gateB AG

10 years gateB

November 14, 2019

Interview with Olaf Gjiseman, CEO of gateB

gateB was founded in 2009 — under the umbrella of the Brand Leadership Circle — to increase marketing performance with software solutions. In 10 years, the company has grown steadily and opened up new technologies and business areas. Today's, gateB adds value to companies by transforming their relevant business processes with a data-based approach and trend-setting technologies. The ultimate goal is to help brands unlock faster and smarter investor and customer relationships.

Hyperpersonalization and real-time communication require new approaches, processes, and tools. The technologies have multiplied and companies know more than ever that all of this digital potential must be tapped.

Olaf Gijseman has headed gateB since its inception, helping the company stay on the leading edge of martech. Here is a short conversation with him reflecting on the last decade of work in this fast-changing field.

Olaf, gateB has been around for ten years. You co-founded and built the company. How did it all start?
In the beginning, there was the realization that software solutions can achieve enormous gains in efficiency and effectiveness in marketing. At the start, we mainly focused on automation solutions in corporate and financial publishing. With editorial systems, we were able to produce annual reports and customer or employee magazines much more efficiently and with improved quality assurance.

Over the years, we have constantly expanded our expertise and entered into new partnerships with leading software manufacturers. Our clientele has also grown steadily, and so we soon counted many large international companies from various industries among our customers. This ultimately led to us opening offices in Los Angeles and Singapore in order to be closer to our local customers.

gateB was founded in 2009 to improve marketing performance through the use of marketing technologies. Was the demand for such consulting and technology already there, or did it take a lot of persuasion?
The awareness that technologies will and should replace repetitive tasks was already there for many companies. But the step to initiate such projects took time and persuasion. Changing processes is never easy. I can say with conviction that early movers today have a clear competitive advantage. They work more efficiently, can deploy resources where the technology does not yet offer any added value, and significantly reduce the time-to-market of campaigns.

We have always tried, and still try today, to anticipate new topics and technologies. That way, we’re already ready when the topics are on the table in front of CEOs, CMOs, or CFOs who are looking for competent partners. Customer engagement is a perfect example. Many companies are still in their infancy here. We are working on this topic with various software providers in order to be able to offer concrete and proven solutions.

Data science and marketing analytics are on everyone's lips. What role does data analysis play at gateB?
In 2015, we set up our own analytics and customer intelligence division, convinced that data analysis will penetrate all areas of marketing and be part of all of our solutions. With digitalization, we have much more data at our disposal, which we can use profitably with our existing analytical expertise and software intelligence. In short, we help companies use their data smartly.

Let's take customer segmentation, for example. Traditionally, customers are segmented on the basis of sociodemographic data. This is useful and a good starting point, but it doesn’t reveal what you absolutely need to know about your customers in order to address them according to their needs. Namely, how are your customers actually interacting with your brand? Which touchpoints do they prefer and how do they behave? Today, we can enrich segmentation with behavior-based data. This enables companies to address customers more closely to their needs, and thus sustainably improve customer relationships.

Other examples of areas where data analytics can drive success include customer journey mapping and trigger-based marketing.

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What were your most beautiful moments in the ten-year history of gateB?
The fact that we have succeeded in finding a successful business model for our vision and have seen gateB grow steadily over the past 10 years is more than just a beautiful moment.

Among the highlights are the foundation of gateB US in 2014 and gateB Singapore in 2019, as well as the continuous expansion of our competences and the establishment of new topics like Customer Intelligence & Marketing Analytics or Marketing Automation & Campaign Management. gateB owes the fact that we are now able to support national and international companies in tapping their digital potential to the very good cooperation among its broad-based team — from our data scientists to our software engineers to our consultants and implementation specialists. Of course, there are always nice moments for me when our customers can celebrate success thanks to our solutions.

gateB also advises customers in the USA and Singapore. Can we learn anything from the companies there?
Yes, two things come to mind. Openness to new ideas and speed when it comes to tackling something new. The degree of digitalization is increasing — and will continue to increase — massively across all industries. There will be a tipping point where simple, repetitive tasks are completely automated.

We must not oversleep digitalization in Switzerland or Europe. Our team at gateB would like to make our contribution in this area by supporting companies in the transformation of relevant business processes. That's why we always keep an eye out for new technologies and constantly enter into new partnerships with software manufacturers. Our goal is to always provide our customers with the latest and leading technologies.

Transforming Digital into Value is your claim. You are driving the transformation of business processes in various areas — from customer engagement to resource and content management to sales enablement. What is your favorite topic?
I can fall in love with all topics as long as they are related to numbers and efficiency and are clearly measurable. And I'm in good hands in these times of digitalization.

Where do you see gateB in 10 years?
We want to continue to grow. We’re opening a branch in New Delhi as early as 2020. We also want to open up Singapore, where we see great potential, as a market with even more focus.

As far as technologies are concerned, they will become increasingly integrated and comprehensive. You can already see, for example, that the boundaries between CRM and ERP are disappearing. Such "mergers" will also take place in other technologies, including the aforementioned integration of technologies with data analysis, which is becoming increasingly central for all areas of marketing.

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