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Brands, agencies, and traditional media marketers are finding innovative ways to utilize mobile barcodes as an effective means of passing product information in-store, bringing static ads to life, and engaging customers through contests or loyalty reward systems. This article considers some of the things that successful marketers are doing to optimize the print/mobile customer experience.
We’ve all heard about the promise that personalized communications can deliver, and many service providers have gotten in the game, creating more competition than ever before. While there is substantial opportunity, service providers need to expand capabilities, differentiate offerings, and meet marketers’ needs to remain competitive.
While he loves computers, when it comes to dinnertime, Dr. Joe still prefers food. Seems the Fed would prefer we think otherwise. As far as understanding inflation at its core, a good meal can go a long way if you have the money for it. He takes a new look at a dead French economist. And considers the print execs you won’t see in San Francisco mid-April.
We have all seen the words at the bottom of the email “Save a tree – Don’t print this”. Paper is getting a bad rap and it is important that we communicate the positive aspects of paper. Domtar and other industry members have been working to educate the public on paper use and its impact. This article summarizes some of the key issues.
HP is upping the ante in the inkjet game with the new T400 Color Inkjet Web Press announced today during a press event being held at Los Angeles based O'Neil Data Systems. With a 42” web width, the T400 offers more than just raw speed, promising to be a game changer for several target markets.
Sales is the start of every business process, this is where expectations are set. The temptation to say “yes” to everything has repercussions downstream especially with technology sales.
"What's my company worth to a buyer?" Easy to ask, but not so easy to answer correctly. This month, New Direction Partners and Margolis Becker explain the multiple-of-EBITDA formula that's used to determine pricing in many conventional acquisitions. They also discuss asset-based valuation for tuck-ins and note the commission structures that sellers can expect to receive in M&As of this type.
Andy hadn’t heard much reporting on the process of adding inkjet printing heads to existing equipment - so he went out looking for it. He’s covered the latest and greatest on inkjet finshing , and he visited one of the largest UK direct mail printers to see how they’re utilizing the technology.
On Friday, March 4th, DG3 North America announced the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of The Ace Group of Manhattan. DG3 touted its ability to expand its Interactive Services group through this acquisition. This interview with Ace Group’s Val DiGiacinto and DG3’s Tom Saggiomo digs deeper into the transaction and what it holds for the future of both firms.
In 2010, Scott Belsky published a book entitled Making Ideas Happen. In last week’s article, Barb Pellow discussed how the recent Dscoop6 conference provided a demonstration of Belsky’s ideas in action. This article explains the dynamics required to make ideas happen. It also details how executives from companies like Tukaiz and Frecklebox are leading by example.
The Fourth Annual Print UV Conference brought printers and vendors together to pool their knowledge, share tips, techniques, and processes, and solve problems. Two days’ worth of sessions showcased new ink and substrate developments, case studies, and a plethora of panel discussions and interactive Q&As.
Dr. Webb comments on what the forecasting models are projecting for shipments out to 2017. The podcast also includes an analysis of how the industry has changed between 2000 and 2009 based on the latest data from the Commerce Department.
Over the course of the last decade, Web-enabled printing has grown from 3% of overall print shipments to 15%, and that number is expected to double over the next five years. It is clearly time for print businesses to overcome the technological, cultural, and educational barriers of Web enablement and engagement to capture this growing opportunity.
Reading past the headlines seems to be Dr. Joe's specialty since no one else is doing it, especially with last Friday's unemployment report. Printing shipments were up in 2010, and January was a strong month, but printing employment seems to tell a different tale. Beware of academics bearing jargon: Dr. Joe explains why “Ph.D.” sometimes, as the old joke goes, means “piled higher and deeper.”
In 2010, Scott Belsky published a book entitled Making Ideas Happen. The premise for this book is that anyone can develop the capacity to make ideas happen. In this article, Barb Pellow discusses her experiences from the recent Dscoop6 conference and explains how the event provided a demonstration of Belsky’s ideas in action.
Baltimore-based Vertis Communications exited from its second bankruptcy in two years just before the start of 2011. As Gerald Sokol Jr. replaces former Xerox executive Quincy L. Allen as chief executive officer, the company now hopes to make big changes and advance into new partnerships.
Knight Foundation director of digital media John Bracken gave the keynote address at Graphics of the Americas last week in which he discussed the future of media and journalism in the age of social media. Other sessions focused on traditional print business issues, as well as integrating new and social media initiatives.
One of the more important announcements at Hunkeler Innovationdays was the Xerox waterless production inkjet engine; Xerox updates its positioning. Soon after this event was the long-awaited announcement by Heidelberg of its digital partner—Ricoh. Sherburne highlights pros and cons of this arrangement and shares a prepared statement from Xerox along with some interview comments about the deal.
The FESPA Americas’ Global Business Forum devoted a half-day suite of sessions to sustainability in the printing industry, offering perspectives from equipment vendors, commercial printers, certification organizations, and independent consultants—as well as a keynote address from Nike.
The business process of print spans the needs of several technology solutions. Whenever multiple technologies exist, there is potential overlap and the need for integration. Get clear on what each technology’s core purpose is and then determine your source of master data throughout your workflow.
Two-dimensional barcodes have become the hot new response mechanism to use in marketing campaigns. While they add interactivity to print by connecting it directly to mobile devices, mobile barcodes can easily be misused and abused. By delivering a seamless, engaging experience, print and marketing service providers can achieve mobile marketing success and repeatable business.
The upcoming Print UV Conference in Las Vegas will offer a wealth of information and resources about the technological, environmental, and business opportunities to be had with UV printing. Sessions run the gamut from new inks and substrates to selling and marketing UV-printed products.
As Heidelberg announces its plans to partner with Ricoh on a digital printing venture, Andy Tribute sees that Heidelberg has learned its lesson from its last foray into digital. He looks at the features of the press, its place in the pressroom and Heidelberg’s new relationship with Ricoh.
This year’s Hunkeler Innovationdays, held in Switzerland every other year, was a resounding success by anyone’s measure. More than 5,000 attendees descended on Lucerne, Switzerland, taking up just about every available hotel room, to benefit from this highly focused digital printing event. Several suppliers chose this venue to make important announcements and to discuss future and planned digital printing/finishing innovations.
Just as the economy seems to be improving, Dr. Joe is back with his Dr. Doom persona. He thinks it's justified based on the latest inflation and wage data, and makes the case accordingly. The pace of technological change seems to be independent of the economic situation, and while Dr. Joe suggests that caution is the economic watchword, he says that the continued rapid rate of technological change should lead to urgent and direct management action in print businesses.
Next week’s 36th annual Graphics of the Americas show, colocated with FESPA Americas, increases its focus on educational programs for present and prospective wide-format service providers. The show also retains its focus on traditional printing, as well as content creation via the colocated Cre8 Conference targeted to graphic designers and publishers.
Being in a rapidly evolving industry is always challenging. As you decide where to focus your business for the future, think about looking outside the industry for inspiration and new ideas. Here are two very different industries that bear an uncanny resemblance to printing/graphic arts – and offer lessons you can use in your own business.
Generating relevant marketing communications generally means creating personalization or customization for potential customers. Print and marketing service providers that are successfully participating in the more lucrative data-driven marketing value chain have four common traits—culture, people and processes, data, and technology. This article discusses the importance of these traits and includes examples of companies that are profiting from data-driven marketing.
This article examines how to differentiate your printing company through the use of large format press equipment. It looks at how large format presses can create a competitive advantage for your company. Costs associated with moving to large format press equipment are also considered.
The partners at New Direction Partners join financial management firm Margolis Becker for the monthly Cup O Joe, a conference call with printers on a selected topic. With the help of NDP partners Peter Schaefer and Jim Russell, Cup O Joe tackled the topic “Acquiring A Company from an Owner’s Perspective.” Some excerpts are presented here.
Hunkeler Innovationdays running this week in Switzerland will cover trends and developments in digital printing and print finishing for digital printing. The following is a brief outline of the event, identifying some major announcements being made. WhatTheyThink will report on the event, keeping up to date with the latest news.
Xerox chose Hunkeler Innovationdays 2011 in Lucerne, Switzerland as its platform to make its long-awaited production inkjet announcement. The company has been showing technology concepts, beginning with drupa 2008, and speculation was it would be some time before they were able to get a product to market. That time has come, with an innovative waterless printing process that can use virtually any type of uncoated substrate without pretreatment.
Customers are clearly in control of the media they consume. Mobile devices, iPods, DVRs, and the Internet have changed marketing forever. Effectively utilizing cross-media communication and giving prospects a variety of ways to respond can have a dramatic impact. Media dynamics are changing and we’ve covered how businesses are taking advantage of this evolution.
Océ’s Envision the Future Forum, held last week in Houston, TX, drew on keynote presentations, strategy sessions, networking opportunities, and a print shop tour to help printers understand which aspects of print are growing, get a sneak peak at some cutting-edge “interactive print” applications, and develop business strategies for success.
Print businesses are actively diversifying their services to include marketing services, online print ordering, and more. To enable quicker time-to-market and offer greater differentiation, printers are shifting the roles of their IT departments away from administration and closer to development. This article discusses why this shift is occurring and how your business can effectively deal with it.
Sometimes you see a lot by looking, according to famed economist Yogi Berra. Somehow, the labor statisticians’ “whoops” factor involves over-counting the number of employed people by a mere half million. Then they say unemployment got better, except, of course, for the parts that got worse. At least there was exceptionally good news from the Institute of Supply Management reports, the best in quite a while. Dr. Joe explains what printers should assume in their planning, saying that skill really matters, and that luck will have nothing to do with it.
December 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.48 billion, up $347 million (+4.9%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +3.3%. This brought the year's shipments to $86.7 billion.
Andy Tribute looks at how the agreement between Océ and manroland is about more than just distribution but an opportunity for these two companies to leverage their strengths. And Andy tells us what's the big deal about Kodak entering the consulting business for the printing and publishing markets.
In mid-January, show organizers for PrintChina 2011 hosted more than 40 journalists from around the world to raise awareness about the importance of PrintChina and to encourage foreign visitors to attend the show. WhatTheyThink represented North America at this event, which featured presentations from government, industry and supplier representatives as well as a visit to a Chinese printing factory. Interesting data, and some thoughts about the future of print in China. Read more.
Last week, EFI and Heidelberg announced an agreement under which Heidelberg will distribute the VUTEk GS series of superwide format digital printers to the commercial print market across the U.S. WhatTheyThink spoke with both Heidelberg and EFI to get the inside scoop on this deal.
This article provides a case history of the Allegra Network, a Michigan-based company that began franchising in 1977 and launched its franchise brand name in 1996. The Allegra Network is embarking on an aggressive plan to help its members evolve into cross-media specialists and marketing service providers who also excel at the delivery of print.
Vistaprint has been a unique model of success within the printing industry – particularly during financial downswings. Here is a closer look at the company as it seeks to stay ahead with new product lines and capitalizing on the Asia-Pacific market.
As social media become more and more popular for personal use, it is becoming an increasingly common tool in the corporate world. Companies utilize social media in a number of ways to accomplish a variety of tasks. The print industry is not immune. Learn how they’re finding value in posting, updating and tweeting online.
Knowing when to do the deal is probably the trickiest judgment call in any merger of printing companies. Correct timing is a must for both parties, but choosing the right moment to step forward into the M&A marketplace rests with the seller. It’s a decision that calls for introspective as well as strategic thinking.
Where does your business transition start? Changing WHAT you do or HOW you do it? The first step to evolving your business in the digital economy is to transition your existing business from an offline business to a primarily online business (HOW you do your business is leveraging the digital infrastructure).
As communications channels and tools undergo seismic changes…and as sourcing options continue to expand…it has never been more vital to understand, build upon and expand your core competencies and company strengths. Here are some tools, techniques and elements that can help you discover and take maximum advantage of what your company really does best.
November 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.48 billion, up $303 million (+4.2%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +4.2%. “This was a very encouraging month, and continues the consecutive gain in current dollar shipments for eight months,” explained Dr. Joe Webb, director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.
It’s no secret that the methods companies use to communicate with the public have begun shifting to electronic media. As printers shift to electronic media services and print e-commerce storefronts, the sources they use to obtain industry information are also changing. Recent research gives us a glimpse into the top sources that printers are leveraging to stay informed.
The recent study by PRIMIR showed the changes in the printing market for offset and digital and looked at when the “tipping point” when digital would be of more value than offset would take place. This article looks at the PRIMIR projections and compares them with figures generated by Heidelberg. The assessment shows that the “tipping point” is still years away and that there is a good future for offset printing.
Upcoming FESPA Americas 2011 to Offer Unique Hands-On Events for Screen, Textile, and Wide-Format Printers
FESPA Americas 2011 comes to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, in February, and offers business strategies, market trends, new technologies, and unique hands-on workshops for commercial printers, wide-format specialists, and screen printers. The Wrap Cup Masters is an open competition where contestants vie to wrap a variety of vehicles right at the show.