Recent Commentary & Analysis
Requires Premium Membership
Displaying 151-200 of thousands of articles
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.
You can call it change management, I prefer the wise words of Seth Godin – change requires you to embrace stupid. Our market requires all of us to keep learning, “the pre-learning state is stupidity.”
Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things: Why Printers and Packaging Converters Should Take Notice ()
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.
Earlier this month, Canon Solutions America hosted its annual analyst and press event in Boca Raton, Fla., debuting new wide-format technologies and market strategies.
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.
Do print buyers really want printers to offer marketing services? A recent survey of Print Buyers suggests they don’t. Now what?
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!
Automation is playing a growing role in book manufacturing, as evidenced by the sophisticated solutions on show at Hunkeler Innovationdays 2017
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.
Who knew that finishing was the primary determiner of print quality among print buyers? But this is the result of The Print Media Center’s “2017 Print Buyer Survey.” Now what?
In today’s market, you must align your sales organization with your overall business strategy while also accommodating the changing demands of your customer base. This article discusses options for structuring your sales team to deliver better business results.
Is customer experience really more important to marketers than sales? Multiple studies say yes.
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?
How direct mail serves a need that digital channels cannot—alerting customers to products and categories they may not be searching for and, in fact, may not even know exist.
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.