By: John Toepfer
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 in this business, I’ve participated in many of these discussions and seen the decision 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 solutions in-house as opposed to buying commercial solutions. I’ve seen cases where application development projects were initiated with the intent of justifying and maintaining the technology team, but unfortunately never get off the ground because they can’t be supported technically or economically. What then ends up happening, after all the internal effort and expense, is a new commercial solution is procured to replace it. On the other hand, there are times when the technological or business needs are so pertinent to the company’s value or operations, that they cannot be outsourced. In these circumstances, if the project or platform has the board of directors’ approval and the IT organization is truly committed to the budget and vision, then there’s a good case for insourcing as opposed to outsourcing. At the end of the day, the success or failure of any development effort should be measured against the same criteria. When weighing the decision to build or buy, I recommend using these six criteria:
By John Toepfer
With the highly competitive nature of the asset management industry, maintaining a strong and positive brand image is more important now than ever. Every contact with a client, every conversation 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.
I had the opportunity recently to speak with a long time head of marketing for a major asset manager and she spoke with passion about on the topic of brand. Among many compelling things she had to say was this: “If you look at the most successful companies in any industry, you’ll find that they share one thing in common; excellent branding.”
Due to the competitive nature of the financial services industry, content automation has become a strategic priority for many. With a finish line goal to improve scalability, risk management and brand compliance, the race is on to improve marketing and sales operations. The challenge firms face is knowing how to approach content automation. Is it better to build or buy? What are the differences between the leading vendors, and their approaches?
In 2017, we commissioned some research on how asset managers are automating content production. The research found 3 common models: Fully outsourced, DIY, and hybrid. Here’s a brief description of each and the pros and cons.
When discussing content automation goals, buzzwords like ‘streamlining’, ‘consistency’, and ‘efficiency’ are often tossed around. These are good goals to strive for, but can be difficult to achieve due to business reasons beyond marketing’s control. After all, the products represent different strategies, ages, data, and audiences; therefore, the literature has to reflect this. In the end, the main goal of content automation should be to make the process as simple as your firm’s business rules and product nuances will allow.
As we discussed in a recent post, the complexity of your fact sheets is one of the main driving factors behind the cost of implementing and maintaining an automated solution. In this blog post, we’ll identify and discuss the top 3 factors that complicate fact sheet automation: