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GenXers Are Taking Over Print: Now What?

Who knew that finishing was the primary determiner of print quality among print buyers? But this is the result of The Print Media Center’s “2017 Print Buyer Survey.” Now what?


Do You Have the Right Sales Structure for 2017?

In today’s market, you must align your sales organization with your overall business strategy while also accommodating the changing demands of your customer base. This article discusses options for structuring your sales team to deliver better business results.


Is Customer Experience Really More Important Than Sales?

Is customer experience really more important to marketers than sales? Multiple studies say yes.


Consumer Inflation for 2016 at +2.5%, Giving Fed Reason to Increase Rates

Consumer inflation for 2016 was increasing, with December’s reading +2.5% higher than 2015. December’s rate alone was at a +6.6% annualized rate. The chart shows the monthly comparisons as the blue line and the year-to-year comparisons as the heavier red line.


Preparing Questions for User Conferences – Dscoop 2017

User conferences are an incredible opportunity to load up on learning from the speakers, the vendors, and most importantly your peers. With Dscoop next week, this article covers the importance of the well-formed, thought out questions that can help you get the most out of events by preparing and focusing on your learning goals before you arrive!


Michigan Tech Study: 3D Printing Ready for Prime Time

Study on 3D printing concludes that 3D production is now ready for the mainstream and every home. How does this impact MSPs using or considering using 3D printing as a way to get customers in the door?


Packaging and Labels: Is Technology the Primary Driver for Change?

In his new role as Senior Editor of Packaging and Labels, David will be looking at the demands, technologies and the inflection points that are driving the use and growth of digital packaging and labels. The shift from analog to digital production in this area has already started, with the real growth ahead of us. In this article, David takes a look at the some of the drivers and constraints for migration from conventional to digital processes in packaging and label production. There are more moving parts than you might expect.


First Look at Canon’s Océ ProStream Platform

In this article, David Zwang looks at Canon’s new Océ ProStream series production inkjet offering introduced in advance of Hunkeler Innovationdays 2017. The ProStream is a continuous feed production inkjet system targeting the mid-to-high volume commercial printing market. The device leverages Océ technology from its previous continuous feed systems as well as the its sheetfed Océ VarioPrint i300 and introduces new polymer ink set.


Your Customers Trust You… It’s Time to Think About Data! (Premium Content)

Corporations of all sizes want to use the data that they have to guide marketing efforts in a more effective direction. Today’s businesses see the importance of integrated service providers, and this article explores how to offer your customers the data-driven marketing services that they need.


Hiring a Developer Does Not Get You Good Software

Building good software takes a (small) village of people with distinct skills sets. Don’t try and build software with only a developer, you’ll end up with software that only developers will want to use!


A Game-Changer for eCommerce Packaging

In looking at some of the changing paradigms made possible through new packaging technologies, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne takes a look at one that is emblematic of those changes. Those large boxes with lots of filler that you get when ordering products online are about to get smaller, if CMC Machinery has anything to say about it.


WestRock Affirms Commitment to Paper – January 2017 M&A Activity

one-two punch. noun. A combination of two blows delivered in rapid succession in boxing, especially a left lead followed by a right cross. Informal: an especially forceful or effective combination or sequence of two things…


Even the Digital Media Markets are Changing in The Third Wave (Premium Content)

Sometimes naysayers get it wrong, and Dr. Joe thinks that some of the digital media experts are complaining too much about digital media growth slowing down to “only” 4x GDP. He thinks what they’re seeing are the benefits of marketing automation and a deeper understanding of analytics and ROI that mean dollars are spent more wisely. What does that mean for print? Time to take a new role in a third wave of media change. Are you ready?


Another Great Reason to Use Direct Mail

How direct mail serves a need that digital channels cannot—alerting customers to products and categories they may not be searching for and, in fact, may not even know exist.


Set a Deadline for Print Software Transition (Premium Content)

Retiring software solutions can be overwhelming. Continuing to pay maintenance on legacy software solutions is maddening. Start the process of transition by setting a realistic date – draw the line in the sand, rally your troops around what it takes to get from where you are today to throwing a retirement party for your legacy software.


It’s Time to Get Ready for Generation Z! (Premium Content)

Due to their nontraditional approach to life stages, marketing to Millennials has been a challenge. Despite this ongoing challenge, there’s a whole new game in town with the rise of Generation Z. This article discusses how Gen Zers engage with brands and highlights tactics that marketers can employ as they strive to keep up with this up-and-coming demographic.


17th EFI Connect Brings Together 1,500 Attendees for Learning, Networking, Inspiration

Artificial intelligence, connecting the dots that no one else sees, and print as the igniter … some key learnings from EFI Connect 2017. The WhatTheyThink team was there and captured some great video interviews. In this post, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne shares the highlights that caught her attention.


Packaging and Labels: Is The Next Big Thing Already Here?

In his new role as Senior Editor of Labels and Packaging, David will be looking at the demands, technologies and inflection points that are driving the use and growth of digital packaging and labels. The shift from analog to digital production in this area has already started, with the real growth still ahead of us.


Employment Stalls; Printing Shipments Fall Sharply in December

The national employment data may have had a headline of +227,000 payroll jobs, but the household survey did not indicate the same. Every year, the report released in February includes revisions to the prior year. The press release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics said that employment was “little changed.”


The Top Estimating System Requirements in the Modern MIS

Estimating is a core function of Management Information Systems (MIS). As companies look to update, upgrade and replace estimating systems, it is important for printing companies and suppliers alike to understand changing business requirements. This article cites a recent RIT research study on the desired features of modern estimating systems.


Is Data Part of Your Company Culture?

Is data-driven marketing a fundamental part of what drives your company? If not, your efforts in that area won’t be sustainable or optimally effective. Oracle recently published an article on that topic, and the WhatTheyThink staff has summarized key points as well as providing a link for the white paper download.


Inside EFI's Purchase of Xerox's Digital Front End Portfolio (Premium Content)

Xerox and EFI have further extended their strategic partnership, with Xerox selling its Xerox FreeFlow® Print Server DFE business to EFI. This sale does not include or impact the Xerox workflow solutions that carry a FreeFlow sub-brand name.


It’s 2017… Are You Properly Compensating Your Sales Team? (Premium Content)

The way in which organizations compensate their sales personnel is especially important in 2017 because print service providers are projecting sales force expansion efforts based on improved economic conditions, expansion of service offerings, and an increase in customer communications budgets. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore how sales personnel should be compensated.


Top 3 Mistakes with Print Software Strategy (Premium Content)

Your print software strategy is your responsibility. It requires strategic thinking to both define the challenges and the results you want to create (vision). Don’t make the common mistakes with your print software strategy.


Which Wins the CTA Effectiveness Battle? Direct Mail or Email? Case Study Tells the Tale

Data Services Inc. has published a case study with the side-by-side results of a test on the effectiveness of CTAs use in direct mail and email in the same campaign. The big winner? Direct mail.


Product Spotlight: KODAK PRINERGY Workflow Software 8

There are two major workflows that a job travels through in your print business. The production workflow which results in a printed product and the business workflow which results in an accurate invoice. The job must travel through both workflows; often in parallel and frequently requires some collaboration and/or communication between the workflows to reach both desired results - high-quality print product(s) delivered on-time and an error free invoice.


Top 10 Best New Business Opportunities (Premium Content)

The next big communication disruption is upon us. There are many ways print businesses should respond, but focusing on specialty items is one way. This article cites IPMA and WhatTheyThink research to explore opportunities in-plants and commercial printing establishments are seeing in 2017.


Packaging Helped to Drive Sell-Out Attendance at EFI Connect 2017

Packaging is now a significant part of the EFI platform, and the subject got its fair share of attention at the 17th edition of the company’s annual customer-education event.


4Q-2016 GDP Slows to +1.9%, +0.9% Less Inventory Build-Up

The fourth quarter of 2016 ended quiently, with a growth rate of +1.9% compared to the third quarter. That brought 2016 to an overall growth rate of +1.6%.


You Need to Build the Right Salesforce in 2017!

Since so many firms in the graphic communication industry are following outdated staffing practices, they are ill-suited to meet today’s new challenges. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore how business owners can staff themselves for success in 2017.


Real GDP for Six Presidential Administrations

A new administration is in Washington, so we created a chart that looks back at general economic conditions of the prior six administrations.


Long-Term and Short-Term Print Software Priorities (Premium Content)

Your business should be run by your print software systems; your people should run the systems. These print software systems require attention for both short-term initiatives and long-term strategy.


NYC’s Duggal Visual Solutions Finds “the Final Piece of the Puzzle” in a New Digital Press

There’s very little in the way of graphic output that this omnifaceted imaging emporium can’t offer its customers—and now, with the addition of an HP Indigo 12000 digital press, probably nothing at all.


Pop Quiz: What Would Have Made This QR Code Use Better?

We take a look at a good use of QR Codes that could have been done better. Images are provided, along with a challenge for readers to see what they might have done differently.


EFI Reinforces Its Commitment to Inkjet at Connect 2017

Last week’s EFI Connect in Las Vegas saw some new product rollouts, status reports on recent product introductions, and an alternately lighthearted and frightening look at artificial intelligence.


We lost Derek Kyte and Lucien De Schamphelaere

A Rememberance by Frank Romano


Economic Data Close the Books and Open a New One (Premium Content)

The torch passes from one administration to another. How should the new administration be judged for its economics? The economy has a lot of ground to make up and population demographics make its urgency all the greater. The louder one complains on the campaign trail, the more responsible you have to be. What's the real story behind the complaints about trade fairness? It may not be about trade at all, but about what happens after the deal is done.


Technologies to Watch in 2017: Augmented Reality (Premium Content)

Due to its ever-increasing acceptance and popularity, augmented reality (AR) is a technology that print service providers need to understand. This article explores the significant value that print service providers can deliver with this up-and-coming technology.


Finding a Niche with Your Print Business (Premium Content)

Finding a niche for your print business (a target market with specific pain points) is not about aiming small, it’s about FOCUS and EXECUTION to build a repeatable product offering and to dive deeper into learning about your customer’s problems.


An Inside Look at Thomson Reuters Core Publishing Solutions

At Thomson Reuters Core Publishing Solutions, the focus on lean manufacturing is core to its business. WhatTheyThink recently visited the company’s Eagan MN facility to learn more about the operation. Read the full story.


Dimensional Mail and Influencer Marketing: 2017 Dynamic Duo

This post looks at the importance of influencer marketing and the role dimensional mailings can play in supporting it. Encourages MSPs to help their customers develop targeting techniques to help their customers get products into the hands of key influencers using dimensional mail.


Board Meetings: 2017’s Flatbed Printer Roundup

Our annual rundown of the current flatbed wide-format printer landscape.


2017: A Focus on Marketing Attribution (Premium Content)

The digital revolution has put the marketing landscape in a state of flux, making exact attribution highly complex. Nevertheless, attribution is critical because it can provide clear and accurate insights into how, when, and where marketing efforts affect customer actions across devices and channels. This article sites recent InfoTrends research to explore how marketers can leverage data to optimize their marketing mix.


Small Business Index Rockets Up to Mid-2000s Level

The NFIB's small business index came in at 105.8. It has had two months near-vertical increase, now at levels not seen since December 2004 when it was 106.1. It's sheer optimism that small business concerns about taxes, regulation, and the economy will improve. There are many reports about improved confidence, especially among consumers, but it seems like it's too much too soon. While the new administration might be able to provide some regulatory relief in its early days, most of its desired actions require acts of Congress. Those can sometimes take forever... or longer.


EFI Connect 2017 Educational Sessions with Jennifer Matt

User group meetings create a space for you to find peers for collaboration. Use these meetings to find your people. Do not proceed in these disruptive market conditions on your own! I invite you to attend the sessions. For those of you who are not planning to attend, I want to provide you with some of the key learnings that will be delivered.


US Commercial Printing Industry Employment Finishes -2.5%; Consolidation Effects Evident

The US commercial printing industry finished the year with 439,900 employees, down -11,200 compared to 2015. The number of production employees was down -3,100, a -1.0% decrease. Non-production employees represented the biggest change, down -8,400 (-6.0%).


INKredible Insight: Packaging Is Part of the “Omni” in “Omnichannel”

It wasn’t the sole focus of the event, but packaging was well represented in INKredible’s salute to print’s place at the table in the omnichannel environment.


They’re Back… (Buyers of Commercial Printers) – December 2016 M&A Activity

Australian packaging company Orora stakes out US position in retail display, acquiring The Register Group, ICV Partners buys out SG360° ESOP, Cimpress acquires National Pen, Moore DM buys PS/PS Digital and more.


Rolling Out the New Year - Rundown of Rollfed Wide-Format Systems

As we plunge headlong into 2017, let’s kick off the year, as we traditionally do, with a look at the current roll-to-roll printer landscape. Next week, we’ll look at flatbed printers.


Recovery Indicators January 2017

With the Dow Jones and S&P 500 at all-time inflation-adjusted highs. The recovery indicators are stronger than they have been in a while, with very bullish increases in new orders for manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors, and a strong reading of the NASDAQ stock index.


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