Category Archives: Client Service



The 3 Ways to Approach Content Automation

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3 ways to approach content automation

By Rachel Totten

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.

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How to Prep Your Team for Digital Sales Enablement

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DigitalSalesEnablement_header

Guest post by Meghan Rees, Digital Communications at Mediafly


Sales and marketing teams in the financial services industry have their work cut out for them. Marketing teams struggle to create content and processes that will be well-received by the sales group. Salespeople, in an effort to be more client-centric, tweak materials themselves, creating “rogue” content that is not compliant with regulatory and brand standards. When compliance approvals and procedures are bypassed, the firm is exposed to significant risk.

To some extent, all investment firms struggle to create and present client-focused content that is on-brand and compliant. Weighed-down by the risk of penalties and the pressure of working in a competitive business environment, financial services companies are turning to digital platforms to streamline their efforts and improve engagement with prospective clients.

Adopting a sales enablement solution may be the obvious choice to help with content automation and effective sales engagement, but building a case internally and setting expectations with the teams are crucial to a successful implementation.

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Celebrating 20 Years: A Message From Synthesis CEO

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By John Toepfer

Synthesis is celebrating 20 years in business this month.  For me, this is an event that calls for both reflection on the past and reaffirmation of our vision for the future.

These 20 years came and went in what feels like the blink of an eye. At a high-level, it feels like a blur of RFPs, client meetings, implementations, contract negotiations, partnerships, financial reports and company picnics. However, when you take time to look more closely, you see more than just a fog of work. You begin to see key events that really made the difference; Hiring of people who turned out to be key leaders or fantastic engineers, finding partners who understood our value proposition and helped us take it to market, and landing clients who understood bigger is not necessarily better… better is better.

An organization is only as good as the talented people they hire, especially in a business of our nature.  We’ve been extremely fortunate in that regard. Credit for our success and longevity boils down to the amazing, intelligent and hardworking team members we’ve been fortunate enough to hire, several of whom have been with us for 15 years or more. Their passion and dedication set us apart in this industry.  I’ve never known a staff to be as committed and loyal as the teams we have here at Synthesis. I am truly thankful for the people that we have, even those no longer with us, for the positive mark they’ve left on our company and with our clients. In turn, I’m also thankful for the many clients who treat us as true partners where “mutual” is the key word in our success.  I thank you all for your hard work, loyalty and service, and look forward to what we can accomplish together in the future!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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