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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.


Production Inkjet: Welcome to the Revolution—Time to Take Stock (Premium Content)

Production inkjet solutions are proliferating at an ever-increasing rate. The quality of many of the solutions has finally reached that of offset, and the productivity has surpassed that of toner. There are also a lot more options and opportunities. Perhaps it is time to step back and take stock of where we are and where things could be going?


Enabling Sales with the Right Story: How To Demonstrate Your Company’s Capabilities (Premium Content)

In part 6 of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she identifies some specific print samples to use to demonstrate your company’s capabilities.


SensorKnits: A New Approach to Wearable Tech (Premium Content)

As part of our coverage of textiles and apparel, we look for interesting developments, both in the more conventional textiles and apparel market as it transitions to a more digital approach, as well as developments in technical textiles. In this article, we present the work being done at the MIT Media Lab to use knitting to embed conductive fibers in fabric in order to add functionality.


May Printing Shipments Up from April

Printing shipments for May 2019 were up from April—and even came in above May 2018 shipments, albeit only very slightly.


Around the Web: Newspaperless Starbucks. Printless Textbooks. Madless Al Jaffee. Memeless TikTok. Painless Airplane Seats? Monkless Chanting. Methless Gators.

Starbucks stops selling newspapers. Pearson switches to etextbooks. All about the semicolon. Coder Margaret Hamilton saved the Apollo 11 mission. The inventor of the computer password is ******. What is TikTok? IBM patents a smartwatch that unfolds into a tablet. Whatever happened to all those Bob Ross paintings? F. Scott Fitzgerald and “cocktail” as a verb. Heavy metal knitting. Twinkies for Breakfast. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Why Gamification Matters to Print Service Providers

There are lessons that PSPs can learn in watching how the general public interacts with video games—a roughly $140 billion dollar industry that exists simply because people like to have fun. By bringing elements of game design into their companies and products, PSPs can create better, stronger training practices for their employees while also developing more engaging versions of their products. All of this can be accomplished through a process called gamification.


Getting the Most Out of Your P&L Statement (Premium Content)

Do you use your monthly profit and loss (P&L) statement to its fullest? Although few do more with it than quickly glance at—and perhaps lament—the bottom line, the P&L can offer valuable information about how your business is performing. In this latest installment of his Pricing series, Robert Lindgren explains how.


Is Heavier Weight Paper Worth It? This Study Says Yes

Last week, I posted a list of links to neuroscience studies showing the power of print over digital in many areas, including content retention, recall, and willingness to buy. One of those resources contains a reference to a 2015 study that is often overlooked. The study looks not just at print vs. digital, but the weight of the paper, as well. If you are not familiar with this study, you should be.


The Event the Print Industry Needs (Premium Content)

A learning event vs. a selling event—that is the event the print industry needs. An event where you go to solve your challenges through active collaboration, open-minded because nobody is trying to sell you anything.


The Evolution of APTech and the Future of the PRINT Show (Premium Content)

Cary Sherburne talks with Thayer Long, the current president of the Association for PRINT Technologies (APTech), about the evolution of APTech, the upcoming PRINT 19 show, and a look ahead to the new Brand Print Americas 2020, the result of a strategic alliance with the Tarsus Group, owner and organizer of Labelexpo and Brand Print Global Series, which will replace PRINT 2020.


Dare to Be Different! (Premium Content)

The impression is dead—long live the impression! Long live printing that is integrated alongside other communication channels. This is the way forward and to get it right, you need to make two changes: throw away the old baggage you’ve carried for so long and embrace a change of mentality. You must swap the old habits of traditional printing for digital ones!


Enabling Sales with the Right Story: Evaluating Your Print Samples (Premium Content)

In part 5 of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she talks about how to evaluate the print samples your sales team uses to sell your company’s capabilities.


Addressing Color Management Challenges in a Hybrid Analog/Digital Textiles & Apparel Industry (Premium Content)

In the textiles and apparel industry, color management has historically been a given. Now with the introduction of digital textile printing into the mix, new color management challenges have arisen. In this article, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne takes a look at the current state of color management in the textiles and apparel industry, and where it goes from here.


PR Agency Employees—2010–2016

In 2016, there were 58,489 employees in establishments in NAICS 54182 (Public Relations Agencies). Employment in this category has grown +17% from 2010 to 2016.


Around the Web: Knitted Sensors. Disabled Books. The City that Invented the Publishing Industry. Brands and Amazon Search. Most Valuable Brands. Underwater Internet. Another Photo Cake Incident.

The MIT Media Lab develops knitted sensors. Microsoft discontinues its ebooks—and erases everyone’s libraries. Venice and the dawn of book publishing. Most of product searches on Amazon are brand-free. Sea-level rise may adversely affect the Internet. An AR application to identify street artists. Working for the [Robot] Man. Use AI to keep your prey-toting pet out of the house. Levitating turntables. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Handling Objections: It’s About Preparation and Identification

Sales objections can be daunting for even the most seasoned salespeople, creating a feeling of disapproval or opposition. Objections can come in many forms. This article explores how all salespeople, regardless of experience or tenure, can properly prepare for them.


Making More Productive People Decisions (Premium Content)

You know how it is: You’re looking to fill a position in your company. You find a prospect who has a great resume and interviews like a pro. They know the job and have the requisite experience, so you hire them, only to find their actual job performance lacking. What happened? Chances are, you only evaluated basic technical qualifications rather than behavioral traits that could determine if that employee was a good for for your company. In this article, Wayne Lynn explains why you should look beyond the resume.


Email Is a Terrible Way to Communicate (Internally) (Premium Content)

Internal communication deserves better tools than email. Real collaboration happens best when more, not fewer, people are involved. Taking internal communication out of email reduces the cognitive overhead of deciding whom to communicate with.


Neuroscience and Print: Compiled List of Links

Print and digital communications both have their strengths, but when it comes to comprehension and recall, studies consistently show that information communicated in print is more deeply embedded, recalled with more detail, and creates a more powerful emotional engagement than digital. Here is a compiled list of links on studies on the neuroscience of print, or how our brains respond to print vs. digital communications, listed in chronological order of publication.


Landa: And They’re Off… (Premium Content)

Benny Landa first introduced the concept of “Nanography” at drupa 2012. There was a reaffirmation of the introduction at drupa 2016, and since then, lots of quiet. It turns out the quiet was self-imposed, and in the interim Landa has been very busy building an organization and shipping presses.


Let There Be More Light: LED Signage Hits the Big—and Small—Time (Premium Content)

Advances in LED technology—and of course lower costs—have enabled LED signage to move indoors, and are even replacing LCD-based dynamic digital signage (DDS) for many applications.


Digital Technologies, Innovation and Sustainability Top the Conversation List at ITMA 2019 (Premium Content)

Digital technologies, innovation and sustainability were key elements that drew a great deal of attention at the recent ITMA 2019 show in Barcelona. In this second ITMA article, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne highlights some of the advances she noticed during the show. This just scratches the surface of ITMA announcements but provides a feel for the speed with which the industry is adopting digital technologies that affect the entire supply chain.


Print Publishing in Turmoil—June 2019 M&A Activity

Justice Department Blocks Quad, Condé Nast Sheds W, Colortree Closes and more…


Xerox Baltoro Inkjet Platform Overview (Premium Content)

Xerox has announced the availability of the Baltoro High Fusion Inkjet Press. Xerox has positioned the Baltoro as a “platform” in the model of the Trivor, iGen and DocuTech series of devices.


Printing Industry Profits: What Goes Up...

Industry profits data came out earlier this month, and overall profits slipped a little. Annualized profits for Q1 2019 were $3.58 billion, down slightly from $3.66 billion in Q4 of last year. Again, it’s the large printers that are dragging down overall industry profitability.


Around the Web: Yet More Meeker! Madvertising. Roasting Design. Trouble On the Map. Public Domain: The Musical. Danger: Slugs! The ENIAC Programmers Project. Portugal’s Plastic Rocks. Fishbots!

Mary Meeker Slide Roulette. Brands harness online outrage. How can an Albany antiquarian bookstore outlast its owner? Core77 roasts bad industrial design. Fake businesses on Google Maps. Celebrating the original six ENIAC programmers—women all. Country Time is on your side. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


The Bürkle and EFI Partnership: A LIGNA 2019 Interview

During LIGNA 2019, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends caught up with José Luis Ramón Moreno of EFI and Olaf Rohrbeck of Bürkle/LIGNA to learn more about the recently announced partnership between EFI and Robert Bürkle GmbH. This article provides a transcription of the interview.


Avery Dennison Launches New Car Wrap Visualizer (Premium Content)

To help vehicle wrap installers better help customers with color change vehicle wraps, Avery Dennison has launched an online Car Wrap Visualizer that shows how a particular vinyl film color looks on a representative sample of vehicle types. We spoke with Avery Dennison’s Abby Monnot, who helped develop the tool.


Survey: Multichannel Marketing from a Small Business Perspective

How are small businesses implementing multichannel marketing? What role does direct mail play in those strategies? Taradel decided to find out. This article takes a look at some key findings and takeaways.


Pricing Software Tools That Enable Print Programs (Premium Content)

Your print sales team has to evolve to understand and be able to sell the value of the software that enables print demand from business processes. Every printer should have a direct revenue line for their software.


EskoWorld: Packaging Connected (Premium Content)

Esko held its 28th EskoWorld in Nashville with an audience of over 550 attendees. Since its inception, this has been a go-to event for those in packaging production and signage, although the audience is now growing with about 25% of which were brand owners. This plays nicely into the theme “Packaging Connected.”


World Gathers in Barcelona for ITMA 2019 (Premium Content)

ITMA 2019 Textile and Garment Technology Exhibition, the world’s largest trade fair for the textiles industry, is taking place in Barcelona from June 20 to 26. For our printing industry readers, this is like the drupa of textiles. Here are some of the highlights from the show, with a focus on how companies are addressing the growing need for an ecosystem approach to digital textile printing.


Advertising Agency Employees—2010–2016

In 2016, there were 194,792 employees in establishments in NAICS 54181 (Advertising Agencies). Employment in this category has grown +31% from 2010 to 2016.


Around the Web: More Meeker! Press Conference Cat-astrophe. 3D Fashion. A Tale of a Tail. Marking Computer History. Redesigned Mailboxes. Celebrating Tristram Shandy. Bakery Printing Error. Li-Fi.

Mary Meeker Slide Roulette. 3D Fashion Editor. An app-controlled animatronic tail.  A N.H. highway historical marker commemorates the creation of BASIC. Note to press briefers: turn off the kitten filter. The USPS combats postal box fishing.  A look at Laurence Sterne’s classic “Tristram Shandy.” Who wouldn’t want a Marie Curie birthday cake? Internet-transmitting lights. Crocheted body parts. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


The Commodity Conversation: Who Are We Kidding?

The buying criteria within the printing industry are no different than any other—they come down to quality, service, and price. This article provides a brief overview of these three key buying criteria and explores how print service providers can shift away from a commodity conversation while still respecting customers’ inherent preferences.


ImageMark Adds Promotional Products to Product Offerings (Premium Content)

Long an industry trendsetter, North Carolina-based ImageMark recently announced the addition of promotional products to its portfolio of offerings in order to increase its value to customers as a one-stop shop for everything marketing. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with CEO Walter Payne to find out what drove this decision.


Study: Direct Mail Shoppers Are More Engaged, Spend More

Research from Pebble Post/Murphy Research finds that direct mail shoppers are highly engaged and spend, research, and evangelize more than non-direct mail shoppers. What’s behind this behavior? A look at the data from Pebble Post, as well as others.


Hidden Labor Costs of Bad Data (Premium Content)

The level of trust you have in the data in your Print MIS impacts all aspects of your business. When printers get their Print MIS to be “trustworthy,” they can move a whole lot faster, with less labor costs, and be more responsive to the never-ending request for more data from all stakeholders in your business.


Enabling Sales with the Right Story: Are Using the Right Print Samples? (Premium Content)

In part 4 of Pat McGrew's series on selling in today’s print environment, she talks about how to make sure the print samples your sales team uses reflect the products you specifically want to sell.


Do Customers Know What “Wide Format” Printing Is? (Premium Content)

What’s in a name? Does the term “wide format” mean anything to today’s print buyers? Avoiding industry jargon in sales and marketing efforts—and especially in one’s online presence—can help attract potential customers who may not be hip to our jive.


SmithersPira Hosts Digital Print Week 2019 in Orlando (Premium Content)

Once again, market research firm SmithersPira hosted Digital Print Week, with two conferences back to back: Digital Print for Packaging U.S. and Digital Textile Printing U.S. WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne attended both sessions. The WhatTheyThink team also captured some great video content during the conferences, which will be run on the site over the next few weeks.


April Printing Shipments—A New Season?

Printing shipments for April were up from March, happily disrupting what has become the usual seasonal pattern. Even better, April 2019 shipments came in above April 2018 shipments.


Around the Web: Two Words: Mary Meeker! Kirie Eleison. Passenger Drones. Shame-Based Ecology. Kids on Film. LED Earbuds. Ice Ice Hawking.

Data nerds rejoice: Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends Report is out. The Japanese art of kirie. Robotaxies to take flight. Barnes & Noble sold to a hedge fund. Fujifilm resumes making black-and-white film. Light up your brain, ostensibly. “The queen of eating shellfish online.” A Stephen Hawking-esque voice synthesizer performs “Ice Ice Baby.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Pricing the New Stuff (Premium Content)

New technologies, new equipment, and new applications can play havoc with traditional pricing. In the third installment of his series on pricing, Robert Lindgren looks at how to price new capabilities such as digital printing and VDP, wide-format printing on unique substrates, and more.


Tracking Shifts in the Customer Communications Market

As part of its coverage of the customer communications market, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends conducts annual research of enterprises and consumers. This article provides a brief overview of recent survey findings and also highlights the data points that will be uncovered in upcoming research.


Putting Numbers to Direct Mail’s Ability to Drive Purchases

In concert with Pebble Post, Murphy Research released a study that puts data to what we intuitively know but can’t always document: that direct mail drives purchase consideration and plays a central role in the path to purchase. These are good numbers to have!


Idealliance PPC: Global Collaboration—Where Standards are Born

Idealliance’s Ron Ellis and Tim Baechle provide an update on the Print Properties and Colorimetric Council (PPC), a global think tank in which the top color scientists, consultants, OEMs, brands, service providers, creatives, educators, and global innovators that develops standards, specifications, datasets, profiles, targets, research, and the globally leading practices in order to propel the industry forward.


EXCLUSIVE: Adobe, Datacolor, and CSI Team to Enhance Adobe Textile Designer (Premium Content)

Adobe, Datacolor, and Color Solutions International (CSI), have teamed up to continue the enhancement of Adobe Textile Designer for Photoshop by making it easier for designers to seamlessly capture inspiration colors, sending them directly into Photoshop. Adobe’s Mike Scrutton explains the details.


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