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Around the Web: Bogus Books. Letterpress Lovecraft. Online Occultiana. Crazy Cards. Bothersome Billboards. Migrating Mattresses. Farewell, FogCam.

Amazon sells fake Orwell titles. An experiential letterpress-printed book inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. Amsterdam’s occult library digitizes its collection. Memorable baseball card photos. The Apple Card: Leave home without it? New York’s continued war on digital offshore billboards. “Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Is an Economic Indicator.” The longest-running webcam is going dark. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Where’s the Packaging Opportunity for Commercial Printers?

The ongoing digital transformation has created problems for commercial printers, namely electronic displacement. As a result, many have turned to digital wide-format equipment to add new revenue streams. Nevertheless, with more PSPs adapting wide format, this service is no longer the differentiator it once was. Commercial printers looking for the next value-add product stream should examine packaging, particularly the folding carton and label segments, to find new revenue opportunities.


Where Do Sales Reps Fit Into the Pricing Story? (Premium Content)

Sales reps are key players in your business. Their knowledge of the market and their customers are a central part of the process of optimizing pricing. Your objective is to attract and retain the best ones while motivating them to attain even better results. The objective should to get them on the team and make their interests parallel that of the firm. In this article, Robert Lindgren discusses the various sales rep compensation options.


Transpromo Messaging: More Likely to Be Seen in Print

Are your clients buying into the paperless billing trend? If so, this survey from Consumer Action shows that they might want to think twice, especially if they are doing transpromo messaging.


The Trap of One More Software Feature (Premium Content)

Don’t let a feature stop you from implementing what works for you today. Don’t let the people in your organization that are good at looking for all the ways something won’t work win. Implement what works and then find ways around the missing features. Waiting is keeping your business in neutral.


Production Inkjet: Welcome to the Revolution—Let’s Talk Corrugated (Premium Content)

One of the hottest topics in packaging print today is corrugated, and for many reasons. One of those is that it is a market area showing a solid growth trajectory. So, what are the areas of growth, and what are some of the challenges that will affect the growth of digital print, more specifically production inkjet, in corrugated?


Customer Spotlight: Konica Minolta’s AccurioJet KM-1 Inkjet Press Opens New Business Opportunities for Hummel Integrated Marketing Solutions

Senior Editor Cary Sherburne interviewed John Hummel, fourth-generation owner and CEO of Hummel Integrated Marketing Solutions, to gain insight into how the acquisition of a Konica Minolta AccurioJet KM-1 UV inkjet press has enhanced his business.


Executive Q&A - Wim Maes, Summa

Many of our readers will remember Wim Maes for his tenure as the CEO of Xeikon, a role he held from 2009 to March of 2017. From Xeikon to Summa, Wim Maes helps make the company a worldwide industry leader.


WTIN Shares Insights on Smart Textiles for Fashion, Entertainment, Lifestyle (Premium Content)

Last week, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne tuned in to an interesting WTIN webinar, Smart Textiles for Fashion, Entertainment, and Lifestyle. She summarizes some of the key points here, but recommends that industry professionals interested in smart textiles review the entire free webinar.


June Printing Shipments: The Dog Days of Summer Begin (Premium Content)

Printing shipments for June 2019 were—as expected—down from May, and came in slightly below June 2018.


Around the Web: Graphene Gown. Adversarial Fashion. Smart Ovens, Dumb Choices. Amazon Airbnb. Big Apple Retail Apocalypse. Crazy Train. Implantables.

A fashion line designed to mess with surveillance cameras. The smart device invasion. A Seattle Airbnb that offers a mock Amazon job interview. High-profile shopping meccas in NYC shut down. Ozzy Osbourne is an actual genetic mutant (as we all suspected). You can now store your data—and your car keys—inside your body. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Tips and Tricks for Cashing in on This Season’s Print Shows

Approaching print-related conferences with a plan can deliver a wealth of new ideas while also carving a path for business growth. This article offers some tips for making the most of your time during the upcoming trade show season.


Rules of Engagement: Meet an Employee’s Needs, Watch Them Perform (Premium Content)

The average person uses around 70% of their available energy reserves to perform their normal activities, including meeting the requirements of their jobs. The remaining 30% is called “discretionary energy.” How can we tap into an employee’s discretionary energy and get them to apply it to their job? The key is engagement. Wayne Lynn explains how to measure and improve an employee’s level of engagement.


Jeff Jacobson Shares Thoughts About EFI’s Past and Future (Premium Content)

In a surprise announcement this week, EFI reported that with the departure of CEO Bill Muir for personal reasons, Executive Chairman Jeff Jacobson would be taking on the additional role as CEO of the company. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke to Jacobson to gain insight into his plans for the company’s future.


Takeaways on Triggered and Automated Direct Mail

Takeaways from a recent webinar on triggered and automated direct marketing, both from a high-level technology perspective and from the perspective of a mid-sized printer producing real programs every day.


The Primary Reason Print Software Gets Thrown Out (Premium Content)

Print software gets thrown out by printers primarily because of factors that are 100% in the printer’s control.


Summer Stroll: The Signs Around Us (Premium Content)

What kinds of signage and display graphics are in fashion? You don’t need elaborate market research surveys to find out—sometimes all you need to do is get out of the office and have a look around. Just doing a little recon can often generate ideas for new product areas to expand into.


Enabling Sales with the Right Story—Using Targeted Print Samples: Restaurants (Premium Content)

In the latest installment of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she builds on the previous installment and puts together a print sample kit for a different specific vertical market: restaurants. If you or your sales reps are trying to sell your services to these kinds of establishments, what kinds of items should you include in your Restaurant Marketing Sample Kit?


Digital Printing of Textiles: A Growth Opportunity (Premium Content)

World Textile Information Network (WTIN) has released its latest data regarding worldwide digital printing of textiles and we recap some of that information here.


Surface Tension: Specialty Substrates Are Proliferating, but Printing on Them Has Its Challenges (Premium Content)

"Inkjet devices can print on any surface" is a common industry talking point, but the practical reality is a bit more complicated, involving the chemical and physical interplay of inks and substrates. This article offers an inkjet printing reality check.


Getting to Critical Mass in Augmented Reality (Premium Content)

Welsh artist Alexander Ward designs stunning augmented content—like a recent interactive book cover—with Spark AR Studio.


The New Print Reality (Premium Content)

VR, QR, AR and interactive print merge the digital and the physical.


The Four Rs (Premium Content)

A primer on QR, VR, AR—and "print reality."


Why Address Quality Matters: The Cost Of Undeliverable Mail Adds Up (Premium Content)

According to the DMA’s 2017 Response Rate Report, direct mail has a much higher household response rate (5.1% customer – 2.9% prospect) than digital channels such as email (0.6%), social media (0.4%) and online display ads (0.2%).


Executive Q&A—Wim Maes, Summa (Premium Content)

Cary Sherburne talks to Wim Maes, Executive Member of the Board at Summa NV, a global leader in cutting and finishing equipment for the printing, signage, outdoor advertising, packaging, and textiles industries.


“New Print” Will Prevail

Where will printers make money in the future? Some say it will be from digital printing. But digital printing is usurping analog volumes and analog volumes are not growing. In order to grow, the printing industry must find new products and new services.


Sustainability and Offset Inks: The Latest Trends and Issues (Premium Content)

According to a recent study by the European Printing Inks Association (EuPIA), the share of offset printing inks is less than 2% of the overall eco footprint of the printed paper material or paper packaging on which they are used.


Corrugated and Solid Fiber Box Manufacturing Establishments—2016

in 2016, there were 1,200 establishments in NAICS 322211 (Corrugated and Solid Fiber Box Manufacturing). About half of these establishments (49%) have 50 or more employees and more than two-thirds (71%) have 20 or more employees.


Around the Web: Mobile Medals. Human Tails. Reviving Bookshops. Ugly Gerry. Dog Mode. Artificial Tongue. Libeling Parrots.

The medals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are being made from recycled mobile phones. An Irish teen wins the Google Science Fair for a system for removing microplastics from the oceans. Can Waterstones’ savior duplicate that success for Barnes & Noble? A typeface based on heinously gerrymandered Congressional districts. Scottish researchers develop an artificial tongue for whisky tasting. 3M streamlines packaging material. If you’re a UK publisher, go ahead and insult all the parrots you want. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


OpenText Enterprise World: A Shift into the Information Era!

Offering insights into the latest trends as well as stories on successful digital transformations, OpenText Enterprise World is designed to help attendees unlock their information advantage. This article provides a brief overview of the 2019 event in Toronto.


What Neuroscience Can Tell Us About Why Magazine Ads (and All Good Print Marketing) Work

Highlights from the white paper “What Can Neuroscience Tell Us About Why Magazine Advertising Works?” Published by the Magazine Publishers Association, the white paper synthesizes years of neuroscience studies on why people understand, recall, and are better motivated by information provided in print rather than digital.


What’s in a Letter?—July 2019 M&A Activity

Monotype Imaging Goes Private, DG3 Acquires, Coloredge Merges, and more…


Strategic vs. Tactical Print Employees (Premium Content)

Your print business has two kinds of challenges: the challenge of getting jobs out the door (tactical) and the business of continuing to strategically evolve so you maintain relevance and competitive advantage in the marketplace.


Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) Acquiring NAPCO Media

The state of printing industry associations is still very much in a state of flux with a few still trying to survive. This latest move may tip the scales.


Production Inkjet: Welcome to the Revolution—Front Line Report from Rochester’s Mercury Printing (Premium Content)

This article is a part of a series looking at production inkjet solutions leading up to and through drupa 2020. We will look at what’s new, how it’s being used, and how it’s  transforming print service providers. In this article, we go to the front lines and we take a look at Mercury Printing of Rochester, N.Y., a perfect example of a digital technology and business transformation. And for all the right reasons…


New in Technical Textiles: Smart Diapers, Lava Suits, and More (Premium Content)

The topic of technical textiles can be a bit geeky. But there are always new and interesting developments in this area. Take P&G’s new smart diapers, or the protective lava suit for geologists from the University of Missouri working in volcanic areas, for example. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne digs into these topics and more.


June Jobs: Up in the Short Term, Down in the Long Term (Premium Content)

In June, overall printing employment grew +0.5% from May to June 2019. On a year-over-year basis, it is down -2.5%. Production employment was up +0.4% from May to June, but year-over-year was down -4.9%. Non-production employment was up +0.7% from May to June, and year-over-year was up +2.6%.


Around the Web: Mechanical Marketers. Breathable Lava Suits. Smart Diapers. Wearable Air Conditioners. Paper Organs. Geomessages. Butternauts! Words About Words. Craving Carvers. Rebooted Airplanes.

Chase replaces its copywriters with AI. What to wear when immersed in molten rock. “If only there were a way to determine when a diaper needed changing...” Look cool being cool. Creating organ models from maps of Zürich, for some reason. Sending messages via geomapping. The dictionary explains “fursona,” upsettingly. The stone carver job market heats up. New books for language nerds. “We will start boarding as soon as the plane has rebooted.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Why is TransPromo Hot Again?

TransPromo—bicapitalized with a T and P to emphasize the link between transactional and promotional communications—is experiencing a resurgence. Consumer-facing communicators are using TransPromo techniques in their printed and digital communications. This article explores why TransPromo is re-emerging as a talk track.


SAi Launches Augmented Reality App for Signmakers (Premium Content)

SAi’s new VirtualSign is an augmented reality (AR) app that lets signmakers show clients how a sign will look in situ before it is printed and installed. We spoke wth SAi’s Gudrun Bonte, Vice President of Product Management, who oversaw the development of the app.


Areas Where Only Print Can Reach (Still)

We have been hearing for a while that 24% of Americans in rural areas still have no access to broadband, making print critical for marketers looking to reach those areas. This isn’t just a small pocket here and there. There are entire communities, even cities, without broadband access, where only traditional channels like print can reach.


Five Critical Issues Brands Face in the Global Packaging & Printing Supply Chain (Premium Content)

Idealliance CEO Timothy Baechle identifies the five most critical issues that brands face today in terms of their global packaging and printing supply chain: finding qualified vendors, effective communication, evaluation, validation, and the need to never stop learning. This article looks at those five issues and how mastering them can help build an unbreakable supply chain.


Enabling Sales with the Right Story—Using Targeted Print Samples: Banks (Premium Content)

In part 7 of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she puts together a print sample kit for a specific vertical market: banks. If you or your sales reps are trying to sell your services to a bank, what kinds of items should you include in your Bank Marketing Sample Kit?


Lectra Acquisition of Retviews Helps Bring Realization of Industry 4.0 Closer for Fashion Brands (Premium Content)

Lectra offers solutions that give fashion, automotive, and furniture companies the means to embark on the Industry 4.0 journey. Its recent acquisition of data company Retviews is another arrow in the company’s quiver. We spoke with Maximilien Abadie, Chief Strategy Officer for Lectra, to learn more.


Converted Paper Product Manufacturing Establishments—2016

in 2016, there were 3,638 establishments in NAICS 3222 (Converted Paper Product Manufacturing). More than four out of 10 of these establishments (42%) have 50 or more employees and two-thirds (65%) have 20 or more employees.


Around the Web: Medical Tattooing. Etsy Faces the Music. Guinness’ Road Less Traveled. Another Press Conference Cat-astrophe. Slugs in Medieval Manuscripts. Wienerbnb.

Disney’s “Escape from the Haunted Mansion” papercraft. Tattoos that function as medical diagnostics. Etsy buys musical marketplace. What technology will be obsolete in your lifetime? Is the world’s steepest road really the steepest in the world? What is it with these cat filters? A long, but well-worth-it Twitter thread about slugs in Medieval manuscript illumination. Spend a night in the Wienermobile...if you dare. “Disruption has come for toilet paper.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Are You 100% Digitally Transformed?

Many businesses believe they’ve made the digital transformation, yet market shares of digitally printed pages are only in single digits. This article explores the disconnect between perceptions and reality in our industry’s digital transformation, and also discusses what must be done to help close this gap.


Beware of Dog: Automation and Wide-Format Printing (Premium Content)

Automation for wide-format printing can encompass a lot of different processes, from automatic file processing, to robotics, even to database management. Where once wide format was deemed too “artisanal” or “craft-like” to be automated, the times are changing. After all, as competition in the wide-format segment continues to heat up, automation becomes a key element in controlling costs. We’ll take a look at the current state of automation for wide-format printing.


Are You Walking the Customer Retention Walk with Your Customers?

Whether it’s a print business or any other type of business (such as your customers’ businesses), retaining customers is critical. But knowing how important it is and being able to develop and execute an effective strategy are two different things. Here are five tips you can use to guide your customer retention strategy, as well as your customers’.


RFPs Are Not a Good Way to Procure Print Software (Premium Content)

Learning is the most important part of software procurement decisions. The vendor needs to learn about you (to assess if you are a good fit for their solution) and you need to learn about the vendor. An RFP doesn’t facilitate any learning.


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