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When Sales Isn’t Involved, Web-to-Print Projects Fail

If sales isn’t involved, your business-to-business (B2B) web-to-print project is going to fail. Web-to-print projects aren’t about features (solutions), they are all about solving the right customer challenges.


Greenfield and 100% Digital, ePac LLC Sets Its Sights Exclusively on Flexible Packaging

Digital printing for flexible packaging has been slow to take hold, but a start-up company in Madison, WI, says it is equipped and ready for a fast break into this potentially lucrative market.


Mixed Signals, Chaos, and Bureaucracy (Premium Content)

Last week, the polls were wrong and Brexit rattled the markets. But the people most worried were central planning bureaucrats who wonder how to make sure it never happens again. The number of business establishments and microbusinesses are still growing. Durable goods orders send another recession signal. It’s another week of mixed and mixed up signals, something economists like because it makes them look busy.


Key Themes at drupa 2016 Bring Industry 4.0 to the Forefront

By all accounts, drupa 2016 was an amazing show for both exhibitors and attendees. In this article, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne highlights some of the important trends coming out of the show, including drivers bringing Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution – to print.


Changing the Conversation: Helping Customers Leverage Postal Promotions (Premium Content)

Marketers understand that direct mail is one of the most powerful ways to communicate with current customers, especially when it comes to new customer acquisition and reactivating dormant accounts. The USPS’s recently announced 2017 Postal Promotions are designed to help direct mailers maximize the value of the communications that enter the mailstream.


Industrial Production Continues its Negative Turn

The Fed’s own data probably caused them to have a more dour outlook about the economy. The chart shows that US industrial production started slowing at the end of 2014 and has been in outright contraction since Fall 2015. MarketWatch mentioned the skinflint ways of corporations as they have decreased investment. The amount of investment is a function of the future outlook, based on sales and cost forecasts, inflation adjustments, financing costs, and after-tax returns. For many projects those future assessments look murky. The financial engineering emphasis on stock buybacks might have some corrupt undertones, but it is often the last choice for what to do with “excess cash” when capital investments are not attractive. Industrial production is one of the key economic data series that did not make it back to pre-recession levels, and its current performance is often considered recessionary. Yet, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow estimate of Q2-2016 GDP is at the unattractive but much better than last quarter +2.5% level. That turnaround has yet to appear in any manufacturing data.


Predictive Analytics: The New Productivity Weapon For Commercial Printers

In many instances, predictive analytics is discussed in reference to improving marketing and/or sales performance. However, numerous industries today are benefiting from the use of predictive analytics to improve operational efficiency.


drupa 2016: the Package Tour (Part 2)

The business of printing labels and packaging is changing with almost unnerving speed. Made reassuringly clear at drupa was the fact that new technologies for label and packaging production can give printers the capabilities they must have.


Wide-Format 101: One for the Cutters

In the latest installment of our occasional Wide-Format 101 series, we offer a primer on basic finishing processes, specifically rollfed cutters and flatbed cutting tables.


Heidelberg: Delivering on the Digital Promise at drupa 2016 (Premium Content)

Heidelberg is already a champion of offset press manufacturing, but the firm demonstrated that it was equally serious about helping its customers make the transition to digital at this year’s drupa event. This article explores how Heidelberg is promoting itself as a solutions-oriented service provider that can productively and efficiently support customers in the digitization of their business models.


Advertising Rebounds in Q1-2016 v 2015; Publishing Still Struggles

Advertising agency had a much better first quarter than last year, up by nearly $3.9 billion on an inflation-adjusted basis (+16.5%) according to the most recent Quarterly Services Survey. Advertising revenues had slipped in 2014 and 2015, in similar pattern to the decline in durable goods and other manufacturing orders and shipments.


Prices for Advertising Rise for Magazines, Stable for TV and Newspapers, Down for Digital

The direction of the real prices of advertising seem to move in counterintuitive ways. Remember, prices are the result of interactions of supply and demand and expectations for their future changes. Just by looking at a price you cannot tell why it is what it is without having additional information. The chart shows that magazine advertising has gone up by more than 20% since 2010, but it's hard to know how much might have been bundled in those prices. Pricing reports sent to the Bureau of Labor Statistics are supposed to be in constant units, but it's hard to determine those in service environments, and it's hard to quantify a wink or a nod in an advertising agreement. But all advertising has its version of winks and nods. Newspapers and television have not changed much, with newspapers having a steadier ride but television having a bumpier one. Internet advertising is about 25% cheaper than it was in 2010. Digital advertising of some sort is about half of advertising dollars today. While it's growing in size it's decreasing in cost, with more and more digital advertising opportunities being created every day. There's an old saying in economics that supply creates its own demand, and that might be exactly the case here.


The User Experience is the Print Software Product

User experience is the product. 1,000 features does not necessarily equate to a valuable product. When features are embedded into a confusing an cumbersome user experience – they don’t get adopted.


drupa 2016: the Package Tour (Part 1)

drupa 2016 wasn’t exclusively a packaging show, but for label- and packaging-minded visitors, it might as well have been—there was that much to see and be impressed by.


Sticky Discipline for the Label Business – May 2016 M&A Activity

CCL Industries’ establishes international niche positions acquiring label printers at a steady pace, Oliver Printing transitions to carton printing and forms platform company for Pfingsten, M&A activity resumes in commercial printing segment, Dex Media files “Chapter 33”, and more.


Wide-Format at Drupa—Wrapping It Up

Week two of drupa brought few major announcements, but wide-format offerings were hardly inconspicuous.


drupa 2016: About Adding Value to Print!

Many printing companies attended drupa 2016 to understand the latest industry innovations that would increase business and improve profitability. The vendors that participated in this year’s event were focused on demonstrating applications that expanded margins and helped service providers identify new markets and opportunities. This article explores just some of the ways that the industry continues to bring new value to print.


Smaller Printers Are Giants in Profits

The changes in the media markets led to the declines in magazines, catalogs, newspaper inserts, and many of the products produced by large printing organizations. For years, these companies were giants in the industry, but recently this sector has been restructuring through consolidations. Writedowns in goodwill and for closed plants have cut the profits of these organizations.


Q1 Printing Profits Rebound; Large Printers Still Lag Smaller Establishments (Premium Content)

The profits before taxes of US commercial printers rebounded in the first quarter. Profits for the quarter are estimated at $1.37 billion, the highest level since the third quarter of 2013, when they were $1.42 billion adjusted for inflation. Profits were $810 million for the first quarter of 2015, making this a significant turnaround.


Innovative Labeling Solutions Ramps Up in Flexible Packaging

Ohio based Innovative Labeling Solutions and HP Indigo are out to demonstrate that digital printing can become as widely used for flexible packaging as it is for labels.


Consolidating Printing Employment, Shipments End a Streak, and an Ugly Employment Report that Dresses Nice (Premium Content)

Things are not what they seem. Streaking was not good in the 1970s, it’s definitely not good on presses, but streaking is great when it’s a growth streak in printing shipments. Unfortunately, the latter has ended, so let’s start a new one. The employment report was bad but that made interest-rate worriers happy. There’s nothing like getting statistically giddy over the numerical misfortune of others. Maybe they need to find a niche like a very happy Vancouver printer did.


Wide-Format at Drupa—That Was The Week One That Was

Drupa 2016 thus far has not had a lot of wide-format announcements per se, but corrugated—one point where wide-format and packaging meet—is playing a big role this year, with some major announcements.


Frank's drupa Notebook: Kodak 3.0

The yellow box is glowing again. You sense it as soon as you enter the Kodak booth at Drupa 2016. It is the most creative booth I have seen in my eleven Drupas. Every product and service is showcased. Customer samples abound. It is Disneyland for printing geeks.


Frank's drupa Notebook: Important themes of drupa

Frank covers 12 important themes of drupa 2016 that he thought worth sharing, including new inks, corrugated digital presses, digital approaching offset speeds, and more!


HP Indigo Scores Big at drupa with Cimpress and Shutterfly Deals

Just two days into drupa 2016, HP Indigo has announced two large deals: Cimpress and Shutterfly. Combined with some other smaller transactions, the company has already chalked up sales of about 50 HP Indigo Series 4 presses, with likely more to come, making this an exciting show for the company. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Indigo General Manager Alon Bar-Shany to get the details.


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