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Quad/Graphics: A Focus on Defining the Future of Customer Communications (Premium Content)

Marketers face many obstacles when communicating with customers. Reaching customers is more difficult than ever before, and marketers often struggle to determine the right media and message. This article explores how Quad/Graphics is helping marketers and publishers capitalize on print’s ability to complement and connect with other media channels.


E-Commerce and US Retail Sales

E-commerce has been running at the rate of 15% annual growth for many years, but is just 8% of retail sales. That seems tiny in relation to what we've seen happen to print promotions like catalogs and direct mail, and the rise of zombie or troubled shopping malls. The problem is that big ticket items, like autos, raise the size of retail sales. Those items may be researched online, but their actual purchase is not made until it is transacted at a car dealer. Restaurant purchases are also a distorting issue in the data. This chart explains it a little better. E-commerce sales is at the bottom (red line). In the second quarter, it was just short of $100 billion. The blue line is retail sales less vehicles and parts. The green line has food service sales deducted. The black line had e-commerce sales deducted, and shows retail sales through traditional channels. Those sales through older channels are lower than they were at the start of the recession. All of the growth in non-auto and non-restaurant retail for the last decade has occurred in e-commerce channels.


Canon Promotes “See Impossible” and “One Canon” Themes at Press Event (Premium Content)

At an industry analyst/journalist summit held early this month, Canon unveiled its “One Canon” approach to the business, further integrating Canon U.S.A. Business Group, Canon Solutions America and Canon Information & Imaging Solutions to provide a seamless customer experience. WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne also interviewed Canon Americas Chairman & CEO and Senior Managing Director of Canon Inc. Joe Adachi during the event.


Creating Customer Convenience with Web to Print

Web-to-Print isn’t for the printer; it is a self-service option for your customers so that ordering from you is more convenient. Customer preference is strongly in favor of self-service options for virtually all business processes, print is no exception.


Printing Industries Alliance Hosts Wide-Format Printing Panel

The Printing Industries Alliance hosted an all-day drupa recap at Manhattan’s Club 101. Among the day’s presentations and panel discussions was an extensive conversation about the current state of wide-format graphics and opportunities in the market for commercial printers.


The Lure Of Digital Packaging: A Printing Industry Growth Area

If the rise of digital printing for packaging is starting to look irresistible, there are reasons —technological and market-driven—behind the momentum it is gathering.


Straightforward Economics; Can You be Trusted with “The Good Leads”?

There are signs of economic slowdown despite what cable's talking heads say. The disparity of consumer prices and printing prices help explain the forces of consolidation and why print businesses need to have a constant review of their costs and value creation capabilies. The Australia Census folks may need to paper over a computer problem. Nothing helps improve sales more than leads, sales leads, the good leads.


Understanding the Customer Journey (Premium Content)

Historically, marketers have had a relatively straightforward task—to fill the sales funnel and keep prospects moving through it. Marketers would place an advertisement in a newspaper, create a television commercial, or send a direct mail piece to entice consumers to come into their stores to make a purchase. Times have changed.


The Role of Live Events in the Print Industry

Going to live industry events is a great opportunity on many levels – get out of working in your business and focus on working on your business. Building relationships with peers and vendors is critical to your future success, live events are where these relationships are cemented.


Avery Expands Its Reach in GHS Labels

Embracing international standards, OSHA now has a new set of rules for designing labels used with hazardous materials. Label giant Avery offers tools to make compliance easier.


The Cube-Shaped Canvas (Premium Content)

In the latest installment of our occasional Wide-Format 101 series, we offer a general overview of wall, floor, and window graphics.


drupa 2016 is behind us. Now what?

Printers from around the globe flock to drupa every four-years to see the latest innovations. The highlights of these introductions have already been well-covered by our respected colleagues in great detail. However, the drupa summaries to date do not provide Service Providers with insight into the one key question that every service provider is asking, “How do we feed the beast?” That is, if I make the leap to digital printing, or wish to expand my presence, how do I ensure a profitable stream of work that will result in a return on my investment?


How to Capitalize on the Mobile Addiction (Premium Content)

There is little disagreement that smartphones and other digital devices are having a disruptive impact on businesses as well as consumers on a global basis. There is no question that today’s mobile addiction represents a tremendous opportunity for service providers. This article explores how savvy service providers are supporting clients in their drive to reach customers.


Commercial Printing Employment: Production Employees Up +0.7%, Administrative Down -8.1%

Since January 2013, the number of production employees in commercial printing establishments has grown slightly, and is up +0.7%, from 307,700 employees to 310,000. Other employees, which are mainly administrative including sales, are down -8.1%, from 145,000 to 133,300.


Maintaining Multiple Web-to-Print Solutions (Premium Content)

Printers get frustrated with complex software solutions, this frustration often results in the purchase of additional complex software solutions. Don’t rush to buy your way out of the challenge – it might be more effective to learn your way out of it by doubling down on your commitment to the software you already have.


How Do You Print a Golf Ball? – July 2016 M&A Activity

Hi-tech inkjet company Xaar makes inroads into US industrial printing market with acquisition of pad printing company, 4over acquires another trade printer, Nationwide Argosy divests last operating company, newspapers consolidate, corrugated segment is active and more.


CI Flexo Technology for Packaging and Family Values for Leadership Are Showcased at PCMC Impact 2016

The Paper Converting Machine Company is North America’s only remaining manufacturer of CI flexo presses. It’s also distinguished by the humanistic style of its leadership—a management philosophy that cherishes employees as family members.


Changes in Employment, the Economy, and Print (Premium Content)

Nothing is ever what it seems, and that goes for last week's employment report (again). Ripples of consolidation are seen in printing employment data. There's growth in the advertising and design markets, and pain in publishing. Dr. Joe puts GDP and printing shipments into historical context. The iPhone is a means to explore the topic of trade. No, Dr. Joe's not trading in his iPhone.


US Commercial Printing Shipments for First Half of 2016 Up +1%; Q2 Shipments Decline

In data released by the US Department of Commerce, commercial printing shipments for June 2016 were down -$58 million compared to last year (-0.8%). On an inflation-adjusted basis, shipments were down -$130 million (-1.8%).


Marketing Isn’t What it Used to Be… Your Customers Want Something Different! (Premium Content)

Today’s customers are adept multi-taskers who are capable of using multiple devices simultaneously. This means that marketers need new ways to cut through the clutter and get their messages across. This article explores techniques for delivering relevant data-driven content to effectively reach target audiences.


Recovery Indicators: 3 Up, 2 Down, 1 Unchanged

The NASDAQ had a good month, rebounding by 6.5% last month. Compared to last year at this time, the NASDAQ is up +0.6%, which is a negative return compared to inflation (less inflation it is -0.5% because the CPI is +1.1%).


The Question is the Most Powerful Sales Tool

Customers come to printers to solve communication challenges. Transactional customers get their specific challenges solved. Transaction print is a tough business these days. Printers who inquire about and look to solve bigger picture challenges develop partners with their customers, moving above the transactional level.


GDP Revisions Show Declining Growth Rate Since 2014

The annual multi-year revision of US GDP data was released on Friday. The new data reflect more complete reporting of the thousands of data series that are used in the calculation of GDP and less reliance on estimated data. The revisions cover GDP from 2013 to the present reporting.


Fujifilm Introduces EUCON as the Press That Makes Inkjet Feasible for Flexible Packaging

The disconnect between flexible packaging and inkjet printing is wide, but not necessarily unbridgeable. Fujifilm thinks it has the answer in an innovative LED-UV inkjet press it showed at drupa 2016.


Insight: Four Key Trends Shaping the Industrial Packaging Market

Making packages more recyclable, lighter, shapelier, and safer will be the principal drivers for the industrial packaging market through to 2020.


Pokémon Go… You Might Want to Pay Attention! (Premium Content)

Officially launched on July 6, Pokémon Go is a mobile application that is sweeping the nation. This article explores how the app promises to expand the opportunity for Augmented Reality, and also highlights a few other recent examples of the technology.


S&P 500 Real Sales per Share Reflects Struggling Economy

A way of judging the health of the economy is to calculate the inflation-adjusted sales of all of the companies in the S&P 500 and divide it by the total number of public shares. This index should have a natural upward bias. S&P 500 companies are very large, and acquire or merge with other companies, many of which are outside of the 500 companies. Buybacks of stock, which has been a trend of note these last five or so years, reduce the number of shares, or slow the growth in shares, reduce the denominator, again, giving it an upward bias. Instead, this measure has suffered. It peaked in 2007, and has yet to surpass that level. This means that corporate profits, which have generally been good (though slowing lately) have been managed by refinancing of debt to lower interest rates and reductions in costs and expenses. Those better profits are not the result of increased revenues. Slow, sluggish economic growth is reflected in these figures, and is a reminder that one should not look only to GDP as an indicator of the true health of the private sector.


Teach Your Daughters to Negotiate

The recent move by the U.S. women’s national soccer team (USWNT), to ask for a raise is leading by example for women of all ages. Their performance from top to bottom has been exemplary, on and off the field, and for them, this would be a performance-based raise. As it turns out, simply “asking” requires the courage to work against how we’ve been socialized to behave as females.


COT Holdings Celebrates 40 Years in Business

What’s the printing business like in Barbados? Highly competitive, according to COT Holdings’ Nigel Worme. Learn how this innovative company is investing in the future of its business with a brand-new HP Indigo 10000 in this article sponsored by HP.


Highlights: 2016 AWA Global Release Liner Industry Conference & Exhibition

Release liners and specialty tapes may not be the highest-profile segments of labeling, but their applications span a surprisingly wide range of commercial and industrial end-uses. A recent conference in Vienna underscored their role and importance.


The Nutrition Facts Label Gets a Makeover, and the Label Industry Gets a Mandate

In one way or another, the changes will alter the labeling of virtually every packaged food and beverage product. But, label producers expect to be able to take it all in stride.


Mid-Year Progress Report: The 2016 Story So Far (Premium Content)

The first half of 2016 is in the books. How is the industry faring thus far compared o last year? Our new Economics and Research Center report looks at the latest economic, technological, and cultural trends affecting the industry.


Look What I Found! Print! (Premium Content)

An Olgivy & Mather executive discovers print. We need to discover it, too, looking at print through the eyes of our clients and prospects. It's not that print is dead or not dead, there is a generation of media buyers for whom print is not alive. This ad exec's comments are vital in understanding how to make print relevant and, surprisingly, new.


Color Plus Personalization: Selling the Value of Inkjet (Premium Content)

Many marketers are turning to color and personalization to create pieces with strong visual appeal that prompt consumers to take action. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore the effects of color and personalization.


Arizona-based bluemedia Takes Unique Approach to Large Format Workflow

Arizona-based large format printer bluemedia has taken a unique approach to workflow that is serving them well, making it possible to efficiently produce large and small projects – including all of the Super Bowl graphics.


Packaging Material Moving Towards a $1 Trillion Milestone in 2020

The demand for packaging is growing everywhere, but the growth is far from being uniform or monolithic. As always, consumer trends and preferences dictate which packaging formats will gain the most market share.


The New OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Rule Is Final

OSHA’s latest injury and illness recordkeeping rule is now on the books. Now is the time to review your records and safety policies and make sure they are accurate and compliant with. SGIA’s Rick Hartwig walks us through the new rule and requirements and what they mean for print businesses.


How Much Excellence Is in Your Operation?

A new book by former HP Executive Dieter Legat is a how-to guide for getting to operational excellence. Surf the Waves of Opportunity: Lead your business to operational excellence with five things done right, draws on Legat’s many years of operational and consulting experience to provide a working model that can be used in any business.


Dotcom Survivor Retains Print – June 2016 M&A Activity

Dot-com era company, Internet Brands, with backing from KKR, invests in Fodor’s travel guides and commits to maintain print editions, Transcontinental builds flexible packaging division with third US acquisition, Weyerhaeuser completes next step of exit from paper business, ALJ Regional bolts Color Optics onto portfolio company Phoenix Color and more.


Social Media Should Be Part of Your Marketing Mix (Premium Content)

When used effectively, B2B social media marketing can be an essential avenue for building awareness. It can also establish you as a thought leader and act as a mechanism for creating an ongoing dialogue with customers. This article explores what social media techniques B2B firms are using, as well as why and how they are being used.


Xerox and RR Donnelley to Merge? What Would This Mean for the Industry?

Say what? Mainstream media is reporting that the two are in talks, and all this in the middle of Breaking Up Is Hard to Do for both companies. Xerox responded to an email inquiry early this morning with this: “All we are willing to share at this point is that we don’t comment on market speculation.” Expected. RR Donnelley has always been extremely close to the vest even when the topic is not material, so there wasn’t any point in reaching out there. But we do have our feelers out to see what we can pick up.


Web-to-Print From the Customer’s Perspective

Web-to-Print software is sold to printing companies. Yet, the primary users of web-to-print solutions are a printing company's customers. This situation is the cause of many issues with the success of web-to-print programs. We have three perspectives at work (only one really matters).


Shutterfly and HP Indigo: The Inside Scoop (Premium Content)

At drupa 2016, HP Indigo announced its largest deal ever – 25 HP Indigo 12000s to go to photo specialty printer Shutterfly. This is notable not only for the size of the agreement but for the fact that all 25 units are to be installed over the summer in order to be ready for peak production in the 4th quarter – a monumental task.


Think 3D Printing is Not for You? Think Again!

3D printing was one of six focused areas at drupa 2016. Most printing operations are probably wondering how this can apply to their businesses. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne has some ideas to share that will shed light on the subject.


Next Stop, Industry 4.0: an Interview with Anthony Thirlby (Premium Content)

A master printer, a consultant, and now, the leader of Heidelberg’s Prinect workflow software business, Anthony Thirlby has a framework for process automation that he says can transform every printing plant.


Employment Data Discombobulation Might Require an IRL Meeting (Premium Content)

Commercial printing's workforce reflects consolidation and leaner management. Last week's employment data was so haphazard it looks suspiciously like a dart board was involved. The USPS still needs to be Spooner-fed. If this all sounds confusing, perhaps it's time for an IRL with Dr. Joe.


For This Wrap Cup Master, Competition is Education

This year’s FESPA Wrap Cup Master Jim Miller started in vehicle graphics at the age of 15, applying screen printed decals to his father’s Little Debbie truck. Today, Miller Decals installs vehicle graphics and other types of displays for more than 600 customers around the country.


Successful Sales: Finding the Right Talent (Premium Content)

The relationship sell that worked perfectly fine just a few years ago isn’t good enough anymore. Many sales managers face a common pitfall—they fail to define the skills that are required before determining a strategy. This article discusses the six capabilities are essential for selling successfully in today’s market.


Recovery Indicators Better than Recent Economic News

The recovery indicators showed better economic activity in June. This ended the second quarter in a manner that seemed contrary to many recent economic data.


Are We Headed to QE4?

This chart shows the Fed's balance sheet in the format known as the St. Louis Adjusted Monetary Base. Prior to the doubling of that balance sheet, it was growing at the annual rate of 6%, which was basically comprised of the long term rates of 1% for population growth, 2% for inflation, and 3% for economic growth.


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