Recent Commentary & Analysis
Requires Premium Membership
Displaying 251-300 of thousands of articles
This executive report is based on the latest results of the WhatTheyThink print executive survey. It details the state of the industry at mid-2017 and looks ahead to what can be expected, economically and technologically, as we head toward 2018. The foundation of the report is the WhatTheyThink Printing Industry Survey of June 2017. This survey of more than 300 industry executives gauged their current business conditions, top business challenges, and planned investments for 2018. They also described how the volume for offset, color digital, black-and-white digital, and wide-format printing, as well as non-print-based services has changed.
Are you interrupting a lot of people to find the few who are in need of your products and services? Or are you working very hard to be found by the customers that are actively seeking out your services?
Yesterday, EFI announced the acquisition of Escada Systems, a provider of Corrugator Control Systems for the packaging market. The UK company adds another puzzle piece to EFI’s growing ecosystem for corrugated, with its earlier acquisition of CTI (ERP) and development of Nozomi (direct-to-corrugated printer). We spoke with Nick Benkovich to get the inside story.
It seems like we just finished with drupa 2016, yet Labelexpo Europe 2017 appeared to be a subset extension of that event. Everyone in Label production on any level from around the globe was there, showing and looking at the latest products and trends. It is a very exciting time, with a very promising future for label production. In part one of this two-part series, we look at some of the major trends and product announcements at the show.
What Millennial in their right mind would seriously consider a career in the printing industry? There seems to be no place to hide from the preconceived notion of print being an outdated media that’s run by old-school companies who are going downhill. As a 26 year old who has been involved in print since 16, I have experienced my share of career scrutiny everywhere from family gatherings to young professional networking events.
A good sales management plan can help you develop a high-performance team that delivers consistent performance. By developing an understanding of what you need and your current team’s capabilities with today’s new selling approaches, you can hire the right people, onboard them successfully, and give them the support they need to be effective. This article outlines InfoTrends’ 7-step process for developing and implementing a sales management plan.
What do the failed launch of the McDonald’s crab cake sandwich and databases have in common? If you don’t know your audience, it doesn’t matter what you’re marketing or the tools you use to do it. It’s going to be an epic fail.
HP and others introduced a new range of inkjet corrugated printing presses at drupa 2016. Many of them were improvements and advancements on existing multi-pass machines, but a few, including the EFI Nozomi and the HP PageWide C500, offered unique single-pass inkjet mainstream production solutions. These new machines open up a wide range of new opportunities for using corrugated in mainstream packaging. However, the HP PageWide C500 may be the only solution at this point that can bring this to primary ‘food safe’ packaging.
There are many “common wisdom” assumptions in the industry. One that refuses to die relates to print volume being related to GDP. The data are very clear; it’s technology that plays a bigger factor than macroeconomics. The other is that the effects of digital media will come to an end or will slow down. That one is obviously false; Moore’s Law may not be what it used to be, but we see how technology gets faster, cheaper, and more convenient every day. Bad assumptions lead to bad strategy, lead to dismissing opportunities that should be pursued, and reduce the urgency to act. Don’t let that happen to you or your business.
More than 60 journalists from around the globe gathered in Würzburg, Germany, at KBA headquarters to begin celebrating with the company its 200th anniversary. The event theme is 200 years: Future needs an Origin. It was a unique experience and total pleasure to be part of this historic event, which included a factory tour and a formal gala at the local convention center. Read more.
Companies are making it easy to combine direct mail with Facebook, so here’s why it matters. This post takes a closer look at DirectMail 2.0, which combines direct mail advertising with call and mail tracking, as well as ad retargeting through the Google network and Facebook.
Although we all know that “great service” tends to be referenced in many company value propositions, it really does little to help a business stand out. Market leaders are now focusing on the customer experience, and this article explores how an engaged customer experience can become an effective competitive advantage.
What can your customers do online with your print business? How easy is it for your customers to do business with you? Are you asking your customers to use their precious time because your ordering process is inefficient and not available online?
Next month, the annual SGIA Expo heads to Bayou Country, with more than 50 educational sessions and one of the biggest show floors in the U.S. Here is a preview of what this year’s show offers.
At drupa 2012, Benny Landa introduced a new inkjet printing technology to excited crowds with great fanfare. Now five years later, the first Landa Press is installed and there are two more right behind it, as well as a waiting list. David Zwang was one of about 100 people, mostly potential customers, from around the globe to visit with Landa at his facilities in Rehovot, Israel, to get a closer look at the man, his vision, and the machines.
A trade show is always an interesting ecosystem, and the Print 2017 event in Chicago was no exception. This article provides a brief overview of the highlights from the show floor.
The old adage goes: Those who do not know history are destined to repeat it. As we look at the adoption of high-speed inkjet, both the technology and the applications, are we seeing history unfold ... again?
Who didn’t envy or aspire to become a big, high profile printing business? The print business has been turned on its head, where small and medium businesses are outperforming their much bigger counterparts. The latter are still dealing with the relevance of legacy processes and assets while trying to bring new focus to rich digital media interactions to static formats like print. There’s no doubt: The Third Wave is being released at a pivotal moment. While the industry is churning, there are warning signs in the economy and for content creation markets. Dr. Joe is getting that 2008 feeling: he doesn’t like it.
Today EFI announced a new Fiery platform. The company reports that digital front ends (DFEs) based on the EFI Fiery FS300 Pro platform will drive presses across sheetfed, high-speed continuous feed, B1 folding carton, and corrugated digital production systems. This is perhaps the most aggressive Fiery release in some time and is being described as the platform for the next decade.
Williams Lea Tag is carved out from DHL; Mittera buys Earthcolor; Stevens Group grows with CL Graphics acquisition; Oliver begins platform build-out; and more…
The recovery indicators (when we started these we thought they’d be around for about a year or so) had four of its six factors turn negative, with one of those falling back to its recession level of December 2007. Yes, that’s when the recession started. That long ago.
Are you ready to think about how your operation can start taking advantage of the cloud? It’s an inevitable evolution as everyone seeks to produce higher quality, push through higher volumes, and manage more workflows using the same staffing and resources.
What is the current state of marketing? A just-released survey from Salesforce provides insights into digital channel growth, along with the current state of integration. The takeaway for MSPs? If you haven’t invested in marketing automation, it’s time to take a closer look.
Many historians agree that there have been three industrial revolutions to date, but interconnected digital technology might be triggering the fourth. Print 2017 is nearly upon us, and the concept of “Industry 4.0” will likely be a major theme at the event. This article discusses some of the Print 2017 advancements that are expected to change how print is manufactured, what service providers produce, and who print service providers will become as they transform their businesses to better align with digital technologies.
Leadership is about embracing change as an iterative process of improving upon how your business operates. In modern times that equates to getting software to do more work for your business so your human labor can focus on higher-value activities.
We’re in another wave of media change, the first with the consumer Internet, the second with social media, tablets, and smartphones, and now a third with an infrastructure built for heavy volume and high speed. Through two waves, there were printers who got out ahead with savvy judgment that went against the common wisdom and blazed their own paths of market engagement and abandoned industry practice. This third wave is already more intense, as printing shipments in the last six months are down more than -7%. Success in this third wave demands a new philosophy, a different understanding of capital, and a new assessment of risk. Dr. Joe offers The Third Wave, a new book, that addresses these issues.
With Informed Delivery, the USPS has created a platform to promote consumer engagement with physical mail before it arrives, adding new value for marketers and recipients alike. According to recent research from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends, the initial perceptions about Informed Delivery are encouraging for the USPS.
Print is an artifact of a business process/workflow. You should get very curious about the overall workflow so that you can provide more value than just the print. This is the path to embedding your services with a customer and increasing the areas where you can add value.
Last week, Zwang and Sherburne joined a small group at Memjet headquarters in San Diego for an exclusive preview of the company’s new pigment-based DuraLink ink, inkjet printheads, and modules, together with an overview of the company’s strategy moving forward. They provide insight into what this announcement means for Memjet and for the industry.
Want to help your customers improve their direct mail marketing? Help them market on Facebook. Here’s how you can use insights from Facebook’s business pages to introduce your clients to demographic targeting — for free — and enable them to reap the benefits.
We’re mercifully more than halfway through 2017. How is the industry faring thus far compared to last year? Our new Economics and Research Center report looks at the latest economic, technological, and cultural trends affecting the industry.
Printers may not yet be fully comfortable with social media marketing, but it’s critical that they understand the basics. Here are the primary conclusions of “2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report” just released by the Social Media Examiner to help in that effort.
A number of today’s commercially available digital printing solutions have added units beyond four-color, either inline or offline, to enable special effects that enhance digital print. Unique imaging capabilities can transform printed materials from commodity, price-sensitive offerings to higher-value products that command a premium. This article explores how special effects can enhance the value of print and create new growth opportunities for service providers.
A manual, labor intensive workflow makes your print business inefficient – that is obvious. The hidden impact of manual workflows is the impact it might be having on your customer services team’s growth mindset.
As we ramp up to Print 17, three lessons from trees felled in a ferocious storm provide business lessons we can all learn from. Strength of foundation, flexibility, and integrity keep your “tree” upright under changing and challenging business conditions.
Last month, the PIA Alliance hosted a “Digital Think Tank” in New York City that brought together 150 equipment manufacturers, their customers, and other printers to talk about the latest technology and trends in digital printing and the industry in general. Here are the highlights.
Emojis have become an integral part of today’s communication. If you want to communicate in the language of your customers, like it or not, you need to think about integrating emojis.
According to InfoTrends’ research, high-performance print sales organizations follow clearly-defined sales strategies, hold their sales staff accountable, and continually adapt their organizations to keep pace with ever-changing market conditions. This article is the second in a two-part series highlighting the 10 common best practices reported by survey respondents that experienced double-digit sales growth in the past 12 months.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis released the Q2-2017 GDP data and revisions to historical data beginning with 2014. Back in mid-May, the Commerce Department updated historical commercial printing shipments (NAICS 323) as part of its manufacturing shipments revisions. This week’s chart shows an updated view of both data series in current dollars (sometimes called “nominal;” both terms mean that data are not adjusted for inflation). The red line is year-to-year growth rate in GDP, and the blue line is year-to-year change in quarterly shipments. Since around 1997 printing shipments have not met GDP growth except for a moment between 2010 and 2015. The most recent printing shipments trend at the right of the chart are remarkable for their direction. A discussion of the GDP revisions and the current status of printing shipments can be found in the column of August 7.
People buy workflows; therefore sales is a discovery process that reveals the challenges in their workflows that you might be in a position to solve. You have to ask more question and make fewer assumptions.
An image used in presentations at EskoWorld struck me as a telling comment on changing consumer behavior. Take a look.
At drupa 2016, Shutterfly placed an order for 25 HP Indigo 12000 digital presses, with an aggressive installation plan over the summer to be ready for the company’s peak season. Now Shutterfly has added another phase of HP Indigo 12000s to the mix. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Shutterfly to get the details.
Wide Formant and Packaging are "Digital Proof" But But Where are the Real Opportunities for Printers?
You can’t protect an iPod in a digital box and you can’t replace vehicle wraps with email. Sure, there is some encroachment of digital technologies on the sign and banner industry, but there are limits based on the role that these products play. This article looks at some of the statistics on the current state of these two industries.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne tuned into Kodak’s Second Quarter Earnings Call to get an update on Kodak’s strategy. There were some surprises in the call, and more detail about strategic initiatives moving forward.
Canned beer isn’t your daddy’s tinny-tasting brew. As microbreweries move small-batch production from bottles to cans, it opens up opportunities for short-run can decoration.
Time and again, we have seen non-traditional competitors storm a market to the detriment of the establishment. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne came across a fascinating story that could be a bellwether indication of trouble ahead for the textbook industry.
According to InfoTrends’ research, high-performance print sales organizations follow clearly-defined sales strategies, hold their sales staff accountable, and continually adapt their organizations to keep pace with ever-changing market conditions. This article is the first in a two-part series highlighting the 10 common best practices reported by survey respondents that experienced double-digit sales growth in the past 12 months.
We train on presses, we engage with the press vendors. We make sure operators are competent – why don’t we do the same for software solutions (especially Print MIS, production workflow, and web-to-print)?
July 2017 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries. LSC Communications rebuilds diversified publication services; Quark transforms; DG3 acquires UK printer Leycol; Multi-Color goes all-in with deal for Constantia Labels; and more…
Catalogs and direct mail can help overcome the ‘digital fatigue’ that many consumers are experiencing today. Our customers are frequently telling us that when done right -- personalized and relevant to each recipient – it is the printed piece, especially when married with other media, that helps marketers boost response rates.