Have you ever wished you could get rid of some of those low-level, repetitive projects that eat up your design time? Or maybe you've supplied some templates to those marketing folks but have second thoughts when you see how they've butchered the Brand. Or maybe you have sales people who really want focused sales materials but never have the lead time for your team to create those materials. Well, if you answered yes to any of these scenarios, you may want to look into a dynamic authoring solution to meet some of your clients' needs.

Dynamic authoring tools cover a host of capabilities and have been used to provide everything from business cards to automated, multichannel delivery of marketing material and catalogs. At the heart of all dynamic authoring/publishing is the idea of separating content from design. For example, a catalog layout may specify design elements, such as header font and size, and locations for product imagery, specs and prices. The content can then be pulled from a variety of systems including Product Information Systems, Digital Asset Systems, and any other sources containing vital information tagged with appropriate metadata.

Another example would be replacing those low-level, repetitive projects with a user friendly, self-service system. Again, the key is separating content from design. Your creative team can design posters, brochures, banners, and any other appropriate pieces, and define the look and feel within brand standards. They can also define how much freedom the end user will have. For instance, an event poster may allow the end user to choose from a set of images, or upload their own, and either select content or enter content. When content, such as a phone number, is entered in certain fields the system can check to ensure that the entry fits the form of a phone number, a date, etc. Finally, if there is a need, the piece can be routed for approval before allowing the user to publish. And once the piece is delivered, a charge could be submitted based on the user's identifying information. All that, in a WYSIWYG interface, without tying up your creative staff!

A third example would be helping your salesforce in the field provide focused, timely product information to their customers. Imagine the salesperson planning a client visit for the next day. They determine the interest of the client, go to the dynamic authoring system and enter part numbers for the products of interest. The system then pulls together product photos, specs and current prices and formats all of this information in a professional sales brochure that is focused on the client and meets your brand and design standards. How does that compare to a few images and facts pulled off the web?

There are many systems available that can be used for dynamic authoring and dynamic publishing,--too many to describe all of them here. But take a look at what you could do with Adobe's Scene 7 or XMPie from Xerox. Another company you should check out is Silicon Publishing. They've been around since 2000 and have a product called 'Silicon Designer' that is a particularly good fit for delivering templated, self-service creative.

As you support your company's objectives with powerful creative initiatives, keep in mind that we are in a rapidly evolving multi-channel communications environment where content needs to be structured for repurposing across multiple channels. Dynamic authoring and publishing can play an integral part in helping you and your company effectively present your message.