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Heidelberg & Komori pass on Graph Expo 2010; KBA, manroland and Presstek to exhibit

As the 2010 show season begins, the emphasis has shifted increasingly toward digital solutions, including printing equipment as well as workflow. WhatTheyThink spoke with several offset press manufacturers to find out more about their plans for the most significant North American printing show, Graph Expo, scheduled for October 3-6, 2010, at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

By Cary Sherburne
Published: February 17, 2010

Heidelberg, Komori not exhibiting in 2010, but committed to 2011

As the 2010 show season begins, the emphasis has shifted increasingly toward digital solutions, including printing equipment as well as workflow. WhatTheyThink spoke with several offset press manufacturers to find out more about their plans for the most significant North American printing show, Graph Expo, scheduled for October 3-6, 2010, at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

Although October seems far in the future, with 2010 barely beginning, both the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC) and vendors to the industry have been busy planning for the show. The theme this year is The Next Generation of Print. While the show company still positions Graph Expo as a “powerhouse selling show,” it also recognizes that not all attendees will be coming to the show just to buy. The show’s site says, “…everyone WILL be there working together to build something new—forging a creative new path into the future of the graphic communications industry.”

To that end, GASC has once again established several specialty areas that are mini shows within the show, including wide format, mailing & fulfillment, Future Print, Pack Print, GREENspace, and for the first time, a Newspaper Pavilion. GASC’s Chris Price also hints at big changes at McCormick Place to make it more exhibitor-friendly.  He says, “A couple of major shows have pulled out of Chicago, heading for less costly venues such as Las Vegas and Orlando.  That has caught the attention of many stakeholders in Chicagoland, including the mayor, and opened the door to serious discussions about how the show experience can be restructured to meet today’s more stringent budget requirements on the part of many exhibitors.”  Price indicates that about 30 show producers have banded together to work through these issues and have already gained many concessions, including:

  • A reduction in machinery handling costs of 15%
  • An innovative plan to drive down hotel costs

Price adds, “Everyone recognizes that the McCormick Place model is broken, and I feel good about the progress we are making.  There are more substantial changes to come, and we will be making those announcements as agreements are put in place.”  Price also conceded that from the show company’s perspective, he expects 2010 to be as difficult as 2009 was, but adds, “We are very optimistic moving forward and are working to ensure we adapt to a changing marketplace.  We have  been out in the field listening to our various stakeholders and forging many of these changes not only to reduce expenses but to refine our segmentation.  We have 11 different market segments we go after now, and we are getting better at targeting our messaging to them.  It is not constrained to printing; everyone in the business communications supply chain is affected.”

Price also echoes an earlier WhatTheyThink article, pointing out that exhibitors are often taking a more consultative and educational approach to the structure of their booths, providing attendees with access to best practices and ways they can improve their day-to-day operations.  This helps keep exhibitors top of mind when the time is right to buy, as well as bringing valuable intelligence to the industry.

At Print 09, of course, Kodak had no equipment, and many other exhibitors cut back on the equipment they brought to the show due largely to the exigencies of a tough economic climate.  WhatTheyThink wondered what this year would bring, especially in the offset segment, where it can be very expensive to transport and install large, multimillion dollar presses for the few days duration of the show. To that end, we spoke to several offset vendors to find out more about their Graph Expo plans.

Heidelberg 

Heidelberg historically has held the prime spot, Booth 1200, right at the entrance to the South Hall.  WhatTheyThink spoke with Tim Henschel, Heidelberg’s Manager of Public Relations, in late January.  Henschel told us that the focus at that time was on IPEX, and with a fiscal year that ends in March, budgets for the new fiscal year are not yet in place.  “That weighs heavily on where we will be, what we will do and how much exhibit space we will have.”  Henschel indicates, however, that Heidelberg has been in discussions with GASC.

Editor’s Note: GASC informed us this week that Heidelberg has committed to Graph Expo 2011, but will not be at Graph Expo 2010, focusing instead on IPEX for 2010. HP will be in Booth 1200 in 2010.

KBA             

Eric Frank, Vice President of KBA North America, indicates the company has not only committed to space, but its plans for the show are well underway. “We are extremely excited about our location,” Frank says, “because it straddles commercial print and the new Newspaper Pavilion. We were actually one of the first to pay for our booth, and even if a different, seemingly more valuable location were to become available, we would not move.  This location is a perfect position to show off our broad portfolio.  I also believe, from my 30 years of experience in trade shows, that you need a booth that is inviting and attractive, not necessarily the first booth you see.  Gone are the days when attendees spend most of their time in one booth, shaking hands and drinking coffee. People want to see everything.”

Frank reports that KBA has engaged about 3,500 square feet of booth space and plans to bring smaller presses, placing focus on applications and new growth opportunities.  The KBA booth will feature interactive kiosk displays focused on these growth opportunities and the information available in the booth will be valuable to a wide swath of attendees.

Komori

According to Director of Marketing Sue Baines, Komori has opted out of Graph Expo for 2010. “This is strictly a business decision for Komori.  We still believe exhibitions fit into the marketing mix but given our strategy for the coming year, we will be taking a very focused approach to marketing.    We are still committed to supporting the industry and will definitely be participating in Graph Expo 2011.”

Baines says the company will be doing some very different things, adding, “This kind of out-of-the-box thinking is both scary and exciting at the same time.  It might seem that online marketing in general is anathema to our business, but the fact of the matter is everyone wants information quickly, and no one wants to wait.  We are cognizant of that.  We need to get completely customer focused, and we think we will learn a lot about how to do that differently during 2010.”

One thing we noticed in reviewing various social media sites is that Komori is much more active than most other offset manufacturers in the social media space, offering clues to some of the investments Komori might be making in 2010.  The company has a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn, and sends regular tweets using Twitter. It appears that Komori is working hard to keep these venues current and active, which is extremely important for social media to be a successful branding medium and to keep customers engaged.

manroland

Also planning a booth at the show is manroland. The company has had a smaller booth than most of the other offset manufacturers for the last several years, placing more focus on automation, upgrades, value-added services and consumables rather than on ferrying large presses to the show.  The company will also once again sponsor WhatTheyThink’s popular breakfast talk by Dr. Joe Webb, Director of the Economics & Research Center, and is involved in other special activities around the show. More details will be available from manroland as the show dates get closer. According to Vince Lapinski, CEO of manroland, Inc., “We believe that offset will continue to play an important role in the industry and will coexist with digital.  We plan a presence at the show both to build relationships with printers and to support the industry.

Presstek

Presstek has committed to about 5,000 square feet of show space for Graph Expo, and according to Director of Marketing Communications, Brian Wolfenden, will have an exciting array of products at the show, including the 52DI-AC digital offset press with an inline aqueous coater and a range of CTP systems and chemistry free as well as open platform plates.  It will also be the North American debut of Presstek’s new, larger format 75DI digital offset press.

Graph Expo: Will You Be There?

While there may be less floor space taken up by offset than in previous years, there are plenty of things to see and do at Graph Expo.  Take the time now to do a deep dive assessment of your production platform and workflow.  Where are the gaps?  What are you missing that your customers would like you to do?  Where are the workflow bottlenecks that are costing you time and money?  Armed with this insight, your visit to Graph Expo can be more focused and valuable than ever before.

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Cary Sherburne is a well-known author, journalist and marketing consultant whose practice is focused on marketing communications strategies for the printing and publishing industries.

Cary Sherburne is available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. To get more information contact us.

Please offer your feedback to Cary. She can be reached at cary@whattheythink.com.

 

 

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