Content Automation: The Strategic Value of a Turnkey Implementation

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By Emilie Totten

A killer performance depends on the setup

In a recent blog post by our CEO, he draws an interesting comparison between the setup of up a rock concert and the setup of an investment content marketing automation solution. The point he makes in the post is that the behind-the-scenes logistics of an operation are often not fully realized or appreciated, even though they’re vital to the outcome.

Think back to a concert you attended where you arrived a bit early. The roadies are getting all the equipment set up perfectly so that the band can just get up on stage, grab their instruments, and put on a great show. The roadies may not get the attention from all the screaming, raging fans but they deserve some serious recognition for the role they play.Read More

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Why Outsourcing your FactSheets to a Service Bureau is Risky

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By Emilie Totten

outsourcing factsheet automation to a service bureau is risky

Every investment marketer would love to get tedious tasks, like updating factsheets, off of their plate. Automation is a great way to accomplish this. When you’re considering how to automate your factsheets or other investment marketing collateral, there are essentially four different approaches you can consider.

Your options are:

There are pros and cons with each of these options and, depending on your firm’s situation and goals, one of these options will be the best fit. Firms operating under tight budgets and resources will often gravitate toward the first option on this list — outsourcing to a service bureau. The manual production of marketing collateral like factsheets, commentaries, and client reports is labor intensive and laden with risk. Not to mention, it’s often the least gratifying work that the marketing team does. “Kicking it over the fence” to a fully outsourced service provider often seems like the most attractive option. Read More

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The Problem with PowerPoint and InDesign-based Content Automation (The “Save As” Phenomenon)

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powerpoint automation creates too many templates

I recently wrote an article about why automating within desktop publishing environments can be a bad idea. When we talk about “desktop publishing environments” we’re referring to programs like InDesign, PowerPoint, or Quark. If you’re looking for a way to effectively scale your literature production, you simply must say goodbye to your desktop defaults. And, I’ll tell you why.

This topic is front-of-mind for me today, following a meeting with a prospective client last week.  This client described their frustration with their current automation solution. They told me a story about how their automation provider is currently supporting their suite of about 50 documents using about 50 InDesign templates.  Even the client recognizes that this is a problem and knows that if the templates were being shared properly as shared entities then there should be, at most, eight of them for this catalog of documents. Fewer templates allows changes to be made centrally, without needing to apply a change 50 different times.

I smiled in sympathy as they told me about this problem. This is precisely the issue with automation solutions that are based on desktop publishing applications.  This client articulated the issue even more simply and perfectly than I have in my past musings on the topic.

If a Microsoft or Adobe desktop publishing application is being used as the foundation of the automation solution, that system is then dependent on that desktop publishing tool, as well as the people who use the tool.  It’s easy to overlook or dismiss this reality. People really love these programs, and understandably so. They are familiar, intuitive and your collateral is probably already designed in one of these formats. But, the hard truth is that almost always lead to bad long-term results in a commercial document production environment. This is due to what we call the “Save As Phenomenon”.Read More

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Trends in Asset Management Marketing: What to Expect in 2017 (Part 1)

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By Emilie Totten

2017 Trends in Asset Management Marketing

Last year, we published a blog on what to expect in asset management marketing in 2016. The post is based on an interview I conducted with Andrew Corn, CEO of E5A Integrated Marketing. During the interview, Andrew and I discussed how 2016 would be the year of transparency and immediacy; the year for asset managers to leverage data to improve segmentation and personalization, create more transparency in the sales process, and provide timely information to every audience, on every channel. At Synthesis, we saw these predictions hold true, as many of our clients made significant progress toward improving their content delivery methods through a strategic use of data and content automation.

So, what will be the new trends in 2017? How will firms embrace data and technology to be even more competitive? 

Once again, I called upon Andrew to mine his brain for insights. He is the former CIO of Beacon Trust and Clear Asset Management, where he led the development of a multi-factor model to manage long-only equities. He has also designed ETFs and managed two hedge funds. Today, he helps firms leverage digital media and technology to grow sales through marketing and advertising, while adhering to industry regulations.

Here is part 1 (of 2) of our discussion on what to expect in asset management marketing in 2017. Read More

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Business Rules: What They Are and Why You Need Them for Investment Marketing Content Automation

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By Kim Rebecca

Using business rules in factsheet automation

Throughout my career in the global asset management industry, I’ve had the opportunity to help facilitate the data-heavy content automation of thousands of regulatory documents, marketing collateral, presentations, web pages and so on. Actually, it’s probably hundreds of thousands because as you know, one of the key advantages of content automation is the easy accommodation of the ever-expanding scope of distribution, allowing product marketers such as myself to bolster their bragging rights. I’ve had the good fortune to help three global asset managers with their content automation efforts ­­— prominent and well-recognized firms managing assets galore. I was thus somewhat surprised to find that a common challenge in the implementation phase of all of their automations was something seemingly basic: the identification and articulation of something called business rules.Read More

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