by Dave Dickson
I confess, lately I have been addicted to the military reality show “Surviving the Cut” on Discovery Channel. Imagine my surprise, then, in the midst of my intense curiosity about special forces training, the US Marines Corps launched Marines magazine last week using Digital Publishing Suite. Enhanced with video and interactivity, Marines is looking forward to delivery on Android devices using Content Viewer for Android, as well as pinpointing content performance using the Adobe Online Marketing Suite (Omniture).
Earlier this week, I interviewed Greg Reeder, Director of the Marine Corps Production Directorate and Lead, Marine Corps New Media. Reeder is responsible for publishing the magazine and collaborated with Seth Sirbaugh, Creative Director at Bates Creative Group, who led the charge in designing and producing the publication. Read the backstory in my interview with them below.
Adobe: What is Marines magazine?
Greg Reeder, US Marine Corps: Marines® is the official magazine of the U.S. Marine Corps. Our audience includes Marines, their family members, veterans’ service organizations, and educational institutions. 78,000 copies of the magazine’s print version are produced quarterly, plus three special issues that highlight sports, compelling photography and content driven by our audience.
A: What were your goals in creating this digital edition?
GR: We recognized the need for serving our content in multiple mediums — starting with an online version. Being online gave us an advantage, beyond print, that enabled us to deliver a broader range of well designed, efficiently delivered information that also allowed our audience a direct channel to provide feedback, through comments on all of the magazine content. With the advent of digital platforms such as the iPad, we took the logical next step in being able to efficiently reach a wider, more connected audience – with even better design, more functionality and deeper capabilities. Our goals for the iPad, and soon for Android devices, were to give users a broader Marine Corps experience. We planned for each issue to contain at least three videos, interactive features, the ability to share content in social media outlets, amazing photography, as well as fun, and informative information that will motivate Marines and be interesting to those who want to know and understand their Marine Corps.
A: What results did you see?
GR: We have seen good results so far. Since releasing the second edition of the magazine on the App Store with Digital Publishing Suite, we experienced more than a thousand downloads in the first week alone – all without any specific marketing campaign. We simply made the app available and an eager audience arrived to invite us onto their iPads.
A: What are your plans going forward for digital?
GR: We’re convinced that Digital Publishing Suite and our ability to deliver to multiple platforms will continue to increase our capability to deliver more interesting, useful and beneficial products for our audience. We’re excited to get more involved in the analytics that Digital Publishing Suite has to offer as well – to better understand our audience, the ways they use, and want to receive, our products. Aside from making Marines magazine available as a bi-monthly digital (iPad and Android) publication, we also plan to make the app available for mobile and tablet devices such as the Motorola Xoom and Blackberry Playbook, and eBook readers such as the Kindle and Nook. Looking out a bit further, we hope to leverage Adobe tools and capabilities to help us offer other forms of interactive apps and downloads for our mobile customers – making it easier for them to get the information they want; need and, perhaps don’t yet even realize is available to them, to interact with every day.
A: Why did you choose Digital Publishing Suite?
Seth Sirbaugh, Bates Creative Group: We chose the Digital Publishing Suite because of the workflow. The Digital Publishing Suite workflow is immediately faster because it is easily understood by someone with a solid grasp of InDesign CS5. This means no new hires, no long training sessions, no partnering with specialized developers. You can focus on what’s important… the design and creative storytelling instead of constantly trying to fix bugs and development problems as you go. I have really been happy with how easy our team picked it up. Its been a great experience.
A: What would you improve about the toolset?
SS: As for improvement, I think we would definitely say animation. The multi-state objects and buttons allow us to create ‘animated’ objects, and if you get really creative you can pull off some slick looking UI with the multi-state objects and buttons. It would still give us a tremendous amount of creative firepower if the animations palette actually translated via Digital Publishing Suite. [Dave: Duly noted.]