Recently, I had a chance to chat with Quark’s Nick Howard about their new Quark Brand Manager, which was announced today. Here’s what I took away from our conversation:
Organizations spend tons of time and money producing branded collateral material — everything from brochures to announcements, advertisements, signage, and so forth. Add into the mix a variety of languages, media types, geographies, brands, brand updates, tracking and accountability… and you’ve got an asset management headache. This affects many organizations, especially universities, manufacturers, and legal organizations.
Quark aims to shave a significant amount off of that process with their new Quark Brand Manager system. This cloud-based system is brilliantly executed, both from a user/customer perspective, and from a developer’s perspective. And that all adds up to faster solutions and a lower price.
- A designer uses QuarkXPress to create templates. At first, Quark will create templates for customers, but they promise to deliver a solution that lets regular QuarkXPress users create those templates very soon.
- The templates are stored on a cloud-based server, developed by Quark and hosted on Microsoft’s Azure distributed-computing system.
- End users access those templates through a Web browser, and add their own text, pictures, and other page items. The items users are allowed to edit are controlled by the template designer. Text is automatically formatted by the template.
- End users can then print their items in-house, or order printed materials through Quark Brand Manager, which are then printed either by Quark’s network of printers or the user’s preferred vendor.
- There is no up-front cost for software, and no maintenance fee. Pricing is on a per-user basis, with smaller installations paying $62.50 per user per month (minimum of 40 users). The monthly fee drops to about $20 per user for larger installations.
- By using its robust QuarkXPress page layout engine on the server, and the standard QuarkXPress interface to create templates, customers are not forced to employ a systems-integrator to patch together an editing system. This lets Quark deliver updates as often as necessary, without relying on down-stream integrators to provide updates to customers.
- By partnering with Microsoft for its cloud-based distribution, Quark need not maintain an expensive distribution network. This frees up resources to continually improve the product.
- End users need only a Web browser to produce branded, professional marketing materials anywhere in the world.
- Quark Brand Manager will, in the near future, have a strong focus on digital media with support for e-mail, social media, personalized landing pages, and QR codes.
The White Paper
- For a clear, in-depth explanation of the challenges and solutions for today’s marketing teams, get InfoTrends’ free white paper: “Making the Case for Brand Management” at www.quarkbrandmanager.com.
The Final Word
I think Quark’s offering is perfect for many, many organizations. Its combination of no up-front costs, freedom from system integrators, reasonable per-user fees, and Quark’s commitment to evolving the product quickly should attract tremendous attention from marketing organizations worldwide.
Quark’s press release below offers a bit more information.
Quark Brand Manager Takes Corporate Marketers to the Cloud
New SaaS Solution Built on Microsoft Windows Azure Empowers Distributed Sales and Marketing Teams to Access and Collaborate on Brand Controlled Collateral Anytime, Anywhere
DENVER, CO – February 15, 2012 – Quark today launched Quark Brand ManagerTM, a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution designed to allow distributed sales and marketing teams to create, customize, and deliver brand-compliant marketing material on-demand. Quark Brand Manager runs natively on the Microsoft Windows Azure platform, providing the most sophisticated design capabilities and secure Cloud-based availability and scalability offered by a brand management solution today.
“Microsoft Windows Azure offers customers unparalleled performance, scalability, and time to market for delivering a wide range of cloud solutions,” said Mark Hindsbo, vice-president of US Developer & Platform Evangelism at Microsoft Corp. “Through the Windows Azure platform, Quark Brand Manager connects corporate marketing departments to the cloud, giving marketers and field staff the ability to access and collaborate on brand controlled material anytime, anywhere, and at a lower cost.”
As a Cloud-based solution, Quark Brand Manager can be deployed within minutes, automates system updates without requiring IT resources, and streamlines production workflows significantly. Designers convert QuarkXPress® and InDesign documents into Quark Brand Manager templates that can then be approved by marketing and customized by field teams through a simple Web interface. With Quark Brand Manager, marketing teams are able to:
- Reduce by up to 50 percent the time it takes to create templates for brand-compliant collateral
- Reduce by up to 90 percent the time it takes field teams to deliver customized collateral to consumers
- Significantly decrease costs by eliminating the need for on-premise infrastructure
“Quark entered the brand management solutions market early with our QuarkXPress Server technology. Now, with Microsoft, we’re taking an early lead to leverage the Cloud so that dispersed marketing and sales teams can maintain their most valuable differentiator – their brand,” said Ray Schiavone, Quark President and CEO. “As marketing departments take control of budget that was once allocated to IT teams, effective and affordable global Cloud-based solutions like Quark Brand Manager will become required resources.”
To learn more please visit http://www.quarkbrandmanager.com/ and download a complimentary copy of the InfoTrends whitepaper “Making the Case for Brand Management” http://www.quarkbrandmanager.com/making-the-case.html.
If interested in a 30-day trial of Quark Brand Manager, please complete the online registration form to be contacted by a member of the Quark sales team: http://www.quarkbrandmanager.com/trial.html.
Quark Brand Manager pricing starts at $62.50 a month per user with a minimum deployment of 40 users. For more information about pricing, including agency and printer pricing models, please contact email@example.com.
Quark Brand Manager is the only solution that offers marketing departments and field sales teams optional access to Quark’s nationwide network of print providers. All QuarkAlliance members are eligible to be a part of the Quark network of printers. For more information about QuarkAlliance, please visit http://alliance.quark.com/index.php.
Founded in Denver in 1981, Quark’s vision was to create software that would lay the foundation for modern publishing. For 30 years, Quark has delivered on that promise. Quark’s dynamic publishing solutions are setting new standards in automated cross-media publishing by combining the power of XML with flexible layout and design to automate the delivery of customized, intelligent communications across print, the Web, and digital media.
Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.