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As the industry gets back to work following a busy Graph Expo 2011, it is a good time to take a look at some of the technologies that were on display-both those that are critical to the short- and long-term profitability and survival of a printing company, and opportunistic technologies that can provide differentiation.
Dr. Joe explains the bearish outlook for the economy but explains how the advertising agency business has been rising and adding employees. It's important to know who your competitors are, especially in terms of an overlooked factor in decision making, the cost of failure, which sometimes trumps common sense.
The New York Times published an article titled "Dump Your Printer To Escape the Madness." The author, Sam Grobart, launched an attack on the "printer-industrial complex" but by the third line stated that "we live in a world where going without a printer can be more trouble than it is worth." Charlie Corr examines the facts.
Whatever may be happening to the demand for print, Graph Expo 2011 made one thing abundantly clear: never before have printers had as many options as they now possess for adding beauty, charisma, and value to a piece of paper.
Much like creating a Web-to-print site became integral for profitable service providers in the past, offering a mobile-to-print site will quickly become a necessity in the market of the future. Service providers will need to recognize the importance of design and usability between traditional and mobile sites. This article provides examples of Graph Expo vendors that are working to implement mobile-to-print solutions.
Andy examines waterless inkjet printing by visiting the first US installation of the Xerox CiPress 500 at dmh Marketing Partners in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.
Printers are providing more value-added services that go beyond paper. They are evolving into new kinds of companies. Here are some of the steps that got us to this point.
At Graph Expo 2011, software solutions were at top-of-mind for many of the printers participating in the show. Early adopters of variable data and cross-media solutions typically developed "home-grown" systems internally because the available solutions were limited, but this has changed. This article provides examples of two service providers who initially built their own solutions, but ultimately decided that a partner could enable them to focus on their core competencies.
Every so often a new technology arrives that may have an impact on changing a market or replacing an earlier technology. Andy Tribute attends a new product launch from Océ and Canon at which they announced a new "breakthrough" technology for digital printing.
Whole is Greater than Sum of Parts in KBA-Donnelley, Xanté-Memjet Joint Ventures Announced At Graph Expo
"Convergence" in the graphic communications industry can mean many things, but at Graph Expo, it describes what happens when vendors pool their R&D resources to create production solutions more formidable than anything they could have devised by themselves.
Opening-day remarks at Graph Expo by Bernhard Schreier captured the tone of the event and offered a restrained but still optimistic outlook for global print markets.
Is the Education Market one of your target markets? If you are planning on selling marketing solutions to the Education Market then you need to have a good understanding of the key challenges for this market.
In July of 2010, Agfa acquired the assets of the Harold M. Pitman Company. It's been just over a year, and WhatTheyThink takes an exclusive look at the status of the integration.
Three-dimensional mail cuts through the clutter to get important messages out to clients and prospects. Although the cost to produce a dimensional mailer is more expensive than standard direct mail, the uniqueness of the mail item gets results that outweigh the costs of production and die-cutting. We explore this concept by looking at the dimensional mail marketing campaigns of Structural Graphics.
Yesterday, Ricoh and Zumbox announced an alliance under which mailers can opt to provide their customers mail via Zumbox, the world's first digital postal mail system. WhatTheyThink spoke with Ricoh's Don Dew to get the inside scoop.
Pro-Sourcing, Part 2: Get Marketing, IT, Design, Social Media and Writing Projects Done for Amazingly Affordable Prices.
In part one of this article, we provided the background and the detail of what makes Pro-Sourcing an extraordinary strategy to get project work done and to extend your company's capabilities. Read on for a quick review and some useful techniques for getting Pro-Sourcing projects completed efficiently, reliably and successfully.
Redesign Your Website, Create a New Sales Tool, Update Your Company Graphics…all for under $1,000. Really!
The statement in the headline is true. All the work described above was done, the money paid. Welcome to the world of “Pro-Sourcing”. Now you can complete projects of all kinds, including marketing projects, design, IT or writing projects. Professionally. Inexpensively. Reliably. Quickly.
Following our recent article on the latest news from Zumbox, a player in the digital mail space, we contacted Pitney Bowes' John Schloff to find out the latest about its digital mailbox offering, Volly. Schloff shares an update, including insight into strategy and plans.
For almost a decade, pundits have been projecting that paper mail, especially transactional mail, will be displaced by electronic alternatives. Just like the paperless office, it hasn't happened yet. But there's a lot happening in the digital postal mail realm that could change the picture entirely. John Payne of Zumbox talks about what's ahead.
On August 25th, Seattle-based RPI announced the acquisition of Paro Group BV, based in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The entity in the Netherlands will be known as RPI-Paro to capitalize on Paro branding there. WhatTheyThink spoke with Rick Bellamy, CEO of RPI, and Jan-Paul van den Hurk, owner and CEO of Paro Printing, for more details.
In part two I look at how manroland and xpedx are working to increase revenues and better position themselves for the future. The ideas of expanding product lines and forming strategic alliance are both reviewed, along with ways to bring new products and services to market.
Selling a cross-media solution in today's market requires four critical attributes, namely Proactivity, Proficiency, Patience, and Performance. This article cites recent research from InfoTrends to outline the four "P"s of a successful cross-media sales approach.
Mobile barcodes are a hot topic in the world of marketing and advertising, and printers have latched onto this technology to add interactivity and value to print media. While barcodes are certainly relevant, there are other mobile marketing services that need to be explored, as they represent a huge untapped opportunity by many service providers.
Dr. Joe explains that another recession may have already started, and the thought of that may be all that's needed to create demands for more Fed easing and more fiscal stimulus. The NASDAQ is down -18% from the start of the December 2007 recession on an inflation-adjusted basis. The commodities and consumer inflation trends may actually be slowing right now. Yet again, Dr. Joe explains some of the economic workings that are contrary to the morning news.
It was announced last week that Platinum Equity had acquired Quark Software Inc. Without an understanding of the digital media market over the past thirty years this may seem just like another investment by a financial investment company. For those of us who have been involved in the major changes that have happened, to us Quark is one of the key companies that had driven the changes in the industry.
As everyone knows, the recession has made business financing hard to come by. In this two-part "Cup O Joe," lenders to the printing industry report that loan products are available and discuss how printers can obtain them.
Frank takes a trip down memory lane reminiscing the days of the bookstore and what the future may hold.
In July 2011, InfoTrends published a study of more than 280 print/cross-media service providers to understand the current state of cross-media in the graphic communications market. The statistical data highlighted eight key critical success factors for those making the move into cross-media marketing. This article shares key findings from businesses that have already started the cross-media journey.
EFI continues its efforts to consolidate the print MIS market with yet another acquisition. On August 3rd, the company announced the acquisition of Prism Group Holdings. Marc Olin, GM of EFI's Software Applications business unit, comments on the reasons for the acquisition and its value to EFI.
I recently had the opportunity to visit four printing firms in the Rochester/Buffalo NY area and was impressed with their vitality an innovative approach to the business. Their stories are sure to brighten up your summer, as they did mine. Part 2 of a 2-part article.
I recently had the opportunity to visit four printing firms in the Rochester/Buffalo NY area and was impressed with their vitality an innovative approach to the business. Their stories are sure to brighten up your summer, as they did mine. Part 1 of a 2-part article.
The next few months will be big for Bell and Howell, as the company plans on releasing a number of new plans and initiatives leading up to the Graph Expo in September. With its new financial structure and new brand, the historic printer hopes to maintain its place in the printing world.
Printers have historically undervalued their services due to a manufacturing mentality. They operate under the labor theory of value, which states that the value of a service is determined by the amount of labor used in its production. Because marketing and cross-media service providers are offering a different portfolio of services, there is an opportunity to change both the structure and approach to pricing and be rewarded for value-add.
The theme for Graph Expo 2011 is "Embrace Technology", and software will be a key component of the technology being exhibited at this year's event. Bryan Yeager shares his predictions for the top five software trends to watch for in Chicago next month.
In mid-July FontShop sent an announcement of the latest edition of their Font Book, announcing that it would be selling later the same day, that it was much larger, and 80 percent lighter! How? They put it on the iPad.
The new Espresso Book Machine (EBM) at McNally Jackson Books is an experiment in non-traditional publishing that just might represent the start of a new paradigm for bringing books to market, one independent bookseller and one print-on-demand title at a time.
Is it real? Is it current? No, we're not talking about philosophy or the timeliness of something, we're talking about financial data. Dr. Joe explains how to use national economic data when comparing your business performance to the economy. Use the right tool at the right time.
Toronto-based book printer Webcom has built a reputation for providing customers with innovative solutions to the challenges of printing books, catalogs and directories. The company has recently launched BookFWD, a paradigm shift for publishers, powered by a new HP T300 Inkjet Web Press.
In July, online printer Mimeo announced the acquisition of UK-based CLE. In this conversation, with CEO Adam Slutsky talks about the reasons for the acquisition, Mimeo's expectations, and hints about future plans.
A major item of news that came out in the week of July 25 was that Fuji Xerox were launching their first high-speed continuous feed inkjet press, the 2800 Inkjet Color Continuous Feed Printing System. Andy gives his thoughts on the similarities or possible coincidences developing in the high-speed inkjet industry.
Printers are faced with unprecedented change in the industry. Each company is examining their own strategy for meeting these challenges. Industry suppliers are facing the same issues. This article looks at how an industry supplier is changing to meet the challenge. These strategies can provide models for change in your company.
In early June, The Informa Print Group announced that Ipex would be moving to London's ExCeL international exhibition and conference centre for its 2014 exhibition. Scheduled for March 26th to April 2nd, 2014, Ipex returns to the city of its birth after 30 years in Birmingham. Learn more.
Rather than building skills internally, firms are aggressively buying expertise to strengthen their offerings and/or add services. Larger firms have begun to purchase smaller organizations that already have made the transition to cross-media. The acquiring firm buys the best practices, expertise, and a book of business, while the acquired firm has access to a larger resource pool. This article highlights some recent examples reflecting this trend.
One of the promises of high-speed continuous feed inkjet presses is that they will change the way we produce newspapers allowing personalization, targeted advertising and short run publications. So far this has not happened. What we have seen is the use of such presses for printing what are termed international newspapers at overseas locations.
When things are going well, everyone feels like they're the genius who's making it happen. When things get tough, you have to actually be one. Right now, it seems that Apple is a genius, showing how businesses can transcend the tough economic situations they face. A curious sign of change in employment in agencies and design firms as they now exceed commercial printing employment . Dr. Joe told everyone to consider 2010 as breathing room and to use it to urgently reconsider and restructure. In 2011, it is the time to act. He explains that we have to admit that print is a specialty and no longer mainstream as we position our businesses and beloved medium for some hostile media shifts now underway.
WhatTheyThink was saddened, and quite frankly, surprised, to learn about the closure of Dallas-based Padgett Printing, a respected family-owned printing business that had operated for more than 100 years.
Firms that are successfully delivering cross-media marketing services are investing time and resources in marketing and business development. Citing recent research from InfoTrends, this article outlines how savvy print service providers are responding to today's evolving print industry. It also provides examples of companies that are successfully positioning themselves for future growth with cross-media services.
Some M&A transactions in the printing industry fall apart before they reach the signing stage. Other deals, however, come undone after the ink is dry, and often for reasons that should have been obvious all along. New Direction Partners looks at how to stay out of the latter trap.
With the rise in prominence of digital printing, the concept of “hybrid workflow” emerged as a way for printers to effectively leverage digital within the confines of their existing offset print workflows. Have print businesses caught on to hybrid workflow? Bryan Yeager gives us an update.
The Rochester Institute of Technology and Cunard Lines have a unique work-study program. Students are trained in Rochester and then begin a multi-month stint running the ship's print shop. Andy Berghauser describes his experience with the program.