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Making marketing make sense

User Stories from the knowledge front

MFS Investment Management, a large mutual fund company, has deployed an automated enterprise authoring and publishing system to meet the information needs of its customers. The solution consists of Adobe FrameMaker software and PatternStream from Finite Matters Ltd. (FML).

According to Adobe, the system helps MFS reuse content across departments more efficiently and enables the company to create more than 400 different marketing publications quarterly.

Information for MFS marketing documents comes from departments enterprisewide, and a single brochure can contain 50 or more pieces of information from various places. For example, the latest valuation figures are provided by equity and fixed income analysts, as well as by staff from fund treasury and other departments. Also, the MFS compliance department provides text that outlines regulations, human resources updates executive biographies, and corporate communications provides articles and key marketing points.

The large number of content providers and variety of information—text, data, articles, charts—present many challenges. Data must be assembled, verified and then easily incorporated. Creating performance marketing materials, for instance, was a slow, manual process that involved eight employees. Because of the difficulty of assembling information and laying out pages, the marketing staff could produce only 25 different publications quarterly.

"The solution has enabled us to boost the variety of marketing documents we produce by 15-fold," says Ernie Savoie, VP of engineering at MFS Corporate Marketing. "We can now offer a broader range of information, and the overall quality of our automated marketing material has improved."

Department information is collected in an Oracle database linked to the PatternStream application. Selecting from any one of the FrameMaker templates in the system, staff initiate the creation of new materials or update existing ones through PatternStream. Text and data from other departments can be included in the layout.

To incorporate unstructured information more easily, MRS is looking to create a repository of XML files within Oracle. Articles, logos and graphics could be stored as XML files, pulled from the database and then placed in templates alongside structured data

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