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Mobility and Print Align at an Opportune Time (Premium Content)

There's nothing like print enriching itself, and mobile might be the way to do it. A surge in mobile information preference is underway. How should printers plan? Diving in of course, by turning on static print materials into Internet and other gateways. If printers have sidestepped the digital media revolution to concentrate on the media they do best, this may be an opportune time to enliven their offerings as technology, economics, and consumer preference seem to be aligning themselves in a very special way.

Mobile is at the Heart of Innovation for the Printing Industry! (Premium Content)

Mobile devices are changing the customer experience and forcing organizations to rethink how they engage with their customers and employees. This article shares how CCG Marketing Solutions and Rethink CMYK have leveraged cross-media and mobile technologies to catapult their businesses forward.

Fall in Love with Your Customer’s Problems (Premium Content)

The most important thing you can do to thrive during times of disruption is to learn more about your customer’s problems. What you solved for customers in the past might not be relevant in the future, what you can solve in the future will reinvent may reinvent your business.

The Decline and Fall of Marketing

Marketing is getting pushed out of the boardroom and strategies built around customers are going with it. It’s a self-inflicted banishment, and marketers – including many CMO’s – are worried about it. For Graphic Communication firms, this presents a two-fold challenge and opportunity.

All Projects Great and Small: Benicia, Calif.’s ColorZone Helps Small Businesses Grow

When Joshua Feller bought a failing trade show graphics company in 2005, he had little idea that it was the start of a journey that would take him into the world of wide-format printing—and the burgeoning world of digital label printing.

HP PageWide: Georgia-Pacific Deal Revealed; Corrugated Print Systems Ramping Up

The first sale to a U.S. customer refocuses attention on the 110" inkjet platform with which HP intends to revolutionize printing on corrugated.

The Power of Print to Change the World

Print began to flex its muscles and show its power not long after Gutenberg invented movable type. Print was a causative factor in the rapid spread of Martin Luther’s teachings in the first half of the 1500’s. Andrew Pettegree has done an excellent job of presenting a blend of European history of the period, the story of Martin Luther and how print influenced it all in Brand Luther. Highly recommended reading!

The Thread that Connected Washington, DC and the Smithsonian Institution With Cal Poly

I recently returned from Washington, DC after witnessing, firsthand, the opening of the 19th and final Smithsonian Institution museum on The Mall, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). I was part of a group of 32 people, mostly from San Luis Obispo (California) County, who attended. We were all there, not only to witness history in the making, but as a tribute to The Late Joe Schwartz, former lithographer and “street photographer,” whose photographs became one of the first and one of the only permanent exhibits adopted by the Smithsonian Institution to be prominently displayed at the Museum.

Per Capita Pounds of Mail

Since the beginning of the economic recovery in 2009, first class mail is down by -12%, standard mail (discounted bulk mail) down by -18%, and periodicals down a whopping -32%. Is there anyone surprised at this? Since 2000, per capita first class mail is down about 5 pounds, periodicals down 10 pounds, and standard mail down about 14.5 pounds. That totals nearly 30 pounds less mail. Note in the chart that there was a big decline of about 9.5 pounds from 2008 to 2009 as the use of the mail was affected by the deepening recession, but most of all by the rising use of smartphones and the effects of the new social media category. These were aided and abetted by the underlying growth of websites, increasing adoption and faster speeds of broadband. The tablet computing category started in Spring 2010 with the introduction of the iPad. What was the USPS reaction to their decline in sales from economic conditions and new competitors? Raise prices, of course. Those higher costs had to be balanced by less frequent and lighter mailings to tightly focused audiences, and greater emphasis on data base hygiene. Mailing is a more demanding niche than ever for the printers that specialize in it. Automation is critical, and new high quality ink jet printing technologies, some of which are already in the market with new ones yet to come, may change the costs of print and increase its flexibility in a manner that can make hard copy mail more attractive than it has been in recent years.

Apex: An Industry Incumbent that is Innovating with Technology

According to McKinsey & Company, industry incumbents must face the digital disruption and determine what they can do differently to survive or even thrive in the future. McKinsey’s rules apply to a wide variety of industries, but this article highlights how Apex Revenue Technologies is facing the digital disruption with technological innovations.

At Graph Expo 2016, a Respectable Showing for Labels and Packaging

Although not a show about labels and packaging per se, Graph Expo proved to be a worthwhile place to go for information on innovative ways of producing them.

No More Isolated Print Software Solutions

Every print software decision needs to be considered within the context of your end-to-end workflow. Isolated or point solutions are costly both short and long term. As jobs travel through your production and business workflows – it is vital that the various pieces of print technology can communicate with each other without human intervention.

Managed Print Services Take Center Stage – September 2016 M&A Activity

HP commits to paper-based future, private equity invests in managed print services, ink manufacturers consolidate, Hibbert acquires RedShark, Deluxe promotes promotional products, and more.

Graph Expo 2016 Highlights

Despite its move to Orlando after 20 years in Chicago, Graph Expo 2016 exceeded expectations according to most exhibitors and attendees. In this article, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne shares the highlights that caught her attention at the show.

Recovering Recovery and Quadrennial Snapshots: More Logical than it Sounds

For once the employment report was bad on the outside but good on the inside. Printing employment continues to show consolidation effects. The recovery indicators have their own recovery. August printing shipments are big, making up for July’s disturbing decline. Dr. Joe’s good Graph Expo included a visit to the Printerverse and a digital book discussion worth watching.

McKinsey’s Guide to Digital Disruption: Lessons for the Printing Industry (Premium Content)

The September 2016 issue of McKinsey Quarterly included an article entitled An Incumbent’s Guide to Digital Disruption that offered insight on actions that businesses can take today to remain competitive in today’s digital age. This article provides a synopsis of the McKinsey disruption lifecycle and explores how the printing industry is being affected today.

Top 3 Challenges to the Print Software Sales Process (Premium Content)

Mistakes get made during the print software sales process because there is a lack of common understanding, a pressure on the vendor to say yes to every challenge presented, and a tendency to focus on solutions rather than the problems.

Q2 Real GDP Revised Up to +1.4%; Durable Goods Orders Contracting for 20 Months

Real GDP for the second quarter got its final revision, and was raised from +1.1% to +1.4%. Regular readers know that we prefer to look at real GDP on a year-to-year basis, excluding inventories, to give a better long-term view of the economy. The second quarter had an inventory correction, which seemed overdue.

SGIA 2016 Wrapup: This—and Next—Year’s Models

A collection of new products and product previews that were seen on the show floor at last month’s SGIA Expo.

Materials Matter at Graph Expo and Beyond

At Graph Expo 2016 paper suppliers were clustered in the Materials Matter section of the show floor, described as the “hub that celebrates the essential role materials play in the print ecosystem.”

Graph Expo 2016 and the Satisfactions of Scalability

Graph Expo’s first outing in Orlando proved that how large or small a trade show is matters less than how well it fits its surroundings—and vice versa.

Print Supply Chain Optimization: A Critical Marketing Priority (Premium Content)

Marketers are spending billions of dollars producing, warehousing, and shipping marketing literature, packaging, documentation, point-of-sale displays, premiums, giveaways, signage, and handouts for all channels of market contact and engagement. This article explores how managing and controlling this portion of marketing operations can materially impact go-to-market effectiveness, increase business value, and create a competitive advantage.

The Museum of Printing Exhibits Its One-of-a-Kind Collection in a New and Much Improved Venue

After 38 years, multiple relocations, and herculean labors, this extraordinary collection has a permanent home and a compelling story to tell.

Closing the Personalization Gap (Premium Content)

Even though today’s consumers are inundated with marketing-related messages, only a fraction of these messages actually get the consumer engaged. This article explores how marketers are using personalization to create customized communications that help them stand out from their competitors.

Manufacturing May Be Declining, but Real Retail Sales are Still Positive

Data about manufacturing from the ISM and the Commerce Department have show a contraction compared to the prior year. In some cases that slowdown and contraction has been in process for 18 or more months. Retail sales and consumer spending have been the brighter spots of the economy. The inflation-adjusted growth rate of retail sales has been slowing since the beginning of 2015.

Buying and Selling Print Software by the Pound

When you buy and sell software by the pound (# of features), you get distracted as a buyer as to what business challenge is actually most important to solve. As a vendor when you build software by the pound you keep adding without going back and refining the core features of your solution.

Hyde Opinion: the Sale of DG3 to Resilience Capital Partners

DG3, a significant player in the NYC metro, national and international market for commercial and financial printing, has entered another phase of its storied existence of acquisitions, going public, sale of the company, management buyout, return of the founder, sale to private equity and now a secondary sale to private equity and special situation fund Resilience Capital Partners.

A Toast—and Another One—to the Genius of Corrugated

Corrugated packaging protects effectively, presents handsomely, and succeeds environmentally. What’s not to like or to give credit where due?

Traditional Publishing Ebbs, and Oh, Those CMOs (Premium Content)

Remember that “content is king” thing? The king is losing money. Worldwide ad agency Carat is forecasting moderate growth in advertising, but major shifts in the way ad budgets are spent. It's a fascinating look at worldwide communications with significant implications for printers of all sizes. And then those CMOs... just when they think they have it figured out, they're getting fired again.

You Are the Package. Do You Like What You See?

We interact with packages so much and so often that we sometimes begin to merge with them—and they with us.

SGIA Expo 2016 Kicks Off in Las Vegas

What happened at this year’s SGIA Expo may have happened in Vegas, but it’s not staying in Vegas. Our report from Day One of the show.

Book Publishing: Printed Books Live On! (Premium Content)

Even in today’s digital age, printed books are alive and well. The death of printed books has been greatly exaggerated, and emerging technologies and consumer preferences are converging. This article explores the tools and techniques that can help resolve the supply chain.

Pew Offers Essential Insights into Book Readership

The Pew Research Center's recent report about book reading gives us a peek at the relationship of print and digital media. The report says “A growing share of Americans are reading e-books on tablets and smartphones rather than dedicated e-readers, but print books remain much more popular than books in digital formats.” The chart shows what formats their respondents used in the year prior to the survey. Only 6% were digital-only readers. The report states that 26% read no book in the last year; they may have read other things, but not books. Contrary to many reports about the “demise” of e-books, that has risen from 17% to 28%. It's been stuck there for three years. Print-only readers were 39% (remember: that used to be the entire market of book readers). Print and digital readers are now at 29%. Add the 6% digital-only, and you're at 35%. Content needs to be available in multiple media. Media selection is based on many factors, such as time, convenience, price, income, education, age, and others. Pew also offers insights into the use of audiobooks. The report is free can be downloaded from the Pew Research Center. One other note: when you hear that tablet sales are down or that e-book reader sales are down, keep in mind the versatile use of smartphones and their growing role in content engagement. Among readers 18-29 years old, 22% of them are reading books on their smartphones, 4x more than read them on e-book readers.

The Number 1 Factor in Successful Print MIS Implementations (Premium Content)

Implementing Print MIS software is an undertaking that touches every corner of your business. The belief system you go into this process with determines your success more than any other factor.

Thomson Reuters Sees Opportunity in Monochome Book Printing

Thomson Reuters Core Publishing Service focuses on short and long runs of monochrome legal and other publications on lightweight papers. Adding a HP PageWide Web Press T360 with an inline Magnum Flexbook has significantly improved efficiencies for mid-sized to short runs. Learn more in this article sponsored by HP.

Private Equity LOVES Labels – August 2016 M&A Activity

Massive global private equity funds move aggressively into the label and related printing segments, marketing services provider Firespring acquires Jacob North and does good, Supremex rolls up US envelope production, the newspaper chess game goes on and more.

Employment, Shipments, and Profits: The Objects of Inflection? (Premium Content)

Employment and GDP reports did not inspire, and July's printing shipments made us ponder. In the printing profits data, smaller did better, again. Ponder this: have print's gargantuans lost their economies of scale? Big was supposed to be better, smarter, and sturdy. It turns out that the big interest in big printers was of the loan payment kind. If pondering makes you hungry, you might consider some food shopping. They say the price of food is down but, alas, we learn it's just less up.

Automation and Wide-Format: Where Are We?

Whether it’s only a select few tasks or an entire production workflow, automation is slowly but surely coming to wide-format printing. How is that possible?

Four of Six Recovery Indicators Fall, Two Now Below Levels of Last Recession

The recovery indicators were hit hard last month last month, with two of them falling below the levels at the start of the last recession. Those levels were the readings of these indicators for December 2007.

Transaction Documents: Consumers Still Like Paper! (Premium Content)

Transactional printing is the original variable data printing application. Each bill, statement, invoice, check, or explanation of benefits has content that is unique to the specific individual. Research continues to suggest that business expectations for paperless delivery adoption always exceed realized gains.

Konica Minolta: Moving into Production and Industrial Print

In this article, David takes a look at Konica Minolta and the company’s new strategy relative to Production Inkjet, Industrial Print, and building a Software eco-system, with a different approach than its competitors.

US Commercial Printing Shipments Have Rough July

The reversal in trend for US commercial printing shipments went from somewhat benign to significant in July's data. Last year, the industry was relatively stronger than 2014, but shipments have been on a downturn for the last four months of reporting.

Pixartprinting: VistaPrint’s Expansion into Upload-and-Print (Premium Content)

Inevitably, Cimpress (parent company of VistaPrint) is expanding beyond its roots with the micro business and the business card product. Pixartprinting, a 2014 Cimpress acquisition, targets the creative professional with a 100% upload-and-print model supporting an ever growing collection of product workflows.

Creative Sign Designs Spurs Collaboration with Dry-Erase Paint

As Creative Sign Designs was preparing to remodel its facility, President & CEO Jamie Harden came across dry-erase paint from ThinkPaint and immediately saw the benefits, both for his own staff and as a potential new revenue stream for the business.

Packaging Innovations Are in the Vanguard of the Fight to End Food Waste

Food waste is a shameful spectacle wherever it occurs. The problem is global, but so are efforts to solve it with new solutions for extending the edible lives of packaged foods.

Future Focus: Becoming a Strategic Customer Communications Partner (Premium Content)

When we talked about marketing services five years ago, the focus was on variable data and creating a personalized URL that linked to a landing page with pre-populated information. Although these capabilities are still important, today’s customers are seeking more. They want a strategic partner that will help them with their customer communications strategy.

Making Great Software is Humbling (Premium Content)

Coding is one aspect of software. Making great software takes a team of well-coordinated resources. When we oversimplify software to just a coding event, we get unexpected results

Report from drupa 2016: The Latest in Short Run and Digital

What will motivate packaging printers to adopt digital presses? Personalization may be a key selling point, but it isn’t primarily what will drive installation of these machines.

SGIA Expo 2016 Heads Back to Las Vegas

Next month, the annual SGIA Expo heads to its West Coast home at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Two of this year’s big topics are garment decoration and 3D printing—and it turns out they are not mutually exclusive. Here’s a preview of this year’s show.

Real GDP for Q2 Revised Down Slightly to +1.1%; Durable Goods Orders Still Contracting

The latest revision of real US GDP for Q2-2016 dropped from +1.2% to +1.1%. The estimate for Q3 from the Atlanta Fed is above +3%.

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