Recent Commentary & Analysis
Requires Premium Membership
Displaying 2301-2350 of thousands of articles
Sustainability is very much in vogue for print corporations. But what sustainability actually means and its role in the industry is evolving and changing, so the directors of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Sustainable Print Systems Laboratory answered questions for WhatTheyThink’s Stacey Skotzko.
Making the transformation from a print service provider into a cross-media and marketing service provider requires business repositioning, innovation, and redefinition of the overall value proposition. Service providers are working to gain a solid understanding of the next phase in the cross-media value chain as well as the implications for their businesses. Citing recent research, this article discusses how savvy service providers are reinventing themselves as they strive to meet marketers’ needs.
M&A transactions sometimes fall through. Poor judgment, misinformation, adverse business developments, and personal antagonisms can drive principals apart despite the mutual advantages of deals that should bring them together. This two-part article examines how and why they fail.
"Integration" is as common of a word in technology as "synergy" is in business. Integration may not mean much to you, but it should because it unlocks opportunities for workflow automation and optimization. Bryan Yeager tells us all about it.
With all that has changed in commercial communications in the last 25 years…with email and the web…mobile technology…and social media…could direct response rules developed over 25 years ago still be relevant and useful today? In actuality, all the new media and messaging developments have INCREASED our opportunities to create, deliver and analyze measureable communications. Here is a fresh take on old rules of thumb that can dramatically improve response and engagement in prospect and customer communications.
Joe Demharter retired from The Pitman Company about three years ago, where he was President for eight years. After two years of taking it easy, he decided to get back in the game. During this interview, he explains why, and offers advice to printers for a successful future.
The first quarter of 2011 continued a welcome continuation of profitability for the industry. The industry shakeout of unprofitable businesses, and the better management of healthier businesses continues to create an improved bottom line, but there are still great challenges ahead. The restructuring of the industry will be a continuing process in 2011 and beyond.
Andy Tribute attended the recent Océ Production Printing Summit and he comments on new Océ inkjet presses, the offering of pigment inks for certain markets, and the strategic alliance between Océ and manroland.
We wish April showers were dollars flowing into print businesses, but that did not seem to happen. Who would have thought that we would miss 2004-2008, looking at that period as a time of stability? One of our recovery indicators, the NASDAQ, seems to have relapsed and may be heading for rehab. Perhaps the wild and fun ride it had on Ben Bernanke's QE2 has now come to an end. It may not get another cruise until he pilots a brand new ship, QE3, but rumors of that cruise liner's voyage are just that-rumors. QE2's huge midnight buffet was nice, but the economic heartburn may take a while to pass.
All communication will some day be reduced to tweets -- small bursts of information 140 characters in length. They are the bumper stickers of the 21st century. Here are some of mine.
With today's generation of high-tech consumers, the use of a multi-media strategy is essential to better communication. In an environment where consumers are "always on," marketing executives must fashion advertising and marketing that is anchored firmly in relevance, interactivity, and measurability. This article provides a look into some of the firms that are stepping up to the challenge of becoming true cross-media partners.
April 2011 commercial printing shipments were $7.08 billion, down -$109 million (-1.5%) compared to 2010. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were down -$366 million (-4.5%).
What does the Groupon IPO have to do with print? Or maybe we should say, what does print have to do with the Groupon IPO? In a word: Eric Lefkofsky. That would be the Eric Lefkofsky who founded Innerworkings.
Every established business works with previous decisions, no matter their subject (technology, business strategies, or personnel), they all share a common challenge to change. You are faced with moving from a certain state (your legacy decision) to an uncertain state (the better results you seek).
Mobile technology is not only changing the ways companies market. It is fundamentally changing the way people conduct business, and the printing industry is no exception. Bryan Yeager highlights some recent mobile developments related to production workflow.
As printers continue to evolve their businesses to meet the new market realities, one of the challenges they face is how to optimize their operations and market their new products and services. This is an area where suppliers to the industry can provide significant help. This interview with Kodak's Deb Stranaghan outlines the new Kodak MarketMover program, designed to help printers transform their businesses.
Although they first gained popularity overseas, QR codes are now becoming popular in the United States. This is particularly the case for marketing applications. As is the case in the business-to-consumer (B2C) market, QR codes can be used to bridge the gap between print and mobile in the business world. This article discusses how B2B marketers are leveraging QR codes to expand their reach and improve their return on investment.
Historically a major player in the printing world, Böwe Bell and Howell is seeking to move beyond it's recent Chapter 11 filing and redefine itself. WhatTheyThink outlines the company's current situation and what lies ahead.
I recently attended and spoke at the Xerox Forum, an event run in Berlin by Xerox Europe. I was speaking on a panel and was asked what I would recommend for printers to invest in within the next year. My answer was that I would recommend developing their Internet expertise in the area of web to print to make it easier for customers to work with them.
Last Friday I received an advertisement in the mail from a dealership that has multiple locations within the Southeast. They were having an open house at all five of their facilities which included a hamburger or hotdog lunch and door prizes. I read the oversized tri-fold mailer as I walked from the mailbox into the house and then onto the back deck and sat down.
This is the second year for Consolidated Graphics (CGX) emerge conference. This is a truly unique event, which I had the pleasure of attending this year. The nearly 500 CGX customers who attended came to learn about new technology, new processes and stay current with the trends in a dynamic environment.
Founded in 1971 by Andy and Joyce Mandell, Data-Mail has evolved into a full service print and mail processing company. One of the key principles in the establishment of the company was full service from a single source. This article provides an overview of Data-Mail’s capabilities, technological investments, and campaigns.
Today, digital technologies and applications largely dominate the buzz generated in the worlds of media and marketing. Does that mean that print will fall by the wayside, or is print evolving with the general media mix? Bryan Yeager explores the relevancy and importance of print in a growing world of digital media.
What do Social Security checks, grandchildren, bedtime and doctors have in common? Dr. Joe explains it all, and has some suggestions about what the industry should be thinking about during summer vacations and summer shutdowns. He's on the "it's 1994 again" rant once more, so you've been warned.
In 2008, the production of non-traditional print-on-demand books exceeded traditional book publishing for the first time. Since then, its growth has been overwhelming. The market is now closing in on 10 times the output of traditional titles. What is more amazing is that this growth has been one book at a time.
Innovation can increase the size of existing markets by expanding the addressable market size. While many printers are looking to expand outside of print, there is still room to expand the print market into previously unaddressable segments by leveraging technology.
WhatTheyThink has published various pieces about Memjet over the last several months, but most of it has been focused on the label and office markets. At the end of last month, Memjet's latest partner was announced-Delphax Technologies, a provider of high-speed digital monochrome printing. The strategy is that the Memjet collaboration will jumpstart them as a player in the color digital market. Article
Printing industry suppliers have worked hard to introduce products to be more environmentally friendly. A number of suppliers are also working to lessen their environmental impact in manufacturing and distribution. Here are a few of the many examples of how industry suppliers are practicing good environmental stewardship.
During the second quarter of 2011, executive search firm Russel Reynolds highlighted the emergence of next-generation marketers who are expanding beyond traditional marketing to span areas such as digital, mobile, and social marketing. This article outlines how executives in the printing industry can support tomorrow's marketing executives and help ensure their own success in the future.
To successfully build out marketing services and solutions, companies need to ask what problems they're trying to solve. Data remains a sticking point for marketers; a problem for service providers to solve. Bryan Yeager explores these data-related issues and how they can be addressed.
Standard Register is nearly 100 years old, but with its recent rebranding and the transformation efforts being driven by President & CEO Joseph P. Morgan, Jr., the company is placing itself squarely in the 21st Century. It has reported three quarters in a row of profit and has a positive cash flow, a sign that Morgan’s transformation strategy is working.
Unemployment went up, but the headlines were happy. Commodities prices drop sharply, but how far they have risen seems to be forgotten. The Fed feels rewarded for its inaction, and Dr. Joe finds a silver lining.
EFI held its 12th annual Connect users' conference April 26th through 29th at the Wynn in Las Vegas. Attended by approximately 1,000 customers and a record number of partner sponsors, along with an international group of journalists, Connect was a success by anyone's measure.
March printing shipments were up, resulting in 12 consecutive months of increase. Dr. Webb explains how the easy comparisons to the prior year are about to end, and that the balance of 2011 will be about the same as 2010. He reviews the upcoming data revisions from the Commerce Department on May 13, the importance of inflation adjusting company financial data, and the shipment rates of Canada's commercial printing industry.
Statistics from Mobio Identity Systems, Inc. show that QR code scanning is becoming increasingly popular among U.S. consumers. Magazines, retail establishments, and industry vendors are also beginning to adopt QR codes to entice people into using their mobile phones to interact more deeply with advertising. This article provides compelling statistics and discusses how companies of all sizes are leveraging QR codes to expand their reach.
In a recent article I covered the acquisition of part of St Ives Group, one of the largest web offset printing operations in Europe by a competitor, Walstead Investments, to create the largest magazine web offset printer in the UK. Since then there have been significant developments among Walstead’s competitors that are likely to change the structure of magazine printing in Europe. This article covers the latest developments in this market area
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.