This article contains a young professional’s perspective on how to find a successful career in graphic communications. While it is directed at students, it is also an excellent piece that teachers and professors can use to inspire their students, and that parents can also use with their kids.
There is no magic innovation button, there is a boring execution button that can differentiate your business. Consistent execution on complex tasks is a path to profitability – checklists are a key tool to help you get there.
Today, Idealliance announced a new program – BrandQ, designed to provide brands with the proper tools and language to better manage print quality across complex supply chains. What is not addressed in the press release is what that means for packaging converters and suppliers to the industry. We spoke with Idealliance Vice President, Global Print Technologies & Workflows, Tim Baechle to find out more.
It’s an interesting time at the Fed, especially when Dr. Yellen’s turn is expiring and one of Dr. Joe’s favorite candidates is in the running. There’s a lot of claims about jobless claims, and the claims are not really what they’re claiming. Labels and wrappers? That’s a tiny niche market in the big printing industry. Now 1 in 8 commercial printing dollars are in that specialty.
The first-ever Xeikon Café North America drew a larger-than-expected audience. Xeikon has been using this platform as a gathering point for its customers and prospects at its European headquarters for the last several years. The success of the event prompted Xeikon to launch a North American version, which the company reported would be convened on an annual basis moving forward.
The third annual thINK 2017 event took place during October 9 – 11 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. The sold out event was the largest thINK conference yet. This article outlines the key highlights and speakers at the show.
Phoenix-based Techniprint needed to adjust its business to account for a growing trend to digitally distribute document sets for architectural and construction projects rather than printing a large number of copies of these sets. Adding two HP PageWide XL 8000 wide format printers to its business resulted in a 25% increase in revenues in the first six months.
The interest in Augmented Reality has grown, especially with recent attention paid to the technology by Apple, Google, Snap and others. But there is also a great deal of confusion about Augmented Reality – what is it, really? How is it different from other technologies like QR codes? What is the relevance to print? Read more.
This year’s LabelExpo event in Brussels was so much more than a trade show that gave vendors a chance to meet customers and impress prospects. This article provides a brief overview of the event, which invited attendees to “Gain an Unfair Advantage.”
Many in the industry were surprised by this week’s announcement by SGIA and NAPCO about the launch of a reinvented SGIA Expo called PRINT United, designed to draw in more segments of the print market, including commercial print, publishing, 3D printing and more. I had a long conversation with Thayer Long of NPES, the organizers of two longstanding events, PRINT and GRAPH EXPO, to understand the organization’s reaction. Long was kind enough to provide a statement.
Everyone is talking about workflow automation; this article is about our attachment to artifacts of common print workflows. We have failed to upgrade our thinking beyond the “page” metaphor for sharing information and gaining agreement.
New Orleans may have dodged a bullet when Tropical Storm Nate veered to the east, but strong winds of change were nonetheless buffeting the Ernest Morial Convention Center, as 2017’s SGIA Expo opened on Tuesday with the surprising—some even thought shocking—news that the long-beloved Expo was undergoing a major change.
Digital inkjet is driving promotional products—aka ad specialties—from mass-market to short-run personalized production. These items ared used to promote a product, service or company program, including advertising specialties, premiums, incentives, business gifts, awards, prizes, commemoratives, and other imprinted or decorated items—is a market highly dependent upon print.
The hurricanes affected not just the lives of the people who experienced them, but also affected basic economic data. And yes, you can be employed and unemployed at the same exact time, in the same exact government department. The data seem strange, but the long term trends stayed the same. That’s why we call them long term trends. And August’s printing shipments? Don’t ask! There’s a video from a distinguished leader that’s worth seeing… and worth pondering… about print as a medium and you as a business.
Barry-Wehmiller consolidates ancillary print equipment sector in a robust deal environment for all things print; makers of equipment, manufacturers of materials and distributors of supplies are in demand; a look-back at the past year; and more
Inflation and population changes often distort the analysis of economic trends. This chart shows the changing nature of retail sales on a per capita (per person) and inflation-adjusted (using the Consumer Price Index) basis by the percentage change compared to the same period of the prior year.
This past July, the Paper and Packaging Board launched its 15 Pages a Day Challenge, which encourages everyone to commit to reading 15 pages each day. This article cites recent research to highlight the benefits of reading on paper and also provides information on the challenge.
This executive report is based on the latest results of the WhatTheyThink print executive survey. It details the state of the industry at mid-2017 and looks ahead to what can be expected, economically and technologically, as we head toward 2018. The foundation of the report is the WhatTheyThink Printing Industry Survey of June 2017. This survey of more than 300 industry executives gauged their current business conditions, top business challenges, and planned investments for 2018. They also described how the volume for offset, color digital, black-and-white digital, and wide-format printing, as well as non-print-based services has changed.
Are you interrupting a lot of people to find the few who are in need of your products and services? Or are you working very hard to be found by the customers that are actively seeking out your services?
Yesterday, EFI announced the acquisition of Escada Systems, a provider of Corrugator Control Systems for the packaging market. The UK company adds another puzzle piece to EFI’s growing ecosystem for corrugated, with its earlier acquisition of CTI (ERP) and development of Nozomi (direct-to-corrugated printer). We spoke with Nick Benkovich to get the inside story.
It seems like we just finished with drupa 2016, yet Labelexpo Europe 2017 appeared to be a subset extension of that event. Everyone in Label production on any level from around the globe was there, showing and looking at the latest products and trends. It is a very exciting time, with a very promising future for label production. In part one of this two-part series, we look at some of the major trends and product announcements at the show.
What Millennial in their right mind would seriously consider a career in the printing industry? There seems to be no place to hide from the preconceived notion of print being an outdated media that’s run by old-school companies who are going downhill. As a 26 year old who has been involved in print since 16, I have experienced my share of career scrutiny everywhere from family gatherings to young professional networking events.
A good sales management plan can help you develop a high-performance team that delivers consistent performance. By developing an understanding of what you need and your current team’s capabilities with today’s new selling approaches, you can hire the right people, onboard them successfully, and give them the support they need to be effective. This article outlines InfoTrends’ 7-step process for developing and implementing a sales management plan.
What do the failed launch of the McDonald’s crab cake sandwich and databases have in common? If you don’t know your audience, it doesn’t matter what you’re marketing or the tools you use to do it. It’s going to be an epic fail.
HP and others introduced a new range of inkjet corrugated printing presses at drupa 2016. Many of them were improvements and advancements on existing multi-pass machines, but a few, including the EFI Nozomi and the HP PageWide C500, offered unique single-pass inkjet mainstream production solutions. These new machines open up a wide range of new opportunities for using corrugated in mainstream packaging. However, the HP PageWide C500 may be the only solution at this point that can bring this to primary ‘food safe’ packaging.
There are many “common wisdom” assumptions in the industry. One that refuses to die relates to print volume being related to GDP. The data are very clear; it’s technology that plays a bigger factor than macroeconomics. The other is that the effects of digital media will come to an end or will slow down. That one is obviously false; Moore’s Law may not be what it used to be, but we see how technology gets faster, cheaper, and more convenient every day. Bad assumptions lead to bad strategy, lead to dismissing opportunities that should be pursued, and reduce the urgency to act. Don’t let that happen to you or your business.
More than 60 journalists from around the globe gathered in Würzburg, Germany, at KBA headquarters to begin celebrating with the company its 200th anniversary. The event theme is 200 years: Future needs an Origin. It was a unique experience and total pleasure to be part of this historic event, which included a factory tour and a formal gala at the local convention center. Read more.
Companies are making it easy to combine direct mail with Facebook, so here’s why it matters. This post takes a closer look at DirectMail 2.0, which combines direct mail advertising with call and mail tracking, as well as ad retargeting through the Google network and Facebook.
Although we all know that “great service” tends to be referenced in many company value propositions, it really does little to help a business stand out. Market leaders are now focusing on the customer experience, and this article explores how an engaged customer experience can become an effective competitive advantage.
What can your customers do online with your print business? How easy is it for your customers to do business with you? Are you asking your customers to use their precious time because your ordering process is inefficient and not available online?
At drupa 2012, Benny Landa introduced a new inkjet printing technology to excited crowds with great fanfare. Now five years later, the first Landa Press is installed and there are two more right behind it, as well as a waiting list. David Zwang was one of about 100 people, mostly potential customers, from around the globe to visit with Landa at his facilities in Rehovot, Israel, to get a closer look at the man, his vision, and the machines.
The old adage goes: Those who do not know history are destined to repeat it. As we look at the adoption of high-speed inkjet, both the technology and the applications, are we seeing history unfold ... again?
Who didn’t envy or aspire to become a big, high profile printing business? The print business has been turned on its head, where small and medium businesses are outperforming their much bigger counterparts. The latter are still dealing with the relevance of legacy processes and assets while trying to bring new focus to rich digital media interactions to static formats like print. There’s no doubt: The Third Wave is being released at a pivotal moment. While the industry is churning, there are warning signs in the economy and for content creation markets. Dr. Joe is getting that 2008 feeling: he doesn’t like it.
Today EFI announced a new Fiery platform. The company reports that digital front ends (DFEs) based on the EFI Fiery FS300 Pro platform will drive presses across sheetfed, high-speed continuous feed, B1 folding carton, and corrugated digital production systems. This is perhaps the most aggressive Fiery release in some time and is being described as the platform for the next decade.
The recovery indicators (when we started these we thought they’d be around for about a year or so) had four of its six factors turn negative, with one of those falling back to its recession level of December 2007. Yes, that’s when the recession started. That long ago.
Are you ready to think about how your operation can start taking advantage of the cloud? It’s an inevitable evolution as everyone seeks to produce higher quality, push through higher volumes, and manage more workflows using the same staffing and resources.
What is the current state of marketing? A just-released survey from Salesforce provides insights into digital channel growth, along with the current state of integration. The takeaway for MSPs? If you haven’t invested in marketing automation, it’s time to take a closer look.
Many historians agree that there have been three industrial revolutions to date, but interconnected digital technology might be triggering the fourth. Print 2017 is nearly upon us, and the concept of “Industry 4.0” will likely be a major theme at the event. This article discusses some of the Print 2017 advancements that are expected to change how print is manufactured, what service providers produce, and who print service providers will become as they transform their businesses to better align with digital technologies.
Leadership is about embracing change as an iterative process of improving upon how your business operates. In modern times that equates to getting software to do more work for your business so your human labor can focus on higher-value activities.
We’re in another wave of media change, the first with the consumer Internet, the second with social media, tablets, and smartphones, and now a third with an infrastructure built for heavy volume and high speed. Through two waves, there were printers who got out ahead with savvy judgment that went against the common wisdom and blazed their own paths of market engagement and abandoned industry practice. This third wave is already more intense, as printing shipments in the last six months are down more than -7%. Success in this third wave demands a new philosophy, a different understanding of capital, and a new assessment of risk. Dr. Joe offers The Third Wave, a new book, that addresses these issues.
With Informed Delivery, the USPS has created a platform to promote consumer engagement with physical mail before it arrives, adding new value for marketers and recipients alike. According to recent research from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends, the initial perceptions about Informed Delivery are encouraging for the USPS.
Print is an artifact of a business process/workflow. You should get very curious about the overall workflow so that you can provide more value than just the print. This is the path to embedding your services with a customer and increasing the areas where you can add value.
Last week, Zwang and Sherburne joined a small group at Memjet headquarters in San Diego for an exclusive preview of the company’s new pigment-based DuraLink ink, inkjet printheads, and modules, together with an overview of the company’s strategy moving forward. They provide insight into what this announcement means for Memjet and for the industry.
Want to help your customers improve their direct mail marketing? Help them market on Facebook. Here’s how you can use insights from Facebook’s business pages to introduce your clients to demographic targeting — for free — and enable them to reap the benefits.
We’re mercifully more than halfway through 2017. How is the industry faring thus far compared to last year? Our new Economics and Research Center report looks at the latest economic, technological, and cultural trends affecting the industry.
Printers may not yet be fully comfortable with social media marketing, but it’s critical that they understand the basics. Here are the primary conclusions of “2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report” just released by the Social Media Examiner to help in that effort.
A number of today’s commercially available digital printing solutions have added units beyond four-color, either inline or offline, to enable special effects that enhance digital print. Unique imaging capabilities can transform printed materials from commodity, price-sensitive offerings to higher-value products that command a premium. This article explores how special effects can enhance the value of print and create new growth opportunities for service providers.
A manual, labor intensive workflow makes your print business inefficient – that is obvious. The hidden impact of manual workflows is the impact it might be having on your customer services team’s growth mindset.
As we ramp up to Print 17, three lessons from trees felled in a ferocious storm provide business lessons we can all learn from. Strength of foundation, flexibility, and integrity keep your “tree” upright under changing and challenging business conditions.
Last month, the PIA Alliance hosted a “Digital Think Tank” in New York City that brought together 150 equipment manufacturers, their customers, and other printers to talk about the latest technology and trends in digital printing and the industry in general. Here are the highlights.
According to InfoTrends’ research, high-performance print sales organizations follow clearly-defined sales strategies, hold their sales staff accountable, and continually adapt their organizations to keep pace with ever-changing market conditions. This article is the second in a two-part series highlighting the 10 common best practices reported by survey respondents that experienced double-digit sales growth in the past 12 months.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis released the Q2-2017 GDP data and revisions to historical data beginning with 2014. Back in mid-May, the Commerce Department updated historical commercial printing shipments (NAICS 323) as part of its manufacturing shipments revisions. This week’s chart shows an updated view of both data series in current dollars (sometimes called “nominal;” both terms mean that data are not adjusted for inflation). The red line is year-to-year growth rate in GDP, and the blue line is year-to-year change in quarterly shipments. Since around 1997 printing shipments have not met GDP growth except for a moment between 2010 and 2015. The most recent printing shipments trend at the right of the chart are remarkable for their direction. A discussion of the GDP revisions and the current status of printing shipments can be found in the column of August 7.
People buy workflows; therefore sales is a discovery process that reveals the challenges in their workflows that you might be in a position to solve. You have to ask more question and make fewer assumptions.
At drupa 2016, Shutterfly placed an order for 25 HP Indigo 12000 digital presses, with an aggressive installation plan over the summer to be ready for the company’s peak season. Now Shutterfly has added another phase of HP Indigo 12000s to the mix. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Shutterfly to get the details.
You can’t protect an iPod in a digital box and you can’t replace vehicle wraps with email. Sure, there is some encroachment of digital technologies on the sign and banner industry, but there are limits based on the role that these products play. This article looks at some of the statistics on the current state of these two industries.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne tuned into Kodak’s Second Quarter Earnings Call to get an update on Kodak’s strategy. There were some surprises in the call, and more detail about strategic initiatives moving forward.
Time and again, we have seen non-traditional competitors storm a market to the detriment of the establishment. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne came across a fascinating story that could be a bellwether indication of trouble ahead for the textbook industry.
According to InfoTrends’ research, high-performance print sales organizations follow clearly-defined sales strategies, hold their sales staff accountable, and continually adapt their organizations to keep pace with ever-changing market conditions. This article is the first in a two-part series highlighting the 10 common best practices reported by survey respondents that experienced double-digit sales growth in the past 12 months.
We train on presses, we engage with the press vendors. We make sure operators are competent – why don’t we do the same for software solutions (especially Print MIS, production workflow, and web-to-print)?
July 2017 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries. LSC Communications rebuilds diversified publication services; Quark transforms; DG3 acquires UK printer Leycol; Multi-Color goes all-in with deal for Constantia Labels; and more…
Catalogs and direct mail can help overcome the ‘digital fatigue’ that many consumers are experiencing today. Our customers are frequently telling us that when done right -- personalized and relevant to each recipient – it is the printed piece, especially when married with other media, that helps marketers boost response rates.
What is OEE and why should you care? How does this metric – Overall Equipment Effectiveness – play in the world of digital printing? Those are questions addressed in a new report from jzarwanpartners. We’ve got a summary of findings for you!
Revisions to GDP last month showed a slower economy in 2016 and a better one in 2014 and 2015. That’s fine – but we have to make decisions today, not three years ago. Do changes to economic data really matter? They do, but perhaps not the way you think. The stock market is up and setting records, so the economy must be great! A different metric says otherwise. Economic data: it’s a strange place. And commercial printing shipments? Pass the ibuprofen, please.
Jennifer Matt talks with Peter Gunning, CEO of Grafenia about how owning the creative relationship has moved from print to the website - our industry needs to evolve with that change. Grafenia's Nettl brand provides print service providers the tools they need to compete in the digital world.
Life stage targeting takes advantage of a powerful truth in consumer marketing—for the most part, consumers are creatures of habit, and the times they are most likely to make major purchases is during times of transition. Understanding and tapping into those transitional times is where life stage marketing comes in.
Companies within in the printing industry have historically had a manufacturing mentality—they subscribe to the labor theory of value, which states that the value of a service is determined by the amount of labor that goes into production. Now, thousands of firms in a variety of industries are pricing their services according to the external value created—as perceived and determined by the client—rather than the internal costs incurred in generating services. This article explores the concept of value-based pricing and highlights some real-world examples of companies that are embracing this strategy.
Successful print companies have always been re-investing in their business to remain competitors. Up until now, that investment centered around production equipment and systems. Technology in the form of software will be a primary differentiator moving forward.
Management Information Systems (MIS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions in the printing industry have the reputation of being inconsistent and extremely diverse. We led a recent study for PRIMIR to explore the typical features of MIS/ERP solutions purchased and to what extent they have been implemented and integrated into print shop workflows. The result provides insight for both commercial printers and MIS/ERP vendors into which capabilities are most important, what their shortcomings are and improvements that can be made.
Having a list of addresses simply isn’t enough in this modern age. Modern marketers are obligated to create an easy path to purchase, especially in an age where brick-and-mortar stores must compete with easy online purchases. This article explores how Geoservices tools can guide people to products by defining clear targeted areas for marketing campaigns.
Software is the toolset that enables you to solve the business challenges required to win the print that results from them. Your sales process is going to look like software as the main dish with print as a side dish.
Digital embellishment was a hot topic at drupa 2016, and more companies are entering the fray. We came across JetFX at an event earlier this year and were intrigued by their approach. Read more about JetFX approach to foiling, spot varnishing, embossing, and high end digital holograms.
When personalizing marketing communications, it’s easy to default to demographic targeting, which tends to be straightforward and easy to understand. But lifestyle targeting crosses demographic lines and offers new levels of opportunity that can be explored.
What’s new? You should say “print,” because so many of the media decision-makers have not had noteworthy experiences with the medium. Selling what you know can actually be dangerous, because you need to know what your client and prospect know, first. Only then can you have a chance at relevance. Print is actually a baby, and reference to its glorious past diminishes the many new offerings and tactics that can involve printed materials and specialties in meeting the challenges and objectives of communicators.
Print service providers that are currently supporting the customer communications outsourcing market are taking a number of approaches when it comes to navigating from a print-focused core competency to true omni-channel offerings. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore how providers are reacting to declining volumes and evolving customer needs.
Every person in your business solves challenges every day with the tools they have at their disposal and the tools they are comfortable deploying. There is a rich set of intellectual property buried there which can be retrieved by listening and understanding how humans looks for ways to build trusted systems.
When it comes to targeting customers, most marketers think about demographic data, such as age, income, gender, and lifestyle. A recent white paper from AccuData lists some less common demographics that may be easily overlooked but that can add a richer dimension to your marketing.
In this article, Sean Smyth – Print Consultant with Smithers Pira examines the results of a new report that looks at the growth of Digital Print for Packaging to 2022. This report breaks down the projected growth by packaging application, and shows some surprising results.
Helping customers navigate complex and constantly changing postal regulations has historically been a vital value-added service for commercial printers. The various rules and regulations regarding signage today provide an opportunity for sign printers.
Savvy service providers are merging online and offline technologies to compound the effectiveness of their campaigns. This article discusses how IP targeting is being used to add value to today’s direct mail campaigns.
According to the USPS, consumers’ “mail behavior” generally falls into one of four categories: sorters, scanners, weak habits, or skimmers. Each category has a different generational makeup, and it may not be what you expect. Knowing what category your customers tend to fall into can help you develop mail that resonates.
Evaluating software is not a math problem, please don’t count the number of features and award the deal to the highest score. Print software must solve your challenges, in the order of importance to your business.
Hearst, Gatehouse, Lee, Ogden, Phillips and Adams stir up the local newspaper business; Sandy Alexander acquires Designers’ Press; tuck-ins abound and more in the June 2017 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries.
The economy is sluggish on the positive side, and it would be grand if commercial printing would be the same. Recent printing shipments trends are a concern as the industry continues to reshape itself in response to a dynamic communications marketplace that is seems to re-create itself daily. One Midwest printer lands a big contract for signage… but of the kind that a third wave of media change mandates.
The Fed has been so reticent about raising rates, and in the process, rates for the 10-year US Treasury actually were negative in February. No, that’s not market rates, that’s the 10-year rate less the year-to-year Consumer Price Index. Since that time, the rate calculated in this manner has moved up 80 basis points. The rate peaked in September 2015 and it’s been down since then. The Fed is having problems making the decision to raise rates, and often announced more rates in a future period but increasing rates at a slower pace. They have a target inflation rate of 2% (which means you lose about 25% of your savings over 10 years on a compounded basis). If you believe that the inflation rate is calculated in a manner that makes it seem lower than it actually is, then the Fed’s desire to see inflation at the 2% rate before they start pushing interest rates higher may be be difficult to reach or sustain. That means long term rates will stay artificially low (on purpose) for a longer period of time than most experts expect.
85% of people will open mail if it “looks interesting.” But what makes mail “interesting”? While we tend to talk about the elements of direct mail in isolation, the reality is, it’s not one element or the other—but a combination of elements whose results are multiplicative rather than additive—that make mail interesting. It’s important to get that combination right.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently spoke with Xerox executive Jacob Aizikowitz about his new role as head of the new Xerox Software Products Group to learn more about how the new Xerox is bringing together its diverse software development efforts.
A number of very large and profitable companies got their start by focusing on specific market segments, and the same is true for some service providers. Aiming your marketing efforts at a target market can offer a number of benefits. This article focuses on those benefits and outlines the steps that print service providers should take to get started with a targeted marketing approach.
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.