All posts by John Toepfer

John Toepfer is CEO and Co-founder of Synthesis Technology. He is a technology entrepreneur, investor and business owner with a 25-year background in building and supporting communication solutions for the financial services industry. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons.


The Scaling Problem in Investment Management Marketing

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How to Scale Investment Management Marketing

I had conversations this week with two new prospective investment management clients. Each expressed a “scaling problem” with marketing efforts as being their chief reason for looking into document and data automation.

I very much like that phrase. It’s straight out of my pitchbook on how a solution like Synthesis solves problems with scaling investment management marketing.  I usually define a scaling problem as:

The point in time in which either the number of documents, users, staff required, or variety of documents to meet the communication needs has passed some tipping point.

My takeaway from these two conversations is quite interesting. Although each firm was experiencing valid issues, the firm profiles and the scope of their work was vastly different. The key to efficient and profitable growth is scalability.Read More

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What is the Highest and Best Use of Your Marketing Staff Right Now?

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Best strategic use of marketing for asset management

The current environment is forcing marketers to think strategically about how to retain assets and drive new business. Sales travel has seen major cuts and there’s a new nature of client meetings. In response, marketers are scrambling to understand the new normal and make strategic decisions about their firm’s messaging, market approach, and tools.

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Build or Buy: How to Decide?

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Build vs. Buy for Financial Services: How to Decide When You're Considering Automation

When looking at content automation and sales enablement solutions, firms are often confronted with a tough decision: To build or buy? Over the past 20 years, I’ve participated in many of these discussions and seen it go both ways. Sometimes the decision is successful and other times it ends up a costly mistake. On one hand, it isn’t always less expensive nor less risky to build software as opposed to buying commercial solutions. For example, when application development projects are initiated with the intent of justifying and maintaining the technology team. Then, unfortunately, they never get off the ground because they can’t be supported technically or economically. What then happens, after all the internal effort and expense, is a new commercial solution is procured to replace it.

On the other hand, sometimes the technological or business needs are so pertinent to operations that they cannot be outsourced. In these circumstances, there’s a good case for insourcing as opposed to outsourcing if the board of directors approves. Also, the IT organization must be truly committed to the budget and vision. At the end of the day, the success or failure of development efforts should be measured against the same criteria. When weighing the decision to build or buy, I recommend using these six criteria:

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7 Problems With Automating Factsheets In PowerPoint

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7 Problems With Automating Factsheets In PowerPoint

Maintaining a strong and positive brand image is more important now than ever. Every contact with a client and every piece of material they see from your firm needs to be professional, timely and well produced. Even something as mundane as a poorly produced factsheet can be off-putting and give an investor pause to think about the overall quality of your operations. Yes, even in the digital age, quality design and typography in printed materials really matters. That’s why automating factsheets in PowerPoint is a bad idea. 

A long-time head of marketing for a major asset manager once said to me: “If you look at the most successful companies in any industry, you’ll find that they share one thing in common; excellent branding.”

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