WhatTheyThink

Commentary & Analysis

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Cold Front Moves In – February 2016 M&A Activity

February 2016 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries.

Is the Positive Run for Commercial Printing Coming to a Close?

The latest printing shipments were discussed in the “Mondays with Dr. Joe” of March 7. The chart offers more details. Revenues turned around on a current dollar basis with June 2014 shipments (blue line) and the positive comparisons to the prior year kept going until the most recent report, January 2016. In current dollars, January’s shipments were barely above those of 2015, keeping the positive comparison streak intact.

National Print Owners Association Successfully Enters Post-Startup Phase

Starting a trade association isn’t the same thing as establishing a trade association. Giving it a base for an extended life of service to its members requires long-range planning and determined execution. This is the story of NPOA.

Marketing Your Print Business

As we move more business online, utilize digital communication channels, and look to diversify – our print business marketing becomes more critical to our overall business success.

The Printing Industry and Patent Trolls – An Update on the CTP and HQPI Patent Infringement Litigation Cases and their Negative Impact on Industry’s Companies

At a time when the printing industry is searching for new growth and development opportunities, it now faces new obstacles: patent trolls, the epitome of greed, thoughtlessness, and unethical behavior impacting the survival, growth, and development of printing and related companies.

Heidelberg Promises to Look “Smart” at drupa 2016 (Part I)

As the event nears, Heidelberg wants to be seen in a different light: less dependent on equipment, more open to partnership, wholly focused on production efficiency.

Textile Printing 101

Digital textile printing is seemingly everywhere, and many sources tout it as a high growth area. New product announcements are also coming thick and fast. But what are the basics of digital textile printing? This week, we offer a basic primer on the topic.

Economic Data: It's Okay to be Less Worried

The recovery indicators bounced back from a scary month. Printing shipments beat out a weak grounder to keep their winning streak alive, unless the statisticians call it an error. And how does that relate to employment? Dr. Joe explains that, negative interest rates, adds his constant tirade against buybacks, and tells us not to get caught up in that saw about half of people not paying taxes. What can we say? It's Dr. Joe. You know how he gets.

2016: It’s All in the Data!

Communicating with the right audience at the right time is not about capturing more data, but about capturing data that can drive better business decisions. This article highlights recent research and also includes quotes from industry experts to illuminate the importance of high-quality data.

Another New Business for EFI

EFI is using both organic growth and acquisitions to get to CEO Guy Gecht’s much publicized goal of reaching $1 billion in revenue this year, and another acquisition was added to the mix this week. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talked to EFI about how the acquisition of Rialco LLC fits into the mix.

Dscoop Collaboration Station – The Tech Talks

At Dscoop this year, we will be presenting a series of Tech Talks in the Dscoop Collaboration Station on the show floor. We are all on a steep learning curve when it comes to technology. Join us to get a dose of technology education across a wide range of topics. Bring your technology leaders to Dscoop; their importance to your business is growing!

Inkjet drupa 2016 – Continuing the Story - Canon

In this article, David Zwang looks at Canon’s new and updated production inkjet offerings in preparation for drupa 2016, with an eye on educating the marketplace on what is out there and what we may expect to see.

Labels and Packaging: Entrepreneurial Springboard for Che International Group

To build a multi-capable network of companies, what better place to begin than the label and packaging business? Just ask Christopher Che.

4Q-2015 GDP Revised Up from +0.7% to +1.0%, But Not as Good as It Seems

The second estimate of fourth quarter GDP was revised up from +0.7% to +1.0%, mainly from an increase in net inventories. This factor in the GDP calculation is volatile, so we track GDP with and without it to get a perspective of the underlying GDP rate from a long term perspective in a year-to-year comparison.

Beyond-the-Box Thinking at Canon Solutions America Anniversary Event

Canon Solutions America hosted its third anniversary event last week in Boca Raton, Fla., highlighting the state of the market, new product developments, and customer case studies. In this feature, we focus on the company’s wide-format offerings.

Pass the Word: Print Drives America

Printing is far bigger and much more influential than many people give it credit for. It’s time to correct the perception.

Broadband Hours and US Commercial Printing

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.

Brand Owners Are Driving Digital Packaging in 2016

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.

What Are Your Customers Hiring Web-to-Print Systems to Do?

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.

TAGA in Memphis: Tech, BBQ and Music

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.

Meet SGIA President and CEO Ford Bowers—Part 2

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.

Being Well-Adjusted is a Good Thing

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.

Company on Fire: Heidelberg Debuts a Branded Digital Printing Portfolio

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.

Selling to the Enterprise Market

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.

Services Can't Save the Economy if Manufacturing “Tanks”: It's All Connected

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 Retail Sales Still Growing at Nearly 15% Per Year

E-commerce sales of all types, including industrial products, is still growing at a rate just under 15% per year.

Is the Customer Always Right?

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.

Brain Science Deems Print a Brainy Choice for Marketers

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.

Meet SGIA President and CEO Ford Bowers—Part 1

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: Positioned for Growth

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.

Inkjet drupa 2016 – Continuing the Story

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.

What Price Privacy? The Pew Research Center Tries to Find Out

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.

Small and Medium-Sized Businesses: A Marketing Services Opportunity!

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.

Printing Was 1 of 8 Major Manufacturing Industries with Positive Growth in 2015

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.

Print MIS Product Spotlight: EFI’s Pace

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.

Packaging Finds Its Proper Place on the Agenda at EFI Connect 2016

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.

An Owner’s Strategy For A Receding Economy

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.

POP! Retail Display Proves Attractive – January 2016 M&A Activity

January 2016 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries

Printing Shipments Have a Good Year Despite Mixed Signals from the Economy

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.

The Road to Wideformat Commoditization

Commoditization has come creeping into wide-format and specialty graphics, but does it mean the end of profitability?

Commercial Printing Prices Less Than December 2007; Paper and Ink Higher

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.

No Packaging Necessary—No Question?

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.

Catalogs: The Power to Drive Sales

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.

Recovery Indicators Show Economic Slowdown Underway

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.

Build Collaboration into Your Meetings to Innovate

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.

IDEAlliance and Epicomm Join Forces for the Benefit of the Industry

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.

Fresh, Flexible, and Family-Inspired: Values that Breed Success at Emerald Packaging

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.

4Q-2015 GDP Disappoints at +0.7%; 2015 GDP +1.8%

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%.

Wideformat Regulatory Outlooks for 2016

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.

Direct Mail in 2016: Print Providers Need to Deliver… and Some Are!

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.

Cloud Product Usage in the Printing Industry

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.

Print Software Success Requires Collaboration at All Levels

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.

Web-to-Print Product Spotlight: Propago Marketing Management Platform

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.

Advanced Materials for Advanced Applications

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.

Revenues Go One Way, Profits Go the Other

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.

Gecht and Wynn at EFI Connect: for Printers, the Ultimate Vegas Double Bill

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.

Inkjet Ecosystems: Notes From 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.

Direct Mail’s Integral Role in the Marketing Mix: A Direct Marketer’s Perspective

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.

Consolidation is Somewhat Different Than Industry Common Wisdom

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.

Marketing Services, Cross-Media, and YOUR Print Business

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.

Wide-Format Quick Hits for January

Herewith a handful of recent new announcements that caught your Section Editor’s eye.

X-Rite Pantone’s CEO Ron Voigt Shares Insights

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.

What’s in Your Wallet? A Printed Piece of $1.34 Trillion

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.

Chatbooks: Linking the Physical and Digital Worlds

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.

Direct Mail: Integral to the Marketing Mix in 2016

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.

NFIB Small Business Index Still Shows Weak Small Business

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.

3D Printing Makes Room for a Fourth “D”

Just when we thought that the definition of “printing” had been pushed to the limit, along comes a new one that envisions morphing objects made of self-assembling materials.

Data Modeling: A Critical Juncture of Print MIS implementations

In Print MIS implementations, your business data entered into the Print MIS database structure creates the data model of your business. Your attention to detail at this critical juncture of Print MIS implementations can set you up for success.

Gestalting the Printing Industry - 2016 Mergers and Acquisitions Forecast

December 2015 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries

Heidelberg Crosses the Digital Divide: an Interview with Jason Oliver

Now a committed developer of digital printing systems, Heidelberg knows where it wants to go in the digital equipment market and what it can do to get there.

What’s New(s) In Flatbed Wide-Format Printers?

Our annual rundown of the current flatbed wide-format printer landscape.

Early Economic Confusion Puts 2016 on Uncertain Footing

It is times like these that make one yearn for one-armed economists. What should we believe? The crazy gyrations of the stock market? The collapse of commodity prices? Or what might be a surge in employment? No wonder Dr. Joe's lost his hair. He adds his comments to the economic stew.

An American Journalist in Cuba

After the U.S. executive order in early 2015 that allowed more classes of U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba without seeking prior U.S. government approval, I decided I would like to visit the island to learn more about the culture and doing business there. In my role as a journalist covering the printing, packaging and publishing industries, the goal was to visit those types of companies.

2016: The Year of the Customer Experience

Whether improving direct customers’ experiences or the experiences of clients’ customers with better communication products, a positive customer experience delivers bottom-line results. This article provides InfoTrends’ recommendations on areas that print service providers should focus on in the year ahead as they strive to improve the customer experience.

What Share of Shipments is Sold by “Marketing Service Providers”?

For about a decade, many print businesses have marketed themselves as “marketing services providers” with varying degrees of success. Our recent survey showed less than half of print businesses market themselves in this or a similar manner.

VistaPrint and the Upload-and-Print Market

Cimpress (parent company of VistaPrint) is expanding into the core of the print market; “upload-and-print”. They are buying demand generators and no doubt investing in user experiences that will enable self-service online purchasing of print for the largest segment of the print industry (manufacturing of the customer’s design/file).

Recovery Indicators Look More Like Recession Indicators – Are They?

Are the recovery indicators becoming recession indicators There's enough negative news of late to be wary about the state of the economy, and a lengthening list of geopolitical issues, for sure.

Eighteen Months of Industry Growth, Beating the Economy, Too

US commercial printing industry shipments are up for 18 consecutive months in current dollars compared to the corresponding month of the prior year.

Digital Applications Make Gains in Packaging, but Progress Is Hard Won

A special report ahead of drupa 2016 sees the event as the setting for a turning point in the adoption of digital printing for packaging production.

What’s New(s) in Roll-to-Roll Printers?

Our annual rundown of the current rollfed wide-format printer landscape.

Cimpress CEO Robert Keane Shares Thoughts on Business Growth

In December, Cimpress, the parent company of Vistaprint, announced plans to acquire German web-to-print company WIRmachenDRUCK. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talks to CEO Robert Keane to find out more about the company’s strategies and growth plans.

Three Critical Trends for 2016

As the end of the year approaches, it becomes helpful to think about the trends that will likely impact our industry in the future. This article offers a top-level overview of three trends that are expected to impact commercial printers and in-plant printers in the coming year.

Printing Profits Dive as Large Printers Have Massive Writedowns

The third quarter of 2015 marked a huge divergence in the performance of the industry, according to the Department of Commerce Quarterly Financial Report. Printers with more than $25 million in assets wrote down assets amounting to nearly -15% of revenues. This sent the quarterly moving total of inflation-adjusted profits before taxes to +$1.46 billion.

Wideformat 2016: The Road Ahead

Last week, we took a wide-format look back at 2015. Now let’s switch directions. What can we expect in 2016? Before we answer that, though, what is 2016 likely to hold for the printing industry in general?

Happy to Be Content, But Not To Ship It

We took a survey of printers and they told us they were really happy. We got data about ad agency revenues and their revenues is still heading up. A big consulting firm says digital content will be bigger than ever. The post office data tells us there's less and less of their work in our mailboxes. The world is full of contradictory trends, and Dr. Joe sorts them out.

2016 Printing Industry Business Conditions Report

These are the results of the Economics and Research Center’s (ERC) survey conducted in October and November 2015.

#SharePackage Puts Holiday Boxes to Compassionate Use

A promotional campaign for paper and packaging goes for the heartstrings with special boxes to be filled with gifts for kids spending the holidays in hospitals.

The Graphical Genius of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity is 100 years old, but his appeal as a creative inspiration for graphic illustrators is 100 years young.

Print Catalogs Are Back this Holiday Season… And for Good Reason!

The print medium is returning as an important marketing and sales tool. This holiday season, firms like Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue are sending more targeted and specialized catalogs. This article cites InfoTrends’ recent research to explore how catalogs are cutting through the clutter in today’s digital world.

How the Business Structure of Commercial Printers Changed from 2008 to 2013

The recession started just before 2008 was beginning and the latest data from the County Business Patterns report shows how the business formats of the industry changed by 2013.

Get Comfortable with Change

Last week I attended Singularity University’s Executive Program in Silicon Valley. The best way to describe what happened to me after a week of hearing some of the brightest people in tech talk about the future is that they dramatically changed my perspective. Come to find out, I had a very narrow lens through which I viewed the world; they replaced it with a wide angle lens that goes beyond our planet and looks far into the future.

Patent Troll Targeting Printing Companies that use Common Web-to-Print Functionality

A company called High Quality Printing Inventions, LLC, is using a patent initially granted to Moore (now R.R. Donnelley) to file patent infringement lawsuits in the U.S. District Courts in a litigation campaign against several printing companies using common web-to-print functionality.

Tech Trends for Labels and Packaging: the Year in Review

2015 was a chock-full-of-news year on the technology front—but only a curtain-raiser for what lies ahead in 2016.

Stocking Stuffers: “The 12 Days of Packaging”

Santa Claus, who knows a thing or two about packaging, has a sackful of innovations for fans of the art form this year.

That Was the Year That Was: A Wide-Format Look Back at 2015

What were the top growth areas for wide-format in 2015? What applications are ascendant? What technologies are emerging and evolving?

Another Exciting Chapter for SG360?

Integrated direct marketing solutions provider SG360° made an exciting announcement the other day, and I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss it.

Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ - November 2015 M&A Activity

Saugatuck Capital bolts Plymouth Printing onto Pharmaceutic Litho & Label, Rondo-Pak adds Contemporary Graphics to US pharma printing platform, Firespring evolves into MSP, Circle Graphics corrals grand format printer Imagic, the Mittera Group continues traditional printing rollup.

Print Business Leadership – Give Yourself a Promotion

Rather than face the reality that all print businesses need to evolve, many print owners default to staying “busy” running the business the way it’s been run for years. Don’t be tempted to “numb yourself” by keeping busy, the market conditions are indisputable, the past performance of your print business is not indicative of future results. We are operating in a different reality with very compelling digital alternatives to print communication.

Holiday Retailing Season Is Shaping Up Nicely - with a Few New Twists

For the holidays, “shop early and shop often” is still good advice—assuming that you know what “early” now is starting to mean in the retailing world.

Commercial Printing is Closing 2015 with Historic High in Key Metric

Last week's unemployment report did it again, it was all wrapped up in a pretty package but it seemed empty when you looked inside. Contents must have settled during shipping. Speaking of content, employment in agencies and designers are up strongly compared to last year. The content creation business is doing well. Commercial printers are reconfiguring their businesses and produced an historic high in shipments per employee. Dr. Joe has the details.