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In 2014, US per capita hours using broadband is just over 900 per year (2.5 per day), and that's the entire population. The number of total hours has doubled since 2007. The population has grown in that period, but the average number of hours online per week has gone from 15.3 to 21.5 in 2014, and households with broadband connections grew from 76% to 89%. The cumulative effect has had most of its effect on mainstream commercial printing, especially information materials used for promotion and product support and advertising-funded products like magazines and catalogs. Printing's use is becoming more tactical, focused on specialty uses of printed images with higher expectations for impact, especially in concert with other media.
Packaging is defined as all the activities of designing and producing the container for a product. It involves the printable material that encases a consumer item and serves to contain, identify, describe, protect, display, promote, and otherwise make the product marketable and keep it clean. Apart from this, packaging is also is a double-digit growth market for digital print technology.
Your web-to-print initiatives should be focused on the “jobs-to-be-done” for your customers. What can the customer “hire” your web-to-print system to do for them? Web-to-print ROI comes from a 100% focus from your customer’s perspective.
Are you gearing up to attend the 2016 TAGA conference in Memphis? Senior Editor Cary Sherburne gives you lots of good reasons why you should plan to go … read more.
On February 1, Ford Bowers took the reins as president and CEO of SGIA, succeeding Michael Robertson after nearly 33 years of service. In Part 2 of this two-part interview, we talk with Ford about the SGIA Expo, as well as the overall challenges facing the wide-format and specialty graphics printing industry.
An inflated view of performance is good, if you’re well adjusted. Let’s be real: retail sales were better but not encouraging. Ad agency and graphic design employees may finally set a new record in 2016.
To have a branding strategy for digital printing, there first has to be a cohesive family of digital printing products. Heidelberg says that it now has both.
All enterprises want their communications to look credible and professional as they spread the word about their businesses. This market presents tremendous opportunities for print service providers with the right go-to-market strategy. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore how service providers can meet the evolving needs of today’s enterprises across various vertical markets.
The economic turbulence of the last few weeks of a bad GDP report for Q4, the negative trends in manufacturing, commodities prices collapsing because of declining demand, have led to chat of recession.
E-commerce sales of all types, including industrial products, is still growing at a rate just under 15% per year.
Customers ask for a lot, they want us to service them but they also need us to apply our expertise to their challenges. The customer can and should be challenged based on your expertise.
What instinct tells us about the effectiveness of print has now scientific backing that links it to measurable brain activity, as detailed in a study commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service.
On February 1, Ford Bowers took the reins as president and CEO of SGIA, succeeding Michael Robertson after nearly 33 years of service. In Part 1 of this two-part interview, we talk with Ford Bowers about his history with Miller Zell, his plans for SGIA, the role of the trade association in today’s landscape.
Mercury Print Productions of Rochester NY reports continued growth, increased use of digital print technologies, and a new facility that consolidates 3 previous ones. CEO John Place talks about current business and future strategies in this company spotlight.
In this article, David begins the process of looking at the changes in production inkjet since drupa 2012, with an eye on educating the marketplace on what is out there and what we may expect to see.
Does “privacy” have meaning any more? People are sometimes willing to trade personal information for rewards—even when they know they are going to regret it. There are implications for print in the conflict.
Just like large enterprises, SMBs want to look credible and professional as they spread the word about their businesses. This market presents tremendous opportunities for print service providers with the right go-to-market strategy. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore how service providers can aggregate volume with a focus on specific horizontal and vertical SMB markets.
Part of print's good 2015 was how well it did compared to other industries. Of 21 major manufacturing industries, nine had positive years in current dollars, with commercial printing as sixth highest. Precipitous decreases in commodities prices caused manufacturing in metals and energy to have such a bad year that the entire manufacturing sector declined -4.3%. For the year, current dollar GDP growth was +2.9%. For the first time in twenty years, commercial printing growth exceeded GDP.
This product spotlight focuses on three areas that we see as the most powerful and differentiating features of Pace; PaceStation, Pace Customization Modules, and Pace Item Templates. The unifying concept with all three of these features is that they allow a printer to “configure” Pace to work for their unique business requirements.
The user conference was too wide-ranging to have a single keynote, but it was a good place to catch up with what EFI is doing to streamline packaging workflows.
The impact of a negative economic outlook on M&A activity will be to turn the current sellers’ market into a buyers’ market and result in decreased valuations. The situation will cause most owners who might have been considering a sale transaction in the near future to pause and re-examine their strategies.
January 2016 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries
The unemployment improved to a level not seen since the recession began, but it doesn't feel that good. Have the statisticians been running their thermometers under running water until it gets to the number they want? Printing shipments beat GDP for the year for the first time since 1995. Where are the cheers? And then there's a beef with image campaigns. Yeah, it's Dr. Joe time again.
Commoditization has come creeping into wide-format and specialty graphics, but does it mean the end of profitability?
Since December 2007, the CPI is up by +12.6%. How have the PPI for commercial printing, ink, and paper changed? Commercial printing prices are lower, -0.8%. This means that a commercial printing business has to increase its productivity and profitability to reward its owners and employees to make up for the loss of purchasing power they have in their paychecks.
There are those who envision a future free or nearly free of packaging. Although it might seem unachievable, some tentative steps in that direction have been taken.
Major retailers like Lands’ End and J.C. Penney are bringing back their printed catalogs because they recognize the critical role that these catalogs play in driving business. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to highlight how catalogs remain an important marketing tool for reaching today’s consumers.
The monthly recovery indicators were uneven again. The NASDAQ fell almost -7% in the last month, and ISM non-manufacturing new orders and imports also declined.
Business meetings can be horribly ineffective, yet with a set of small hacks you can unleash the productivity and innovation your company desperately needs. Here’s the good news, all you need is some Post-It Notes and a phone.
Yesterday, IDEAlliance and Epicomm announced a proposed merger that, pending member approval, will combine the two organizations under the 50-year-old brand IDEAlliance. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with IDEAlliance’s David Steinhardt and Epicomm’s Ken Garner to get the inside story.
Look around the produce section of your supermarket. Notice how many colorfully printed flexible bags there are? Meet the company that put some of them there.
Real Gross Domestic Product (RGDP) for the US increased by an annual rate of +0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2015. On a year-to-year basis, RGDP was up +1.8%.
New OSHA workplace safety regulations and changes in reporting requirements and on-site inspections are on the horizon. Here’s what companies in the specialty graphics industry need to know to ensure they are compliant.
Today’s market holds a tremendous opportunity for direct mail printing. How can today’s service providers better meet marketers’ evolving needs, and what are the essential ingredients for success? This article explores three key areas of focus—data-driven personalization, multi-channel communication, and an agency approach.
The chart shows the percentage of US commercial printing establishments of all sizes and their responses to the question about the cloud-based services they use today. The question did not ask them their frequency or intensity of use, just whether or not they use it today. Some of the “non-users” may not even be aware that they are using cloud services, since some services run transparently in the background, such as backup services like Carbonite and others. Others may not be aware that they are using a VOIP phone system. Some cloud services such as Dropbox allow customers to brand their service so it looks like a company file sharing site. Generally, larger printers are using more cloud services than others, but the disparity is narrow.
As technology continues to change at a rapid rate, collaboration needs to extend into the functional areas of your business. Don’t stop at creating a peer group for print owners, encourage your accounting lead to get into a peer group, each functional area should have multiple sources of knowledge sharing.
In studying the Propago product, a consistent theme reverberated throughout the product; this product was built based on real-time feedback from live users in a large scale deployment. The approach to solving the business challenges of web-to-print are rooted in data-driven decisions rather than theoretical solutions to ill-defined challenges. Propago came out of a large commercial printing organization that consisted of twenty-five companies across the nation.
Gearing up for drupa yet? At WhatTheyThink, we are. In fact, our drupa page is already up, so be sure to follow the news as the show gets closer! One of the areas worth investigating when you go to drupa is the developing area of advanced materials, whether it is resins for 3D printing, conductive inks, or advanced inkjet ink formulas.
Profits are the focus of Dr. Joe this week. His data show two halves of the industry at the same size but the profits are not divided that way. It's not what you might expect.
As leaders in their respective fields, Guy Gecht and Steve Wynn share an exceptional ability to hold a stage and captivate an audience. Both played to a packed house as keynote speakers at EFI Connect 2016.
EFI is integrating hardware and software for specialty printing applications, as well as making the most of its many recent acquisitions. Here are some wide-format-related highlights.
Despite the surging popularity of digital marketing, direct mail will continue to play an integral role in savvy businesses’ marketing initiatives. This article cites data from recent InfoTrends research to explore the role that direct mail will likely play in the marketing initiatives of the future.
Here are data from our survey at the end of 2015 where we asked respondents to identify the status of their companies in terms of consolidation. Generally, formal consolidations are executed by the largest print businesses, and small businesses close their respective shops and reopen a new business with new partners.
It’s time to stop talking about what we should become (marketing services providers) and actually take the steps that move us in that direction. Think through a go-to-market strategy for offering digital products, execute on that plan on your print business’ marketing, enable your sales team, and start diversifying your revenue streams for the digital age.
Herewith a handful of recent new announcements that caught your Section Editor’s eye.
As 2015 drew to a close, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne had the opportunity to sit down with X-Rite Pantone CEO Ron Voigt to review the year and look ahead into 2016.
Paper currency has been part of the American mindset ever since Benjamin Franklin pamphleteered for it in 1729. But, folding money has to confront 21st-century trends that could displace it.
Our President, Eric Vessels, came across the Chatbooks service in Instagram and shared it with the team. Our own Frank Romano commented on it in a video last week, and today we have an interview with Chatbooks CEO Nate Quigley for a deeper look at the service and print’s value add.
While some forms of marketing are fleeting and forgotten, a postcard, brochure, or catalog can serve as a lasting reminder of a marketing message. Direct mail can compel recipients to act, attract new customers, increase customer loyalty, boost brand awareness, reactivate dormant accounts, and deliver profitable results. This article explores how businesses of all sizes are rethinking their strategies and incorporating more direct mail in their messaging.
The latest survey of NFIB shows their index bouncing along the level of the early 2000s recession low, and down from the high prior to the December 2007 recession. Passing that level on the way up would have indicated a completed recovery of this sector but it just couldn't make it that far and break through. Using this indicator that means that small business did not emerge from the recession yet. Big business and the stock markets dominate the headlines, but small business remains the front line of the economy, and its difficulties are often hidden from view as being un-newsworthy. Its breakout above the bottom of the early 2000s recession took some time, and the recent trend in the chart looks like it's getting ready to fall below that again. It dipped below that level briefly a few months ago and climbed back out. Will it climb out again? It's worth watching.