything was connected up and your leads were flowing through. And maybe you’re triggering the right nurtures in the background, or whatever it might be, you know, that can take weeks to put together. And it really comes down to, you know, a matter of minutes, really your hours just to do the form part of your campaign now.

Mike: That’s brilliant. And in terms of how it works, I mean, presumably, what you’re doing is you’re taking data and feeding it into a marketing automation system. Is that typically what you’re trying to do?

Tim: Yeah, exactly. So we don’t replace marketing automation, we just sort of make it easier to to enable and get people using it. So we sit between the web layer and market automation. Typically, what we allow customers to do is where they may be creating hundreds of forms in their market automation platform. So let’s say you’re using Eloqua, Marketo, you might be creating a form for every asset that you’re gating. Because we essentially orchestrate the front end layer in in the in the browser from the user sees, they can funnel all of those, those front end forms into just one or two back end forms in in in Eloqua Marketo. So, you know, the overhead in the back end is vastly reduced. And also, you end up with a much more standard workflow, sort of lead management workflow in the background.

Mike: is interesting. So, I mean, again, you’re taking away the the building of forms in marketing automation, I mean, that that often is quite difficult or time consuming for marketing automation teams, because of the expertise that sometimes needed. That’s right. Yeah.

Tim: Yeah. I mean, not what we’ve seen a lot of customers do is to when they reach that maturity point and have that problem, they’ll probably just invest in technical, more technical resource to get more market automation developers in bore, they might offshore it to a company somewhere that has a lot of tech people, we can sort of help really avoid having to do that.

Mike: That sounds great. That sounds like you know, something most people struggling with the marketing automation would would like to do, because I know it’s really tough to recruit people who are experts in those platforms at the moment. That’s right. Yeah, yeah. So just in terms of what gated content does, is that all gated content, does it just sits in front of the the marking automation system, or do you have other integrations to provide other functionality?

Tim: Yeah, so when we talk about content gating, we’re not just talking about, you know, gating a PDF, which is, you know, the classic thing to do is to get a guide or a white paper or something like that, but it could also be gating a webinar on an on demand webinar, which might be through a video platform. So we have integrations with video platforms. So we, you know, YouTube or Vimeo or video, those kind of things. We also have integrations with data enrichment platforms as well. So there are quite a few sort of firmographic smartphone technologies out there and the one we often integrate with is demand base and that allows to enrich the lead as it’s being converted from unknown to known by completing the form, we can do a lookup with demand base and pull in additional thermographic data such as, you know, revenue or SIC code, number of employees, that kind of thing.

Mike: And that sounds great, because, you know, often that’s very difficult data to get via a form, but can be very important in terms of lead scoring and lead qualification. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, no interesting.

Tim: The other things we integrate with as well actually, just remind me is web analytics as well. So you know, the lead conversion point is is a critical point within that the lifecycle of that lead, and you want to be doing, you know, quite a few things, and one of them would be firing off into your web analytics platform, firing off conversion events, or goal events, or firing off things like pixels as well, for media campaign reporting, we can help orchestrate that, that part.

Mike: So what you’re doing is as well as data enrichment, you’re also helping with with attribution and tracking as well, by making that easier?

Tim: Yeah. Yeah, that’s a big part of it. attribution is a good it’s a good one to bring up. So yeah, lot of companies are using the Google standard, which would be UTM parameters to track inbound channels. And, you know, our, our tool is, has that built in. And we can capture last touch, first touch or start or collate multitaction UTM. And push them through onto the lead. A lot of a lot of our clients are utilising that that feature.

Mike: Interesting. I mean, you talk about the clients, and you mentioned, you know, people with multi lingual campaigns and large numbers of assets. I mean, is there a company that is the typical gated content customer?

Tim: ahead? Yeah, good question. We do, we put our sweet spot is enterprise and multi multinational companies. But we do scale down to smaller companies as well. The probably the, the main thing is that you’re doing a lot of inbound marketing, and you’re utilising content in some way. So you have a fair amount of content that you’re using to convert new leads. So that would probably mean a sales cycle. That’s, that’s, that’s relatively long, it’s not a instant transaction on the website type relationship. And there’s a reason a lot of content that you’re trying to get across. So, you know, white papers, guides, that kind of thing.

Mike: Okay. And is that, I mean, quite often, you see that around quite technical b2b Industries. Is that typical within your customers? Or do you see a broader range of customers doing content marketing?

Tim: Yeah, the kind of kind of industries we work with probably engineering, manufacturing technology, FinTech companies, business services, companies, those kind of things. And they they align quite well, probably with the kind of companies that do need marketing automation, because that leads itself to the idea of nurturing leads through a through a buyer journey.

Mike: So I mean, it’s been interesting talking about gated content. I, you know, I I’m intrigued, one of the benefits of working with you must be the fact that you see an awful lot of gated content on the web. I mean, you know, I know, you’ve you’ve had millions of leads run through the system. I’m interested, you know, what do you see as working the best in terms of strategies for, you know, driving lead gen through content marketing?

Tim: Yeah, that’s a good question. And I mean, the first thing I’d say there is that gated content can have a bit of a bad rap. And because people gate too much, maybe you’re they gate stuff that that’s low value. But what we see as being the best approach is having a site wide approach to getting content, don’t just look at it as a as part of a campaign, though it can be part of a cake campaign, look across all of your content across all of your websites. And look at the opportunities to where you have valuable content or interesting content that is worth that value exchange. And that’s, that’s absolutely what we’re about is making it easier for companies to get stuff at scale, and to get it on their main website, not just on landing pages, that kind of thing. Other other kind of features that can help is things like progressive profiling, which means that we, you can ask only a couple of questions maybe on the first visit or the first asset, and then ask a few more on each asset after that. So you’re building up a profile over time, and you’re not creating this massive barrier to people converting. And that’s a built in feature of our tool.

Mike: And presumably, with that progressive profiling, what you’re doing is all too filling a lot of those details because you know them already. And then just asking the next question.

Tim: Exactly, yeah, what we do is we leverage the existing tracking technologies that come with the marketing automation platform. So if, if you’re using aliqua, or Marketo, or pardot, they will automatically be tracking your users if then if they’ve already converted, and will leverage that cookie and those scripts and will pull that into the forms.

Mike: And so could that potentially pull in data from a marketing automation platform that hasn’t gone through gated content then? So maybe something has been uploaded by sales?

Tim: Correct? That’s right. Yeah. If they’re cooking in some way. So another way of them being cooked is if they’ve if they’ve clicked through from an email that’s come from market automation that will make them known to market automation. Or we can leverage that that tracking cookie and pre populate the forms of the user.

Mike: That’s, that’s interesting. You don’t lose any of the benefits of the data in the marketing automation platform. That’s That’s all. Absolutely, yeah.

Tim: Yeah. We’re trying to work with all the technology that the clients already have and not not fight against it.

Mike: Not trying to reinvent the wheel. Exactly. Right. Yeah. So you mentioned something, a couple of questions ago that I found very interesting. You talked about how you help people get content across the website, rather than just on landing pages. And I know, you know, a lot of marketing automation systems eventually, you know, you end up with this kind of ghetto of landing pages on a subdomain, which, which can be difficult. I mean, can you talk a little bit about what you do to, to address that problem?

Tim: Yeah, so this is, again, probably a bit of a maturity thing, I think, is that when you start off the marketing automation, you start building things on on the landing pages that come in those platforms, because that’s the easy thing to do. And probably your web team are busy doing other things. But that is a bit counterproductive in the long term, because you, you don’t really get a good organic reach. By doing that, you know, you’re like you say your landing pages are a bit a bit siloed off, and they’re not part of your main website. So you get to a point where you realise that you really need to be doing gating and pushing campaigns, and doing inbound marketing, to your main website, and you’re going to get the benefit of paid media going there, but also organic traffic as well. So our, our, our tool is designed to work with any content management system, it’s a client side technology, if you can create a hyperlink on a page, then you can get something on a page, you don’t need to create separate, special landing pages for forms, you don’t need to create thank you pages, it’s all done there. And then the experience and the transaction is created in the page where you put it. So a good example, I like to give is, if you’ve got a blog page, you might be having a blog on a particular subject, and you know that you’ve got a white paper that that is a really good companion piece to that blog article. If you can create a hyperlink in the blog, using our tool, then you can put drop a gate, create an opportunity to create a lead conversion point there and then on the page without any extra work.

Mike: So it’s as simple as just a hyperlink. I mean, how does that actually work in practice? What’s the technology behind it?

Tim: So our script sits on the page. It’s a tag on a script that goes on the page like most tech marketing technology that you might utilise. And it’s just scanning every page as the user loads it looking for our embed links in our embed links are basically just, they look like hashtags, basically. And when we see one of those on a hyperlink, we just replace it with some script that generates the content gate on the fly.

Mike: Wow. So So literally, you put a link in and then when you when when a visitor views the page, it gets replaced by the form. That’s almost magic. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Interesting. So, you know, looking forward, I mean, you’ve talked about gating. We’ve talked a little bit about gating across the whole website and just on landing pages, which is obviously one mistake people can make, I mean, what are the other things you see people doing wrong with their forms or with their content that’s causing them to miss out on generating leads?

Tim: I would probably say having an approach which is I’m singular approach so I’m creating my campaign I’m creating generating leads to my campaign. And therefore, the my sales guys need these eight pieces of data in order to qualify them. So I’m going to create a form with those eight questions on it. Because, you know, on my on my most valuable ebook, nothing else, whereas you want to take a more holistic approach, you know, get gate a number of assets and get them across the website and reduce it down and take a longer term view. So right? Well, I may not get the eight questions I need straight away, because i’m gonna i’m nurturing these people over time may be my, my sales lifecycle is a three to six month period, therefore, I’m going to give them the time to come back, read more things, and I’ll build the profile up over time.

Mike: So this is the kind of progressive profiling versus the one piece of content that Hakurei someone’s gonna give, you know, all their data to, to receive.

Tim: Exactly. So progressive profiling is part of that. But the other thing might be utilising different types of forms for different types of assets. So, you know, 334 field form for something that’s lightweight, maybe an infographic or something like that, and then more heavier forms for heavier content.

Mike: Definitely makes sense. So, I mean, if people listening to this are interested, and you know that they’d like to try gated content, they probably have a few questions. I mean, the first is, you know, with any migration of, you know, either form based technology or marketing automation, it always seems to be a nightmare, does it take a really long time to get gated content up and running?

Tim: It really depends. So some of our customers have been up and running in a couple of weeks, ready to go. And others we can take, you know, a few months to really nail out with them what they want, their standards are going to be maybe what their their lead flow is going to be in the background. Because what we try and do is align the questions, we’re asking all the data we’re sending within our gates to a back end lead process. So do we want to trigger an M qL? process that pushes them straight to Salesforce? Do we want to put them in a particular campaign or a particular list? Do we want to register them with a third party webinar system? All that kind of thing? So it depends how complicated it is. But somewhere between a couple of weeks and a couple of months, should get you there.

Mike: And presumably, that’s for companies with quite a large number of forms. Correct?

Tim: Yeah. And there will be a bit of a migration process involved. But we have the capabilities of, of generating gates in bulk. So we normally go through a process where they’ll audit what they’re doing. Give us a spreadsheet of everything you want. And we’ll generate all the gates and give you back the codes and they just get dropped into the content management system.

Mike: Wow. So the customer doesn’t really even need to generate those. Those forms. They’ve just auto generated and they drop in a link then. Exactly right. Yeah. Just like creating a database record, basically. Brilliant. That’s, that sounds great. So I mean, we’ve talked about an awful lot of functionality here. And yet you You said that although gated content is primarily targeted at enterprise, you know, range of company sizes. Use it is it an expensive product.

Tim: So we’re we’re a SaaS company, and we price it like that. So we price it on volume of use. And our starting point is around about 200 pounds a month. And we scale up from there.

Mike: Yeah, and that’s definitely not expensive, particularly if someone’s using marketing automation tools like marquetta. Wireless.

Tim: Exactly. Right. Yeah. I missed the on the price of automation developers as well their day, right?

Mike: Well, absolutely. Yeah. Compared to compared to hiring someone. It’s, it’s a massive saving. That’s that’s, that’s really impressive. Yeah. I mean, thank you. So it’s been, you know, really interesting. You know, it seems like every time I ask a question, there’s something new I learn about gated content. Is there anything I should have asked about that? I haven’t, or, you know, any features that you feel, you know, perhaps people might not realise are included in the product?

Tim: Yeah, sure. So there’s one. One feature that we’re particularly proud of is our sort of dynamic rule engine a way of we can automatically manipulate what the field forms doing, based on other data that’s happening in the form. And a common use for this is actually with privacy and consent. And obviously, that’s a that’s a big challenge with companies again, when you’re looking globally, is what consent should I be seeking, depending on which country or even maybe it’s the US which state that users in? Or are they already opted in and consented to market? Are they already a customer? So all those data points come together and are we have With dynamic rule engine that we can manipulate what what’s happening on the form. So our customers will take all that data, you know, what country is the user in? cetera, et cetera? And then decide what’s going to be shown from a content point of view? Are you asking for an opt in? Are you asking for an opt out? Are you opting in by channel? Do you change the privacy link, and all that’s got to be translated as well. And we have a translation engine built into. So that that kind of thing is we’re particularly proud of, and our, our customers can manipulate and change that as their legal interpretation of privacy rules changes, they can do all that themselves, because it’s a no code solution for for doing dynamic forms.

Mike: That sounds really interesting, because I know, you know, a lot of companies have problems where, you know, somebody signs up on a form they opt in, and then the next thing they sign up for, they get off of that opt in again, and they don’t choose to opt in and the contacts lost then. So you can you can actually work out from the way the contacts stored, whether they’re a customer or whether they’ve already opted in.

Tim: Exactly, right. Yeah. So as long as they’ve they’ve already been cookied, against the market automation platform, we can pull additional information that’s coming from that that record, such as their customer status, or, or whether they’re already opted in or not. Yeah.

Mike: Wow, that’s cool. That could that could definitely help, you know, maintain a larger mailable database, which, which is a great feature.

Tim: Yeah, exactly. Some of our case studies are exactly about that is the idea of maximising your marketable reach. And we’ve had customers again, that have, because it was a complicated problem to fix their approach was, we’re going to do the most stringent form of consent request, which is normally probably what double or double opt in, which is the German standard, we’re going to roll that out globally. And then after a few months, they realised that their marketing databases just tanked to 5% of what it was. So we can come in and help create a more dynamic, flexible approach to seeking consent that adapts to where the user is, rather than the page they’re on. It’s, you know, it’s based on their geography.

Mike: That’s, I mean, I think that that could be huge. I’ve seen clients, you know, lose 90 plus percent of their database by making bad decisions from a GDPR or other privacy level legislation. So you know, that that could absolutely pay for the tool, just in terms of maintaining a larger database. that this has been fascinating. I’ve really enjoyed the conversation, Tim, and I’m sure people listening will have enjoyed it. And if they’re interested in either finding out more from you or trying the platform, how should they go about that?

Tim: Right? Well, the easiest way is go to our website, which is very easy to remember, it’s gated on there, there’s some more information as case studies, there’s a product tour in there. And obviously there’s you can, you can use our contact form, which uses our own technology to get in touch. And we can do a demo. And we can even set sandboxes up for companies if they’re looking like a really good fit.

Mike: That’s fantastic. And I’m sure you know, there’ll be people who want to do that. So thank you very much for being on the podcast. Tim. It’s been a great episode. Thank you very much.

Tim: Thanks for having me. Thank you.

Mike: Thanks so much for listening to marketing b2b tech. We hope you enjoyed the episode. And if you did, please make sure you subscribe on iTunes, or on your favourite podcast application. If you’d like to know more, please visit our website at Napier b2b dot com or contact me directly on LinkedIn.