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No More Isolated Print Software Solutions

Every print software decision needs to be considered within the context of your end-to-end workflow. Isolated or point solutions are costly both short and long term. As jobs travel through your production and business workflows – it is vital that the various pieces of print technology can communicate with each other without human intervention.


Managed Print Services Take Center Stage – September 2016 M&A Activity

HP commits to paper-based future, private equity invests in managed print services, ink manufacturers consolidate, Hibbert acquires RedShark, Deluxe promotes promotional products, and more.


Graph Expo 2016 Highlights

Despite its move to Orlando after 20 years in Chicago, Graph Expo 2016 exceeded expectations according to most exhibitors and attendees. In this article, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne shares the highlights that caught her attention at the show.


Recovering Recovery and Quadrennial Snapshots: More Logical than it Sounds (Premium Content)

For once the employment report was bad on the outside but good on the inside. Printing employment continues to show consolidation effects. The recovery indicators have their own recovery. August printing shipments are big, making up for July’s disturbing decline. Dr. Joe’s good Graph Expo included a visit to the Printerverse and a digital book discussion worth watching.


McKinsey’s Guide to Digital Disruption: Lessons for the Printing Industry (Premium Content)

The September 2016 issue of McKinsey Quarterly included an article entitled An Incumbent’s Guide to Digital Disruption that offered insight on actions that businesses can take today to remain competitive in today’s digital age. This article provides a synopsis of the McKinsey disruption lifecycle and explores how the printing industry is being affected today.


Top 3 Challenges to the Print Software Sales Process (Premium Content)

Mistakes get made during the print software sales process because there is a lack of common understanding, a pressure on the vendor to say yes to every challenge presented, and a tendency to focus on solutions rather than the problems.


Q2 Real GDP Revised Up to +1.4%; Durable Goods Orders Contracting for 20 Months

Real GDP for the second quarter got its final revision, and was raised from +1.1% to +1.4%. Regular readers know that we prefer to look at real GDP on a year-to-year basis, excluding inventories, to give a better long-term view of the economy. The second quarter had an inventory correction, which seemed overdue.


SGIA 2016 Wrapup: This—and Next—Year’s Models

A collection of new products and product previews that were seen on the show floor at last month’s SGIA Expo.


Materials Matter at Graph Expo and Beyond

At Graph Expo 2016 paper suppliers were clustered in the Materials Matter section of the show floor, described as the “hub that celebrates the essential role materials play in the print ecosystem.”


Graph Expo 2016 and the Satisfactions of Scalability

Graph Expo’s first outing in Orlando proved that how large or small a trade show is matters less than how well it fits its surroundings—and vice versa.


Print Supply Chain Optimization: A Critical Marketing Priority (Premium Content)

Marketers are spending billions of dollars producing, warehousing, and shipping marketing literature, packaging, documentation, point-of-sale displays, premiums, giveaways, signage, and handouts for all channels of market contact and engagement. This article explores how managing and controlling this portion of marketing operations can materially impact go-to-market effectiveness, increase business value, and create a competitive advantage.


The Museum of Printing Exhibits Its One-of-a-Kind Collection in a New and Much Improved Venue

After 38 years, multiple relocations, and herculean labors, this extraordinary collection has a permanent home and a compelling story to tell.


Closing the Personalization Gap (Premium Content)

Even though today’s consumers are inundated with marketing-related messages, only a fraction of these messages actually get the consumer engaged. This article explores how marketers are using personalization to create customized communications that help them stand out from their competitors.


Manufacturing May Be Declining, but Real Retail Sales are Still Positive

Data about manufacturing from the ISM and the Commerce Department have show a contraction compared to the prior year. In some cases that slowdown and contraction has been in process for 18 or more months. Retail sales and consumer spending have been the brighter spots of the economy. The inflation-adjusted growth rate of retail sales has been slowing since the beginning of 2015.


Buying and Selling Print Software by the Pound

When you buy and sell software by the pound (# of features), you get distracted as a buyer as to what business challenge is actually most important to solve. As a vendor when you build software by the pound you keep adding without going back and refining the core features of your solution.


Hyde Opinion: the Sale of DG3 to Resilience Capital Partners

DG3, a significant player in the NYC metro, national and international market for commercial and financial printing, has entered another phase of its storied existence of acquisitions, going public, sale of the company, management buyout, return of the founder, sale to private equity and now a secondary sale to private equity and special situation fund Resilience Capital Partners.


A Toast—and Another One—to the Genius of Corrugated

Corrugated packaging protects effectively, presents handsomely, and succeeds environmentally. What’s not to like or to give credit where due?


Traditional Publishing Ebbs, and Oh, Those CMOs (Premium Content)

Remember that “content is king” thing? The king is losing money. Worldwide ad agency Carat is forecasting moderate growth in advertising, but major shifts in the way ad budgets are spent. It's a fascinating look at worldwide communications with significant implications for printers of all sizes. And then those CMOs... just when they think they have it figured out, they're getting fired again.


You Are the Package. Do You Like What You See?

We interact with packages so much and so often that we sometimes begin to merge with them—and they with us.


SGIA Expo 2016 Kicks Off in Las Vegas

What happened at this year’s SGIA Expo may have happened in Vegas, but it’s not staying in Vegas. Our report from Day One of the show.


Book Publishing: Printed Books Live On! (Premium Content)

Even in today’s digital age, printed books are alive and well. The death of printed books has been greatly exaggerated, and emerging technologies and consumer preferences are converging. This article explores the tools and techniques that can help resolve the supply chain.


Pew Offers Essential Insights into Book Readership

The Pew Research Center's recent report about book reading gives us a peek at the relationship of print and digital media. The report says “A growing share of Americans are reading e-books on tablets and smartphones rather than dedicated e-readers, but print books remain much more popular than books in digital formats.” The chart shows what formats their respondents used in the year prior to the survey. Only 6% were digital-only readers. The report states that 26% read no book in the last year; they may have read other things, but not books. Contrary to many reports about the “demise” of e-books, that has risen from 17% to 28%. It's been stuck there for three years. Print-only readers were 39% (remember: that used to be the entire market of book readers). Print and digital readers are now at 29%. Add the 6% digital-only, and you're at 35%. Content needs to be available in multiple media. Media selection is based on many factors, such as time, convenience, price, income, education, age, and others. Pew also offers insights into the use of audiobooks. The report is free can be downloaded from the Pew Research Center. One other note: when you hear that tablet sales are down or that e-book reader sales are down, keep in mind the versatile use of smartphones and their growing role in content engagement. Among readers 18-29 years old, 22% of them are reading books on their smartphones, 4x more than read them on e-book readers.


The Number 1 Factor in Successful Print MIS Implementations (Premium Content)

Implementing Print MIS software is an undertaking that touches every corner of your business. The belief system you go into this process with determines your success more than any other factor.


Thomson Reuters Sees Opportunity in Monochome Book Printing

Thomson Reuters Core Publishing Service focuses on short and long runs of monochrome legal and other publications on lightweight papers. Adding a HP PageWide Web Press T360 with an inline Magnum Flexbook has significantly improved efficiencies for mid-sized to short runs. Learn more in this article sponsored by HP.


Private Equity LOVES Labels – August 2016 M&A Activity

Massive global private equity funds move aggressively into the label and related printing segments, marketing services provider Firespring acquires Jacob North and does good, Supremex rolls up US envelope production, the newspaper chess game goes on and more.


Employment, Shipments, and Profits: The Objects of Inflection? (Premium Content)

Employment and GDP reports did not inspire, and July's printing shipments made us ponder. In the printing profits data, smaller did better, again. Ponder this: have print's gargantuans lost their economies of scale? Big was supposed to be better, smarter, and sturdy. It turns out that the big interest in big printers was of the loan payment kind. If pondering makes you hungry, you might consider some food shopping. They say the price of food is down but, alas, we learn it's just less up.


Automation and Wide-Format: Where Are We?

Whether it’s only a select few tasks or an entire production workflow, automation is slowly but surely coming to wide-format printing. How is that possible?


Four of Six Recovery Indicators Fall, Two Now Below Levels of Last Recession

The recovery indicators were hit hard last month last month, with two of them falling below the levels at the start of the last recession. Those levels were the readings of these indicators for December 2007.


Transaction Documents: Consumers Still Like Paper! (Premium Content)

Transactional printing is the original variable data printing application. Each bill, statement, invoice, check, or explanation of benefits has content that is unique to the specific individual. Research continues to suggest that business expectations for paperless delivery adoption always exceed realized gains.


Konica Minolta: Moving into Production and Industrial Print

In this article, David takes a look at Konica Minolta and the company’s new strategy relative to Production Inkjet, Industrial Print, and building a Software eco-system, with a different approach than its competitors.


US Commercial Printing Shipments Have Rough July

The reversal in trend for US commercial printing shipments went from somewhat benign to significant in July's data. Last year, the industry was relatively stronger than 2014, but shipments have been on a downturn for the last four months of reporting.


Pixartprinting: VistaPrint’s Expansion into Upload-and-Print (Premium Content)

Inevitably, Cimpress (parent company of VistaPrint) is expanding beyond its roots with the micro business and the business card product. Pixartprinting, a 2014 Cimpress acquisition, targets the creative professional with a 100% upload-and-print model supporting an ever growing collection of product workflows.


Creative Sign Designs Spurs Collaboration with Dry-Erase Paint

As Creative Sign Designs was preparing to remodel its facility, President & CEO Jamie Harden came across dry-erase paint from ThinkPaint and immediately saw the benefits, both for his own staff and as a potential new revenue stream for the business.


Packaging Innovations Are in the Vanguard of the Fight to End Food Waste

Food waste is a shameful spectacle wherever it occurs. The problem is global, but so are efforts to solve it with new solutions for extending the edible lives of packaged foods.


Future Focus: Becoming a Strategic Customer Communications Partner (Premium Content)

When we talked about marketing services five years ago, the focus was on variable data and creating a personalized URL that linked to a landing page with pre-populated information. Although these capabilities are still important, today’s customers are seeking more. They want a strategic partner that will help them with their customer communications strategy.


Making Great Software is Humbling (Premium Content)

Coding is one aspect of software. Making great software takes a team of well-coordinated resources. When we oversimplify software to just a coding event, we get unexpected results


Report from drupa 2016: The Latest in Short Run and Digital

What will motivate packaging printers to adopt digital presses? Personalization may be a key selling point, but it isn’t primarily what will drive installation of these machines.


SGIA Expo 2016 Heads Back to Las Vegas

Next month, the annual SGIA Expo heads to its West Coast home at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Two of this year’s big topics are garment decoration and 3D printing—and it turns out they are not mutually exclusive. Here’s a preview of this year’s show.


Real GDP for Q2 Revised Down Slightly to +1.1%; Durable Goods Orders Still Contracting

The latest revision of real US GDP for Q2-2016 dropped from +1.2% to +1.1%. The estimate for Q3 from the Atlanta Fed is above +3%.


Quad/Graphics: A Focus on Defining the Future of Customer Communications (Premium Content)

Marketers face many obstacles when communicating with customers. Reaching customers is more difficult than ever before, and marketers often struggle to determine the right media and message. This article explores how Quad/Graphics is helping marketers and publishers capitalize on print’s ability to complement and connect with other media channels.


E-Commerce and US Retail Sales

E-commerce has been running at the rate of 15% annual growth for many years, but is just 8% of retail sales. That seems tiny in relation to what we've seen happen to print promotions like catalogs and direct mail, and the rise of zombie or troubled shopping malls. The problem is that big ticket items, like autos, raise the size of retail sales. Those items may be researched online, but their actual purchase is not made until it is transacted at a car dealer. Restaurant purchases are also a distorting issue in the data. This chart explains it a little better. E-commerce sales is at the bottom (red line). In the second quarter, it was just short of $100 billion. The blue line is retail sales less vehicles and parts. The green line has food service sales deducted. The black line had e-commerce sales deducted, and shows retail sales through traditional channels. Those sales through older channels are lower than they were at the start of the recession. All of the growth in non-auto and non-restaurant retail for the last decade has occurred in e-commerce channels.


Canon Promotes “See Impossible” and “One Canon” Themes at Press Event (Premium Content)

At an industry analyst/journalist summit held early this month, Canon unveiled its “One Canon” approach to the business, further integrating Canon U.S.A. Business Group, Canon Solutions America and Canon Information & Imaging Solutions to provide a seamless customer experience. WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne also interviewed Canon Americas Chairman & CEO and Senior Managing Director of Canon Inc. Joe Adachi during the event.


Creating Customer Convenience with Web to Print (Premium Content)

Web-to-Print isn’t for the printer; it is a self-service option for your customers so that ordering from you is more convenient. Customer preference is strongly in favor of self-service options for virtually all business processes, print is no exception.


Printing Industries Alliance Hosts Wide-Format Printing Panel

The Printing Industries Alliance hosted an all-day drupa recap at Manhattan’s Club 101. Among the day’s presentations and panel discussions was an extensive conversation about the current state of wide-format graphics and opportunities in the market for commercial printers.


The Lure Of Digital Packaging: A Printing Industry Growth Area

If the rise of digital printing for packaging is starting to look irresistible, there are reasons —technological and market-driven—behind the momentum it is gathering.


Straightforward Economics; Can You be Trusted with “The Good Leads”?

There are signs of economic slowdown despite what cable's talking heads say. The disparity of consumer prices and printing prices help explain the forces of consolidation and why print businesses need to have a constant review of their costs and value creation capabilies. The Australia Census folks may need to paper over a computer problem. Nothing helps improve sales more than leads, sales leads, the good leads.


Understanding the Customer Journey (Premium Content)

Historically, marketers have had a relatively straightforward task—to fill the sales funnel and keep prospects moving through it. Marketers would place an advertisement in a newspaper, create a television commercial, or send a direct mail piece to entice consumers to come into their stores to make a purchase. Times have changed.


The Role of Live Events in the Print Industry

Going to live industry events is a great opportunity on many levels – get out of working in your business and focus on working on your business. Building relationships with peers and vendors is critical to your future success, live events are where these relationships are cemented.


Avery Expands Its Reach in GHS Labels

Embracing international standards, OSHA now has a new set of rules for designing labels used with hazardous materials. Label giant Avery offers tools to make compliance easier.


Hyde Opinion: Recent Paper Distributor Consolidation

It’s no surprise that Lindenmeyr has recently announced that it had acquired Graphic Paper, a paper distribution company based on Long Island, New York. According to The Target Report, there was significant M&A activity in the paper industry during 2015, of which seven transactions involved the acquisition of formerly family-owned distributors of printing papers.


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