Weight Watchers International is a large and geographically-dispersed business. The WW Group creative team found that it needed an effective way to bridge the gap between content creation and production for its numerous publications. Pub2ID, the data conversion software from Markzware to convert Publisher to Adobe InDesign, provided the solution.
Markzware spoke with integrated marketing and publications manager, Donna DeMarco. DeMarco oversees a diverse mix of print and electronic media. She shared some of the challenges of a disparate print workflow that crosses over platforms (PC to Mac) and content-creation applications. These include print workflows for the Microsoft Office suite and Adobe CS3 desktop publishing (DTP) programs. Pub2ID converts MS Office’s Microsoft Publisher to Creative Suite‘s InDesign.
Q: Can you tell our readers about your position and your day-to-day responsibilities in your current role?
A: The WW Group, Inc., located in Farmington Hills, MI, is a franchise of Weight Watchers International. Our franchise areas encompass southeast Michigan, northern Michigan, and Ontario, Canada. My responsibilities include coordinating special events — both in house and at outside venues — creating and managing content, designing marketing, communications, and advertising collateral. I’m also responsible for implementation of marketing campaigns, and act as a Web editor.
Q: Tell us about some of the publications for which you’re responsible.
A: We publish THINLINE, a quarterly magazine with a circulation of 250,000. The readership comprises members and the health-conscious public from around the southeast and northern regions of Michigan, and Ontario, Canada. We also publish FIT TO PRINT, a staff newsletter that is produced monthly and has a circulation of approximately 1,250. It provides corporate information — things like, promotions and specials, training updates, and advertising and marketing initiatives that our staff needs to be aware of to conduct our business and best serve our members.
We also publish MEETING GUIDES, a weekly staff publication, and host three Web sites, including a site founded by the CEO and President, Florine Mark, a staff intranet site, and the official site for franchise.
Q: Does your department work in a PC- or Mac-platform environment?
A: Except for me, the department is PC-based, and most of the office as a whole works in the PC environment. And then we have field staff — approximately 1,200 — who work mostly with PCs, with the balance on Macs.
Q: What creative solutions make up your print workflow?
A: Adobe CS Design, Illustrator, Photoshop and GoLive, as well as the OpenOffice suite.
Q: Does content for the publications and Web sites come in from other departments within the organization? If so, can you give us an idea of the type of content you may be receiving?
A: We have four area managers and two regional managers and a host of managerial assistants who create and prepare their own newsletters for insertion in our monthly staff mailing. Their individual, area-specific newsletters usually come to me electronically as Microsoft Publisher files. As editor, it’s my job to review, edit, tweak, and ensure company continuity before posting content to a Web site, sending it to a printer, or distributing it among the staff. Managers appreciate that I can achieve this — while working on a Mac platform — without changing the “look and feel” of their newsletters. The same workflow is in play when managers create other materials, like fliers.
Q: Did you have any creative or production challenges with the print workflow?
A: The Mac platform is so robust and versatile, that it’s easy to work with PC-based files and programs. But the one challenge I encountered was working with — or, rather, not being able to work at all with Microsoft Publisher files.
Q: You needed a tool that would allow you to pull Microsoft Publisher files into the workflow, ultimately bringing that content into InDesign, correct? How did you discover the Markzware Pub2ID plug-in?
A: Until Pub2ID, there wasn’t a plug-in or program that allowed me to read the Microsoft Publisher files our managers sent to us — let alone to edit and format the files. We discovered Pub2ID through some online searches, and we found information about Markzware’s solution thanks to several search engines, blogs, and message boards. I took advantage of the free, online demo. I was impressed with how it performed. I ran it by our IT department, and they were equally satisfied. Our company licensed me immediately.
Q: How does it work? More specifically, how does it complement your creative and production workflow between Adobe CS Design and Microsoft Publisher?
A: I just download the Microsoft Publisher file sent to me. I open it in Adobe InDesign, and I do my thing. Then, I have the ability to export it as a PDF file and distribute it, so the contributors — the managers — are able to review the content and sign off on it with final approval.
Q: What about the actual data conversion? Does it successfully and reliably pull content into Adobe CS Design?
A: We’ve been very pleased. The software is reliable, and I haven’t run into any quirks or experienced any growing pains. It’s proven to be a strong, viable solution for my needs.
Q: Pub2ID is relatively inexpensive, yes? So, was it a good investment for your organization, and would you recommend it to others who need to convert Microsoft Publisher to Adobe InDesign?
A: Based on my experience, Pub2ID is worth its weight in platinum. It has saved me countless hours that would have otherwise been spent reinventing the wheel. It saves the company from having to purchase Adobe InDesign for each manager, and we don’t have the associated costs, such as training and downtime. It is a very small investment—less than three tanks of gasoline, in today’s market—for a dependable, user-friendly solution. The price is right, and it works with me, rather than against me.
Building the Better, Faster, Cheaper Print Workflow