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Five Big Picture Trends to Consider as you Position Your Business for the Future

As you consider how to position your business for the future, one important step is to look “outside in”. This means looking beyond your core strengths, even looking beyond the needs of your customers. This involves an understanding of big, broad, macro trends that will influence how people will live and work, as well as where opportunities will exist for businesses like yours in the years to come.


Wrapping Your Head Around Analytics (Premium Content)

The term “analytics” is now a common part of the business and technology lexicons due to the increasing importance and ubiquity of data. You may have heard of analytics, but what’s it all about and why does it matter to your print business? Bryan Yeager helps you wrap your head around analytics.


Mercury Print Productions – Learning Lessons about Educational Publishing (Premium Content)

Digital technology has disrupted and transformed the established teaching and learning paradigm. Today’s students are captivated by the personalization and socialization of online tools - the ability to build large networks of friends; share their thoughts, feelings, and goals; and communicate as they wish. Digital tools are having a tremendous impact on the educational publishing market. This article discusses how Mercury Print Productions is addressing today’s changing market dynamics.


InnerWorkings Continues its Quest to be a Big Player (Premium Content)

Since 2001, InnerWorkings has been swiftly growing and trying to position itself to overhaul the print procurement world. The future does appear bright for the Chicago-based company; however, it still has to work against established trends in printing and angle itself to be different - even revolutionary - from its competition.


Cyril Scott, a CGX Company, Invests More than $10 Million Despite Economic Downturn (Premium Content)

Lancaster, Ohio, based Cyril Scott, a CGX company, has invested some $10 million in equipment, technology and people over the past two years, despite a difficult economic climate. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Cyril Scott President Matt Coltharp to find out more.


No Time for Social Media? There are options... (Part Four of Four) (Premium Content)

In this final part of a four-part series, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne interviews two more printing firms about their social media experiences. Part One examined the reasons why printing firms need to be engaged in social media and reviewed offerings by MarketingIdeasForPrinters that make social media as easy as a click of the mouse. Part Two reviewed the Grow Socially offering for Social Media services. And Part Three looks at the experiences of a supplier, Komori and a printer, Quad/Graphics.


Shocking News! Gas is One-Fifth the Price it Was in 1980: Here's Why (Premium Content)

Things are never what they seem in economics, like how we paid $10.78 per gallon for gas in 1980. Dr. Joe explains the strange math that reminds us about the distortions of inflation and the wonder of ingenuity, and how news reporters unaware of them. Pepsi made a huge blunder with social media, but we should be encouraged by their mistake because it should inspire print business executives that they are just as smart as those Ivy League execs with all their market research reports. We may have the ultimate weapon: common sense.


Frank looks at recent industry events (Premium Content)

We’ve asked if the print industry can still support multiple trade shows. Now Frank is wondering about trade associations. He went to a couple recent events and he’s reported back to us on what kind of year we’re having on the event circuit.


Devil in the Details: Issues and Answers in M&As

A successful M&A transaction is the sum of many carefully fashioned parts. This month, New Direction Partners and Margolis Becker delve into the details with comments on how deals can be influenced by client concentration; plant ownership; non-compete agreements with salespeople; acquired management teams; post-acquisition price increases; and personally guaranteed debt.


Q and A with former Xerox and Vertis Exec, Michael Kucharski (Premium Content)

Michael Kucharski is a longtime printing executive boasting a career at Xerox where he became senior Vice-President of Graphic Communications Business. He was also General Manager of Integrated Media Solutions with Vertis Communications. WhatTheyThink caught up with him picked his brain about where he sees the print industry going.


No Time for Social Media? There are options... (Part Three of Four) (Premium Content)

In this third part of a four-part series, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne interviews one printing firm and one supplier to the industry about their social media experiences. Part Four will contain the final two printer interviews. Part One examined the reasons why printing firms need to be engaged in social media. Part Two reviewed Grow Socially’s offering for Social Media services.


Have You Had “The Talk” Yet?

If you don’t have an up-to-date view of the needs of your key customers – at a deep level – it can be hard to expand your key customer relationships today. If you are looking to move “upstream” and get more involved with customers in terms of marketing services, creative work, mission critical applications and business processes, the question is: Have you had “The Talk” with your customers?


No Time for Social Media? There are options... (Part Two of Four) (Premium Content)

In this second part of a Four-part series, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne reviews another option for printing firms to get into the social media game, from Grow Socially. She spoke with CEO John Foley to learn more about the kind of value they’re offering their clients.


Paper is Getting a Bad Rap Part 2; What can you do? (Premium Content)

This is a follow up to last month’s article, “Paper is Getting a Bad Rap”. It focuses on what individuals and organizations are doing to help clear up some of the misinformation surrounding paper and print.


Workflow Automation Priorities and Efficiency Initiatives Revealed (Premium Content)

While printers have been pursuing workflow automation to increase efficiency for a number of years, there is always room for improvement. Bryan Yeager provides the latest data to highlight trends on printers’ workflow priorities & initiatives.


Heidelberg - Looking Good for the Future!

Things are looking great for Heidelberg. Andy Tribute looks at the recent moves the company has made to position itself financially and strategically and discusses how its relationship with Ricoh could influence its future.


Still Trudging Through and Trudging Some More (Premium Content)

Today's economic conditions make economists wish they had more hands and while making the common people more frustrated in their attempts to figure it out. Oil and food are rising in price, but the economy seems better in some ways with some reports of improving employment. GDP is still rising, but some industries are still suffering. Dr. Joe explains why just staying busy is not enough and that it's what you're doing that really matters.


Stories from the Farthest Shores of Sheetfed: Five Printers Share Their Experiences with KBA’s Mighty Rapida 205 (Part II)

Five printers representing nearly half the installed base of KBA Rapida 205s in the U.S. say that the performance of this 59.5" x 81" press is as impressive as sheet size. They speak assuredly of the big improvements that the industry’s biggest press has made, or is fully expected to make, to the foundations of their businesses.


Sales: Resisting the “Yes” Temptation (Premium Content)

Sales isn’t just about being able to meet the stated needs of the prospect. Sales is a dance that starts with a gut feeling. First gain trust and show respect. Only then will your prospect be tuned into your intellectual pitch.


Books are Not Dead… The Digital Print Opportunity Abounds! (Premium Content)

There is a new value chain for book publishing. Instead of trying to guess about print runs (especially in the face of e-books), major publishers are simply printing books on demand. Authors are using this model and selling their creations directly to the public. This has caused the market to become considerably more unpredictable.


Stories from the Farthest Shores of Sheetfed: Five Printers Share Their Experiences with KBA’s Mighty Rapida 205 (Part I)

The smallest format it can print is a bigger piece of paper than most sheetfed plants have ever handled. It’s hard to avoid superlatives when describing KBA’s 59.5" x 81" Rapida 205, the world’s largest sheetfed offset press—especially when five printers representing nearly half of its installed base in the U.S. say that its performance is every bit as impressive as its sheet size.


U.S. Commercial Printing Businesses Produce Estimated $1.11 Billion in Profits in Fourth Quarter 2010 (Premium Content)

Dr. Joe Webb has compiled reports on US commercial printing profits going back to 1995, and brings it all current to Q4 2010. This report examines the latest trends in shipments, profits and capacity for the industry, of which the Federal Reserve just made revisions going back almost 25 years. How does Joe recommend printers steer the course? What will it take to get the print industry out of the hole? Dr. Webb has insights that can help.


No Time for Social Media? There are options... (Premium Content)

In this first part of a three-part series, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne looks at options for printing firms to get into the social media game. This article examines offerings by MarketingIdeasForPrinters that make social media as easy as a click of the mouse.


February 2011 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +4.4%, Eleven Months of Y-O-Y Increases (Premium Content)

Dr. Webb looks at February's shipments, Canada's January shipments, and updated forecasts for the North American printing industry to 2017. There's an updated GDP Forecast model and commentary on why that model is not totally reliable for forecasting the print industry. Will the rest of 2011 be as positive as January and February? Dr. Joe discusses.


Marketing Automation: Adding Science to the Art of Marketing (Premium Content)

Marketers of all sizes are seeking providers that can create automated programs to welcome new customers, cross-sell and up-sell to existing customers, nurture new leads, increase customer satisfaction, and win back customers. Fundamentally, these marketers want to add science to the art of marketing. This article provides examples of companies that are currently focused on driving marketing automation.


Is Consolidation the Future? (Premium Content)

The planned sale of St Ives Web to Walstead creates the largest magazine printer in the UK. Is this trend for consolidation a key for bringing the magazine market under control with capacity geared more at publishers needs, and also bringing production prices back to realistic levels? Will this consolidation trend continue in other print markets?


PublishingXchange Conference New at On Demand 2011; Mobile and Cloud Hot Topics (Premium Content)

Yesterday saw the conclusion of On Demand 2011, which also ran in conjunction with info360 (formerly AIIM) and a new conference, PublishingXchange, at the Washington D.C. convention center. Two key digital printing players, Xerox and Kodak, were absent. What's in store for next year when the show(s) move to New York's Javits Center in June of 2012?


Print plus mobile brings awareness and engagement (Premium Content)

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.


Despite Increased Competition, Opportunities Abound with Personalized Communications (Premium Content)

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.


“I Can’t Eat an iPad” (Premium Content)

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.


Paper is Getting a Bad Rap

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 and O'Neil Data Systems Showcase Brand-New T400 Color Inkjet Web Press

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.


Target Your Sales Team or Accept Chaos

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.


Pouring Another “Cup O Joe”: the Essentials of M&A Valuation

"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.


Hybrid Printing – The Future of Direct Mail? (Premium Content)

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.


DG3 acquires the Ace Group: What does it all mean? (Premium Content)

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.


Making Ideas Happen… It’s About Leadership! (Premium Content)

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.


Print UV Conference Keeps Printers, Vendors All On the Same Wavelength

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.


January 2011 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +4.1%, Good Start to New Year (Premium Content)

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.


Web Enablement and Engagement: We’re Just Getting Started (Premium Content)

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.


The Frosting Looks Great, But the Cake is Awful (Premium Content)

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.”


Making Ideas Happen… It’s About Community! (Premium Content)

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.


After bankruptcy, Vertis moves forward (Premium Content)

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.


Graphics of the Americas Keynote Speaker, Session Presenters Look to Future of Media

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.


Xerox Comments on Inkjet, Heidelberg Digital Deal (Premium Content)

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.


FESPA’s Global Business Forum “Green Day” Takes the Long View of Sustainability

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.


Integrated Print Workflows: Overlapping Technologies (Premium Content)

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.


Mobile Barcode Campaigns: It’s All About the Experience (Premium Content)

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.


UV Printing Comes Alive at Upcoming Print UV Conference

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.


Heidelberg – A Strategy for Succeeding in Digital Printing

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.


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