Category Archives: Commentaries
Content automation has become a necessity, rather than a luxury, for most asset managers in today’s highly competitive environment. According to a survey of asset managers by the Fuse Research Network and Synthesis Technology, 95% of respondents use some kind of tool or process for automating content production. Most commonly, they use it for the creation of factsheets and pitchbooks.
The need for content automation is justifiable. Marketers need to get sales and marketing materials in the hands of salespeople, clients, and prospects as fast as possible. Now, investors, advisors, and consultants expect more frequent and timely product updates.
When implemented successfully, content automation solutions empower firms to produce fully compliant, client-ready sales and marketing content faster than their competitors. These tools reduce labor costs and relieve talented marketing professionals from the drudgery of content production. They minimize the potential for human errors that inadvertently deliver inaccurate and non-compliant information to the public. Plus, they eliminate one of the most common compliance headaches many asset managers face: keeping salespeople from stitching together their own non-compliant pitchbooks from a patchwork of outdated sales presentations.
Effective content automation solutions require two components: An in-house or commercial production tool and a reliable source of product data to populate the finished pieces. Unfortunately, data management is content automation’s Achilles heel for many firms.
I’ve been in the computer-driven publishing industry my entire working life. For better or worse, that’s going on 30 years and six firms worth of experience building and selling systems to support the print (or print-like) communications needs of large businesses selling or supporting high-value goods and services. I’ve worked with Airlines, Pharmaceuticals, Auto Parts, Reference Publishers, Military, and Financial business. All have significant data-and-rules driven content publishing needs, including well-designed print artifacts. Supporting publishing in the financial services world makes up a majority of this experience, but we gain wisdom by understanding similarities and differences between multiple business sectors and markets.
For 87.3% of my long and illustrious career in supporting print communications, people have taken the position that Print is Dead… or soon will be. While there are specific examples and versions of this narrative that are true, I’m here to talk today about where and why it is not true!
As we enter a new year, the shift from active to passive investing continues to drive significant change for investment management sales and marketing. Very recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sandra Powers Murphy and Donna DiMaria to discuss what marketers can do to grow AUM in this very challenging environment.
I first became acquainted with both women through the 3rd Party Marketers (3PM) Association, where Powers serves as President and DiMaria as Chairwoman. In addition to 3PM, Powers and DiMaria both act as CEO and CCO of their own third-party marketing firms, Ark Global and Tessera Capital Partners, respectively. Their firms provide outsourced strategic sales and marketing services to institutional asset managers who lack adequate internal resources.
According to DiMaria, operational efficiency in sales and marketing has become imperative, and asset managers are taking note. “Firms are looking to be more efficient, doing more with fewer resources both in terms of bodies and budget. And that is leading to consolidation, outsourcing, and automation. The status quo isn’t working anymore so, in a way, the market is recreating itself,” she said.
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.