Nearly 2,000 marketers attended, up from about 1,350 last year, to hear 50 speakers from companies including Google, Starbucks, Adidas, Twitter and more. Ricoh was one of 100 exhibitors with a very busy booth that featured lots of information and examples of cross-media marketing solutions, featuring direct mail.
The Securities and Exchange Commission wants to modernize the way the investment industry reports on what it does. The plan could include freeing these companies from having to print and mail certain shareholder documents.
Data offers businesses new opportunities to better understand their customers through a limitless number of sources, including purchasing behaviors, interactions, demographics, and history. Last week’s article discussed the challenges that marketers face in today’s data-driven world, and this one explores the strategies that Innovairre is pursuing to help clients effectively use data.
July's inflation-adjusted US commercial printing shipments continued to outshine prior year shipment levels. This was the best July since 2008 on a current dollar basis and since 2010 on an inflation-adjusted basis. On average, monthly industry shipments have been about $200 million higher than the year before. They are also tracking closer to GDP growth rates, a feat the industry has not done for almost two decades.
A sales focus is external. A production focus is internal. A sales focused print business leader is constantly asking the question, “How does this activity/investment improve my customer’s experience or business?” A sales focused print leader escorts the external rate of change into the business at a rate that often makes their employees uncomfortable.
Four of the six recovery indicators fell last month, but the non-manufacturing new orders indicator remained very strong. World markets had a rocky month, and the NASDAQ fell -7% since the last indicators.
As wide-format and specialty graphics play a larger role in the industry, they are also playing a larger role at general commercial printing shows like Graph Expo. Here is a preview of some things to look for at this year’s show.
You remember the effect the Internet had on your business from 1995 through today? It’s nothing compared to what’s coming your way now. That’s the basis of a new book that is a must-read for anyone who owns or manages a business. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Scott Stawski about Inflection Point: How the convergence of cloud, mobility, apps and data will shape the future of business.
Corporations are increasingly relying on data to learn about customers, invest in new products and services, adjust sales and marketing activities, and assess new market opportunities. This article discusses the challenges that marketers face in today’s data-driven world.
The first report of Q2-2015 real GDP was +2.3%, and now it's been raised to +3.7%, well ahead of forecaster expectations. On a longer-term year-to-year basis, the growth rate is +2.5%, still almost a full percentage point below post-WW2 average.
Longer term rate +2.5%. The effects of inventory increases is still a major factor in the growth, but there were other positives in the report implying that Q2 was broadly better than originally thought. There are concerns among professional forecasters that the inventory buildup will result in slower growth as those stockpiles are reduced. Considering that two thirds of the third quarter is almost complete, we know that international trade is being disrupted by currency and solvency issues in China and other countries. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta GDPNow estimates that third quarter GDP will be at +1.4%. Please also note a recent chart where we showed important key indicators that have yet to surpass their recession levels from Q4-2007.
A web-to-print demo is your chance to demonstrate how your print software technology solves the relevant challenges of a specific customer. The key words are “relevant challenges” and “specific customer”. Do your homework so your demonstration addresses what the customer actually cares about.
In an increasingly complex and demanding printing environment, color management is critical. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Canon Solutions America executives to learn more about how Canon is approaching this issue.
The News Corp CEO says that social media companies are responsible for the 'unnatural act' of redistributing content. The company that overpaid for MySpace, failed in social media, repeats the fears of copiers and VCRs from decades ago. We found out that Amazon is a great company and a horrible employer in a story perfect for cross media. Central banks play the devaluation game and say that they were manipulated into doing it. Sure, blame Kazakhstan. How can making something float cause it to sink? Dr. Joe explains it all.
Are inkjet presses a disruptive technology? This article will discuss the definition of a “disruptive technology,” determine if the data surrounding inkjet presses fulfills the criteria, and explore the ongoing impact of production inkjet printing.
The per capita value of US commercial printing shipments has stabilized at nearly $270, and the recent change in the direction of shipments in the last year or so has changed the forecasts. Forecast models place heavy weight on recent history, and that fact has changed the forecast for 2020 to remain at current levels. It was not long ago that the models forecast 2020 consumption at near zero, an unlikely outcome, but one worth pondering. Will shipments stay at these levels? That's unlikely, too, as media formats and loyalties are still changing.
Advancements in flexible materials have made them mainstay substrates for food and beverage packaging all around the world. A new report foresees solid growth for the sector in most regions from now through 2020.
Creative businesses are leveraging new digital finishing technologies to drive new business, new designs, and entry into entirely new markets for printing and packaging companies. Brands are also turning to paper structures to get their message out and enhance their displays. Learn how digital finishing techniques are revolutionizing the world of paper creations in this article sponsored by Highcon.
Parents know this refrain well – “Are we there yet?” – just as they know the answer – “In a little while.” I spend my working life with printing technology and have heard this for many years. In the case of inkjet, this is a recurring theme. And while we are not there yet, we are getting much closer.
There are numerous data series that explain that the economy has never recovered from the recession. These are not obscure data series, but mainstream ones. Gross Domestic Product should be the standard for determining the status of an economy (thick blue line). Movements in GDP should be confirmed by other measures. This week's chart uses the start of the recession, December 2007, as the base, which is 100.
To remain competitive in today’s transitional market, printers are embracing the importance of adding value. This article leverages InfoTrends’ research to explore how value-added services can contribute to business growth.
For many people, an empty package is an artist’s kit full of creative opportunity. Brand owners may not fully appreciate how they benefit when their packaging is repurposed for fun or practicality by end-using consumers.
Maintaining and paying for multiple web-to-print solutions is more expensive than you think. Transitioning off legacy systems has positive repercussions for your technical resources and your customers.
“Our aim is to become a company that is truly indispensable to our customers,” said Minoru Usui, Global President of Seiko Epson, kicking off “Experience Epson,” a day of interactive demos of a cross-section of Epson technologies, from wide-format printing, to interactive whiteboards, to golf swing analyzers, to Augmented Reality-based headsets, to…well, you name it. The event was held last week in New York City.
Blue Octopus is furthering its ability to create employment opportunities for veterans with disabilities by improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of its printing operations. Learn more about how this entrepreneurial organization is blending print and social consciousness to make a better world, in this article sponsored by HP.
Increasing printing shipments could give him a new name of “Dr. Boom” rather than his old doomish monicker. Employment is up in advertising and public relations, yet again. Dr. Joe swirls in some comments about the overall economy and explains his role in a new management program to be unveiled at Graph Expo.
According to Josh Linkner’s book entitled The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation, some leaders freeze instead of acting because they are concerned about the consequences of change. This article explores how McBattas disrupted the status quo and reinvented itself with digital folding cartons.
US commercial printing shipments are up about +3.5% for January to June compared to the same period in 2014. The industry has been restructuring, as employment continues to decline. Usually employment and shipment levels move together in a tight range if not almost in lockstep.
Companies that print food labels work hard to make sure that the information on them is correct. It’s a matter of professional pride and, very often, also one of complying with the law. But, out there in the consumer marketplace, who cares?
From wood, to glass, to textiles, to animal pelts—and even to paper—ARB Digital takes on challenging projects, thanks to founder Alvaro Rodriguez’s background in tech support, color management, and software development.
Earlier this month, Chicago-based Tukaiz announced the opening of its in-house boutique creative division known as agenz. Highlighting points from a recent Rick Webb book, this article explores how today’s businesses can make the transition to offering agency-oriented services.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis released the report of 2015's second quarter GDP. At +2.3%, it was below expectations of financial forecasters who were looking for +2.6%. This advance report of GDP was in line with the GDPNow estimate of the Atlanta Federal Reserve which was at +2.4%.
Inflation is supposedly tame, but if you're making comparisons of current year financial data to prior years, you still need to adjust for the years when inflation was not. The chart was created from Consumer Price Index data for each of the years specified. When looking at your company history, multiply your data for each year by the multiplier specified. This will give you an approximation for the effects of inflation on your business, and make your historical analysis, especially in the process of budgeting, to be more realistic. Adjusting your data, even in periods of claimed low inflation, creates a sense of more urgent action. Inflation means that to stay at the same level you actually need more dollars. Staying the same is actually a cut.
The data that you rely on from the Print MIS will only be useful and reliable if it is complete and accurate. So, how do you encourage your team to participate completely and consistently in the Print MIS?
Adobe is taking mobile app creation to a brand-new level with the launch of Adobe Digital Publishing Solution 2015. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Adobe’s Bridget Roman and Colin Fleming to learn more.
Much has been written about what business owners should do to improve the value of their business. So much so, that when it comes to developing a set of priorities to get ready for a sales or other transfer process, uncertainty and confusion reign supreme.
What is the difference between a “green” business and a “sustainable” one? What are some unique approaches to the concept of sustainability that printing companies—large- and small-format—are taking? In the end, it’s not just about making the company sustainable, but rather the entire supply chain.
Today’s marketers are seeking partners that can help them deliver the right message at the right time, while also delivering the most effective data strategies to ensure that offers are not dead on arrival. This article explores how print service providers can capitalize on this opportunity by building data expertise.
June retail sales adjusted for inflation fell -0.6% compared to May. Month-to-month changes are somewhat volatile, so it's better to look at the comparisons to the prior year. The chart shows that June retail sales were +1.2% compared to last year, the worst comparison since March 2014. There are signs that the economy is slowing again. In the first quarter, real retail sales were +2.6% compared to the prior year, but this second quarter is only +1.6%. The economy always has conflicting positive and negative data, but this downturn in a key sector of the economy is likely to raise some eyebrows among economists and policymakers.
Launching any new print software technology can feel risky. With the rate of change in both our businesses and software technology, we have to create a culture that is comfortable with launching early and iterating through issues. It is impossible to predict every possible scenario; it is liberating to accept that finding issues post-launch is part of the plan.
The NFIB Small Business Index was released this week, “The weakness was substantial across the board, showing no signs of a growth spurt in the near future,” according to Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB Chief Economist. “Declines in spending plans accounted for 30 percent of the Index decline, and weaker expectations for real sales and business conditions another 20 percent. The deterioration in earnings trends accounted for about a quarter of the decline.”
Packaging is one area of the printing industry where growth continues. But it is not without its challenges. Learn how leading packaging converters are leveraging digital technology to address time-to-market challenges and developing new revenue streams in this article sponsored by Highcon.
SGIA’s Dan Marx shares some of his organization’s most recent research on industrial printing. What technologies are companies in the industrial printing space using? What products and technologies have they been investing in? Where do they see the most (and least) growth opportunities? What is their business outlook?
One of the keys to effectively running a world-class company is finding ways to constantly increase productivity. This article explores the importance of measuring operational performance and discusses various strategies for doing so.
Print software is an infrastructure investment in our increasing online and digital economy. Adopting a strategic infrastructure approach to investing in and implementing print software will be a key differentiator for print businesses moving forward.
Yesterday, EFI and FedEx Office announced that FedEx Office is using EFI products for a more cost-effective and streamlined delivery of professional print services. I spoke to Udi Arieli, EFI’s Director, High End Market Business Development, EFI Productivity Software, to get the scoop for this WhatTheyThink exclusive.
New applications for outdoor graphics are appearing all the time, and new printing technologies are revitalizing some older applications. Some considerations if you are looking at outdoor graphics, and a look at one South Florida shop that has carved out a niche in the great outdoors.
UK-based Blackdog Digital is a terrific example of a company that has morphed from being a commercial printer to a digital printer to a variable data printer to a full-service provider of cross-media campaigns. Blackdog’s Phil Copperwheat shares his thoughts on the company’s transformation and what other companies need to do to get in the cross-media game.
Commercial printing shipments have been much higher than they are in today's market, but the bounce off the lows of 2014 this year have been notable. The comparisons toward the end of 2015 will be harder to top since the industry started to show this bounceback at the end of 2014. The transformation of commercial printing businesses has been an arduous one, with volume declines of many mainstream products, but a rise in specialty applications. Those new applications are often based in digital printing, such as wide format specialties. There's also a new generation of print business managers who are not burdened by the myopia of history, where print was paramount. These executives and owners have grown up with computers and gadgets and have a better sense of print's new role in media communications
Without leaving their homes or offices, individuals can assess and evaluate an array of products and services. The most successful firms understand that the lifetime value of a customer is more important than the value of the initial transaction. This article explores how Kohler Co. partnered with OneTouch Point to stand out from the competition and maximize the value of long-term customer relationships.
Staffing your technology is as important as staffing your presses. The top characteristics for good technical resources: understand the limits of your knowledge, resist making assumptions, and see opportunities rather than roadblocks.
As our readers may know, Aurelio Maruggi led the InkJet High-speed Production Solutions (IHPS) division at HP since its inception and has recently moved to a new role within HP. He spent a lot of time with customers and really understood the business and their needs. His successor, Eric Wiesner, has a very different background, but one that is equally valuable to HP and customers alike. I had the chance to speak with him recently about his background and his thoughts about the future.
We’ve been writing about the adoption of digital publishing tools for publishing and sales enablement. The next wave for this discipline is a natural: employee engagement. We spoke with Douglas Fajardo, CEO of Mirum Miami, an agency working with Sony Latin America, about the impact Sony’s employee engagement app is having on its employee on-boarding process.
Colorado-based EPS Doublet creates amazing event experiences for its many marquis customers and is an expert in experiential marketing. See how the company leverages large- and small-format digital printing to bring innovative solutions to its customers in this article sponsored by HP Graphics Solutions Business.
According to McKinsey & Company, following the leader can be dangerous to your future profitability. This article explores four steps for optimizing performance in today’s digital world, and also discusses the importance of developing a digital quotient.
We all know how the markets seem to panic when the Fed hints that rates will be rising soon, but they already have. That is, the markets have been pushing up the inflation-adjusted 10-year US Treasury since September 2011 by 420 basis points (4.2 percentage points).
The rate is now the highest since June 2010, at 2.33%. This measure can be volatile because of the inflation adjustment. We used the year-to-year inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index for that reason. There are Fed governors who believe that they have great latitude to be patient with a rise in inflation since their target of +2% annual inflation has not been met. This means that they believe they have a cushion of “banked” uncreated inflation that they can use up before they move aggressively.
Whatever the case, a 25 basis point rise in short term rates is not much, as they might actually be catching up to the marketplace that has already moved and the Fed is already lagging well behind it. They miss an important point. The CPI does not measure inflation in a practical way. If wages are stagnant (though a little better lately), a “mild” 2% rise can be a burden.
Median household income is still 4% lower than its peak just after the recession started. A 2% rise in inflation plus the 4% lower income is a 6% difference. That's something that's rarely mentioned in the business press.
Software is mission critical to your business, like other infrastructure investments it takes time and effort to make the best decisions, plan to get the most ROI, and continue to build differentiation in the marketplace. Optimizing your print software investments comes with challenges which every printer faces in order to compete in an increasingly online, digital world.
In this article, David Zwang looks at the evolution of Color Management in light of the recent approval of CxF3 as a standard by the ISO, what exciting new things it can bring to the process of Color Management in design and production, and what the future holds.
The community of U.S. Esko users descended upon the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Arizona earlier this week to sharpen their skills, answer questions, get product roadmaps, and network with Esko executives and engineers as well as a diverse group of their peers.
Since the start of the recovery all the way back in mid-2009, advertising agency revenues have increased by +$32 billion, +40% since that time. There are many economic indicators that have never recovered (such as full time jobs) but ad agency revenues have blown through the pre-recession high of $91 billion and is now running at the rate of $112 billion annually. The agencies have had this performance because they are immersed in the media upheaval, riding and stoking the changes in communications formats on behalf of their clients. Wages have followed this shift in media, and has been documented by us before. The average public relations pay is about $10,000 more than the averaged of all agency wages. Book publishing industry revenues have stabilized, and trends of newspaper and periodical publishing revenues are still down, but at a lesser rate.
Smart screens that look back at their onlookers are only the beginning of the changes that digital technology will bring to signage and display markets that used to belong to—but now must be shared by—conventional print.
InfoTrends’ research has uncovered some key differences in web-to-print adoption among commercial printers versus corporate in-plants. This article leverages recent research to explore some of the differences in how these two groups use web-to-print technology.
Inbound marketing is the strategy of choice for online marketing, content is the main ingredient to any successful inbound marketing strategy. Your content has to be optimized for two audiences; your target customers and the search engines.
Printing is easy; it’s all the other stuff that can pose challenges. Producing wide-format output can require a different approach to traditional processes, from selling, to finishing, to transporting. What do you need to know before you take the plunge?
At the Dscoop Open event (June 3-5 at the Convention Center in Dublin, Ireland), solutions partners shared their perspectives on how to make a “hole in one” with digital printing. This article provides a brief overview of the event’s highlights.
In spite of recent strength in US commercial printing industry shipments, employment is still on a downward path. The industry seems to becoming more efficient, somewhat from better management, and somewhat from consolidation as weak establishments are aborbed or exit the market. Compared to April, however, the Bureau of Labor statistics estimates that employment increased by about 600, which is common compared for May in recent years. The April public relations employment was very strong compared to the prior year and is up +8.8%. When PR employment is excluded from ad agency employment, the number of employees in agencies is still up +2.1%. The employment data have always reflected the changes in the media market as well as the strength in the economy. Though the economy is slow, advertising agencies have reinvented themselves and are very active in social media and digital media production.
Data for the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 were revised to a slight rise in shipments when the original data showed a steady and significant decline. That period of mild increase was followed by a period of decline that was smaller in magnitude than originally reported.
If you happen to have been in Singapore recently—and who of us hasn’t?—you may have caught sight of a new wide-format backlit film that can be used for vehicle graphics. Called eLumiNEX, it has been given a shakedown cruise on a bus.
SGIA’s Dan Marx shares highlights from the 2015 SGIA Specialty Imaging Industry Survey. What equipment is hot? What products are on the rise, and which are on the decline? In what verticals are the hot prospects? And what is the overall market outlook for the wide-format and specialty graphics industry?
This chart shows how the US commercial printing shipments have been better compared to the prior year for the last 11 months of reporting by the Commerce Department. What's it mean? We're still averaging $400 million per month less than a similar period in 2010-2011, and we're well below the levels of ten years ago by about -$2.8 billion per month. The recent stability may be the result of several factors. First, weak companies are gone as a result of closures and consoPrinting Shipments Rising, Best April Since 2010lidations, leaving companies that know what modern print users need. Second, there has been a generational change in management to owners and executives who are more comfortable with digital technology because they have always used it, growing up with cell phones, video games, and computers everywhere. Third, the big targets for displacement by digital media have been pulverized, and what remains are specialties and applications more appropriate to a multichannel integrated media marketplace. Fourth, there a more companies using business development techniques (tell us about your target audience and how we can make your digital initiatives more effective) rather than old sales techniques (would you like to see my equipment list?). Then again, it could be the calm before another storm. New data networks are on their way, such as 5G, where two hour movies can be downloaded in six seconds rather than six minutes. Print has a good story to tell, but please, don't make it an old story. Print needs to be fresh and new. The market may be stable now, so use this time well to get ready for the market ahead.
ANRO Communications is well-known in the printing community for its innovation and thought leadership position. In this article, sponsored by HP, Paul DeSantis, ANRO’s Director of IT, talks about how production inkjet has future-proofed the company’s business.
Web-to-print is our term for moving customer engagement online. This represents a big change for most traditional business-to-business printers. This article describes the top five mistakes I see when working with printers through this transition from an offline business to an online / self-service customer interaction model.
Every May, the US Department of Commerce issues “benchmark” revisions to the manufacturing shipments data it reports. Every month, the shipments report is used by economists and analysts at Government agencies, such as the Treasury Department, but also by banks, businesses, and others, to identify strong and weak areas of the economy, and to forecast future economic conditions. The reports are based on a combination of actual and estimated data from economic models.
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.