In this article, David looks at the role of Hybrid Press Solutions to bridge the gap between conventional and digital label production, and even a takes a glance at what these types of solutions mean for other types of packaging.
Friday’s unemployment report of 4.5% showed a thriving, healthy labor market in an economy bursting with growth. Not so fast… the cross-currents of the economy are quite different depending where you are, especially in the suffering retail markets. Media technology changes are letting communicators switch from gas guzzlers to more finely tuned approaches that squeeze budgets but offer similar results. There are print businesses thriving in this chaos, and Dr. Joe explains why even they have to remain vigilant and proactive.
Marketers face the challenge of getting their messages out in a way that cuts through this clutter and encourages desired behaviors in recipients. This article discusses how today’s marketers are increasingly leveraging statements and other transactional documents as a marketing platform, and how these documents are becoming a more integral part of the overall customer experience.
This article looks at the missed opportunities of a data-driven mailer created by a top brand and encourages readers to ensure that their own clients use data in a way that is effective rather than simply elevating the cost of a piece unnecessarily.
I wish you could just buy the right print software product and it would make you successful. You can’t. Success with software takes your execution. Software doesn’t implement itself, vendors can’t implement it without your active involvement.
This is a follow-up to my July 2016 White Paper entitled, “A Case Study of Patent Abuse: Printing Industry Faces New Nemesis Impacting Growth and Employment—Patent Trolls.” This article reviews the outcome of the previous cases and presents a “heads-up” regarding two new plaintiffs: Shipping & Transit LLC and the Freeny Brothers. It also introduces two “Printing Industry Heroes Among Us,” inventor Joyce Vogt and Intellectual Property attorney Nate St. Clair II.
The new Xerox® has been very busy lately. In addition to its largest ever product launch of 29 workplace printing devices last week, today the company introduced a new line of Versant® presses to replace the existing models, with many new features that exceed the competition’s current offerings and complement the growing line of Xerox production print engines.
When adding QR Codes to printed materials, it’s critical to understand where they are being placed (and whether they are even scannable) as much as it is why they are being used and the content to which viewers are being driven. Examples of where not to place QR Codes if you want people to scan them.
ISA Sign Expo 2017 is back in Vegas, with four days of educational sessions, a packed exhibition hall, and some brand-new partnerships and colocations, including the Collaboration in Packaging Production (CPP) Expo.
Data is the future. The emergence of combined business intelligence and analytics platforms has fueled what Gartner calls “the democratization of analytics,” under which “every business process becomes an analytics process and every user is an analytics user.” Nowhere is this change more evident than in marketing organizations where analytical expertise is a skill that all marketers must increasingly embrace.
Yes, that sounds boring, but the data have been made interesting by including details about the last forty years or so of industry history and technological change. We added some statistical forecasts from our models that take the data out to 2025. When we started this chart almost ten years ago, those outlying years were near zero. They’re not any more (whew!). The data are inflation adjusted and based on the population data and forecasts of the US Census Bureau. It’s interesting how there are periods of relative stability, a change, followed by another period of stability. Technological change has been a much bigger factor affecting consumption than general economic conditions.
On a recent visit to Switzerland, I had the opportunity to spend time with Antoine Preisig, General Manager EMEA for X-Rite Pantone. Preisig joined X-Rite a year ago with a diverse background in the dental, IT and consumer electronics industries. He shared his thoughts on how Industry 4.0 is changing the world – and our industry.
Industry profits for 2016 were higher than 2015, but big printers were not riding high, they were writing down. Big used to mean big, but now small and medium are the rage as the changing nature of print demand makes the theme of short-run specialties for long-term profitability a big idea. And then there’s capital investment that makes all that possible. Its rebound continues in a manner that reflects a different industry. Is the post-election business enthusiasm a bubble about to burst? Dr. Joe explains.
Finding salespeople who are capable of consistently hitting or surpassing their sales targets can be the difference between success and failure for a print/marketing service provider. Arnold Printing recently retooled its sales team, and this article explores the steps that the company took and the challenges it faced along the way.
Advertising agency revenues are having a slow rebound from their pullback in 2015. Publisher revenues are still having problems as ad pages and circulation are contracting. Clearly, agencies are finding other areas to garner revenues, especially in managing digital initiatives. Mobile communications are where their latest opportunities are, especially with website redesigns, creating the look and feel of content marketing for their clients, and assisting clients as they sort through the analytics that marketing automation offers.
Selling print online requires knowledge of how to both accept artwork and deliver print assets to the manufacturing facility. Generic ecommerce firms don’t understand this which can cause printers to spend their time and money educating resources about what makes print ecommerce unique.
Leveraging inkjet technology into the textile industry is presenting an increasingly compelling opportunity for mainstream print equipment and consumable suppliers, according to the latest research from Smithers Pira.
It’s a famous example of a large public company that defied gravity - Trans World Airlines (also known as TWA for those of us old enough to remember the brand) famously posted ten consecutive money-losing years and continued to operate, essentially living off capital generated from its once successful legacy enterprise. No small company could ever lose money and survive for an extended period measured in decades!
With the advent of data-driven marketing, print providers with agency services are uncovering opportunities in strategy, creative, programming, and content development when it comes to enhancing relevance and results for clients.
Although data-driven marketing is becoming more widely used, it is still in its infancy. This article explores how print providers with agency services are embracing data-driven marketing skills to gain a strategic advantage.
Mistakes are part of our lives and our businesses. Nobody likes to make them, how you react to your mistakes dictates what kind of business culture you’ll create. Software changes are an excellent environment to create a learning culture and avoid a fear based culture.
One constant amidst the turmoil and transformation of Kodak in recent years has been the company’s intense focus on R&D for its flexographic printing technologies. To hear Chris Payne tell it, concentrating on flexo has yielded some of Kodak’s biggest strategic dividends in the aftermath of its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2013.
It’s been more than two decades since the first flurry of web-to-print solutions hit the market in the midst of the 1990’s dot-com boom, and these solutions have continued to evolve. Today, the next generation of web-to-print solutions are gaining steam as pure-play cloud-based solutions that provide the Uber- or Amazon-like experience consumers expect today. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne delves into experiences of forward-looking firms who have adopted these next-generation solutions.
“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” is the way the saying goes, and claiming some credit for a good job report on Friday was probably not wise. That old political rule of claiming credit for what happens on your watch though not caused by you has the underside of getting the blame for what you did not do. An important GDP forecast shows a very weak Q1, and the content creation businesses of advertising and design had declines in employment. Perhaps some weak economic conditions are what’s needed to get the Beltway’s priorities into the right order.
Jerry Kennelly started his print career in a sweat shop run by his parents in their basement. When a wall in your house has to be removed to get the press downstairs, you know you might be working the 3rd shift someday. Jerry is an entrepreneur, founder of Stockbyte, Tweak and the Junior Entrepreneur Programme in Ireland. In this podcast we talk about what Jerry has learned and how passionate he is about both the impact and value of print in our digital world.
As the saying goes, if you want to know the truth, follow the money. That’s why Target Marketing takes a look at marketers’ spending trends every year. We can talk all we want about what we think is up and what’s down, but the reality shows up in the numbers.
At yesterday’s Canon One event in Boca Raton, Canon Solutions America officially launched the Colorado 1640, the first model in the company’s new line of roll-to-roll wide-format printers based on the revolutionary new UVgel ink technology.
Data enrichment (also known as data appending) is the process of finding and adding missing or inaccurate attributes in existing data contact lists. This article explores how print service providers can leverage data enrichment services to bring differentiated value-add to clients.
Deluxe goes mobile as strategic plan unfolds, VC fund invests in photo book printer (and brilliant marketer of print services) Chatbooks, the market for retail display and point-of-purchase printers heats up as Orora continues acquisition spree, and more…
Step back and regroup. Stop looking at features and focus on the overall business objectives of your software solutions. All of us (vendors and printers) need to get out of the feature focus so we can make better software decisions AND make the software we have work better for us in spite of the lacking features.
The shift from analog to digital production in this area has already started, with the real growth ahead of us. This offers some perspective on the transition from conventional production to digital production in the label business. While there is significant forward movement in digital, and for the right reasons, it still represents only a small fraction of the total production mix.
For many people, color management is like the weather. Everyone talks about it, but no one ever does anything about it. But new machines with new ink sets are turning what was always a tricky issue into an even trickier one.
Many of today’s print service providers under-invest in their sales efforts, placing a greater concentration on daily production, mailing, shipping, and distribution. The sales process often becomes an afterthought, but it deserves more attention. This article explores how implementing strong sales managers and sales management processes can deliver double-digit business results.
When both parties in the print software sales process make assumptions, poor decisions are made. Money is wasted. Time is squandered. Replace assumptions with clarifying questions so you come to a common understanding of the truth.
What makes for a great print job? Members of an industry discussion group share their insights, both from a client and printer perspective. What can What They Think members add to the discussion? Every now and then, a printing discussion explodes in the public sphere. When that happens, it’s too good not to share. Most recently, this occurred in the LinkedIn Print Production Professionals group. While the overwhelming majority of LinkedIn discussions get no comments and even the most active are lucky to get half a dozen, this discussion generated 66 comments in less than two weeks!
It’s not just digital printing technology that is affecting packaging, The way that we are packaging is changing as well. For example, have you noticed how many different kinds of food and beverage items are now available in non-rigid containers? Advances in materials and processes for high-barrier pouches mean that wine (for example) no longer has to come only in bottles.
As interest in industrial printing gains momentum, the inaugural InPrint USA Industrial Print Show will take place in Orlando in April. We spoke with SGIA President and CEO Ford Bowers about industrial printing in general and the upcoming show in particular.
Dr. Joe wonders what’s happening to sales? The number of sales people in the economy is declining, and they’ve been essentially replaced by computers and server farms. All those sales call reports have been replaced by analytics. All that T&A expense became electrons. Entrepreneurship is critical to a growing economy, but having the right context to the statistics helps put it in perspective. And then there’s trade. Can we change the subject? Some economists are finally writing with clarity about the topic.
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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…
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%).
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.
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.
The beginning of the 2017 should be noisy from a political perspective, but the opportunity for distraction might be the biggest opportunity one can have. Stay focused as we're in the midst of a third media wave that may trap print businesses that have not prepared for it. And then there's the teenager who bought a newspaper. No, not a copy of a newspaper, but a newspaper business. This will be a strange year.
2016 marked my first visit to the Color Conference. Over recent years, the conference has broadened its audience to include more content for designers and brand owners while still sticking to its color technology heritage. Read more to find out why this conference was a great way to end 2016.
As we move into 2017 and beyond, data-driven marketing is going to get bigger, better, and more integrated into the consumer experience. Technology-savvy, data-driven marketers want to get the right message in front of the right audience at the right time to drive the desired behavior. This article leverages information from InfoTrends’ latest Multi-Client study entitled Lead with Data: Follow with Print to explore some areas of key importance as we enter a new year.
When people get frustrated with software, they are looking for an easy answer to get closure. One of the most common reactions to web-to-print frustration is to shop for a different solution. Before you start shopping, take a long hard look at your investment in really learning the web-to-print solution you already have.
The halls, they are decked, the silver bells, they are ringing, and throughout the land a festive Christmas spirit is finally descending upon us. It’s also the electric company’s favorite time of year, I would guess, and it’s always entertaining walking or driving around and seeing how extravagantly some homeowners festoon their homes—tastefully, garishly, and everything in between—with all manner of lights, inflatables, and giant electric snow globes.
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.