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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.


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%.


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 (Premium Content)

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.


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