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In 2018, Take Print Where Digital Can't Go

Much has been written on the benefits of print and how we can help it compete for marketing dollars against digital marketing. But why try to compete at all? In 2018, why not capitalize on the capabilities of print that digital marketing cannot replicate?


Open Wide: The State of Wide-Format Printing (Premium Content)

We have a new report out, the Printing Forecast 2018, based in large part on the results of our Fall 2017 Business Conditions Outlook survey. There is quite a lot in the 172-page report, but here are some highlights specific to wide-format printing.


PIA's Color Conference Is the Go-to to Increase Color Knowledge

PIA’s Color Conference grew attendance by about 30% compared to 2017, with 25% of attendees representing the brand/design community. For anyone with a color-critical role, this is an excellent venue to increase color knowledge, network with peers, and have in-depth in-person conversations with conference sponsors about solutions that can assist with specific challenges.


Economy Growing, Big and Small; Who Owns Our Businesses? (Premium Content)

Dr. Joe has a special message: he was wrong 15 years ago, and it worked out fine. The economy is showing improvement, and some reluctant data series are starting to be break their recession levels. Government shutdown? That won't stop them from collecting taxes! Many of the economic indicators show a strong Q4-2017 GDP report is in the offing - but the shutdown may prevent that data release. Dr. Joe warns of a data issues ahead - if small business booms, it may not be recognized right away. But there's one difference in big and small that's showing up right now in printing profits data.


You Might Be Ready for the Cloud If...(Part 4)

Are you ready for a cloud migration? Here is the fourth and final post in a four-part series on "cloud readiness" criteria put together by experts.


In the Mail: January 2018 - What You Need to Know About Postal Issues (Premium Content)

The USPS racks up improvements in on-time performance and cost coverage…22 Marketing Mail workshare discount passthroughs exceed 100%…Industry groups craft postal strategic plan.


2018: A Focus on Technology (Premium Content)

In the year ahead, changing customer demands, ongoing technological shifts, more intense market competition, and ever-changing communication trends will require print providers to make innovation a top priority. This article (the first in a three-part series) highlights key technology trends expected to have significant impact on print providers’ prospects for growth in 2018.


The Role of a Product Owner in Print Software (Premium Content)

Every industry has different roles, in the software industry there is a role called the “Product Owner” also referred to as the “Product Manager”. First, I’ll explain this unique role in the software industry; then I’ll make a case that as print continues to evolve and become more digitally friendly and software dependent printers are going to have to have this role in their organizations.


PDF For Packaging: Facilitating Process Automation (Premium Content)

The PDF format is gaining acceptance in packaging production. As a result, prepress and converting companies are finding new ways to automate and optimize their processes.


Two Sides Video Ties Sustainable Forestry to Real People

In this industry, we like to talk about the value of paper to connect with audiences and engage them in a way that digital content does not. What we don’t spend as much time talking about is how consuming forest-based products like paper benefits real people, real families in our communities, and actually improves the environment, too.


Salesforce.com Releases Fourth Annual “State of Marketing”

This post provides five critical takeaways from Salesforce.com’s “Fourth Annual State of Marketing” report that paint a very different picture of the marketing landscape than a few years ago. MSPs need to be prepared for significant retooling.


Amazon and On-Demand Clothing Manufacturing

Amazon’s patenting of an on-demand clothing manufacturing warehouse points to a future of on-demand mass customization of fashion.


You Might Be Ready for the Cloud If . . . (Part 3)

Are you ready for a cloud migration? Here is the third in a four-part series of posts on criteria put together by experts.


New Strategy for Xeikon Café Exhibition & Conference Announced

Details for the 2018 edition of Xeikon Café Exhibition & Conference, the fourth such event held in Belgium, are becoming available,;and there are exciting changes planned. We spoke with Xeikon Corporate Communications Manager Danny Mertens to get more details. Read more.


It’s Time to Evaluate Your Production Workflow Platform (Premium Content)

Most of today’s printers realize that software plays a critical role in keeping operational costs down and remaining competitive. This article explores how software vendors can help PSPs with their workflow bottlenecks so they can better prepare for the future as we move into another new year.


Print Business Differentiation (Premium Content)

What makes your print business unique? This is a question every print business should ponder over the new year. In 2018 how will you guide your company to create differentiation? Will it be based on the past or the reality of our shared future?


This Point Forward: A Look Ahead at 2018 (Premium Content)

Personal voice assistants and the Internet of Things, wide-format graphics and specialty printing—what are some of the new (and old!) technologies to which we should pay attention and how will they affect us in 2018?


Will the Real Crane Please Stand Up? – December 2017 M&A Activity

Crane Currency acquired; IWCO teams up with ModusLink Global Solutions; OSG active in transactional segment; Fort Dearborn acquires NCL; and more…


Fed By Threads Makes Socially Responsible, Environmentally Sustainable Apparel, “From Dirt to Shirt” (Premium Content)

Want a vision of the future of the world of digital textiles? Skya Nelson of Fed By Threads has a unique perspective on the market, and is already implementing much of it with the company’s “dirt to shirt” approach to socially responsible, environmentally sustainable apparel.


Heating Up: Retargeting with Direct Mail (Premium Content)

Retargeting isn’t just for digital campaigns anymore. Companies are coming up with innovative solutions for retargeting lost website customers with snail mail, as well.


In the Mail: December 2017 (Premium Content)

Mixed news on the U.S. Postal Service revenue front… annual rate increases in the offing? …marketing mail program delayed…say goodbye to IMb.


Dr. Joe: A Potpourri of Workers, Taxes, Profits, Rates, Digits, and More (Premium Content)

The fifteenth year of Dr. Joe at WhatTheyThink comes to a close, and he’s got a lot of topics (and some charts, of course) to get off his mind. Tax reform, recruitment, hours online, profits, consolidation...you name it, it’s probably mentioned in this year’s final column. Oh, and we forgot Bitcoin...that’s here too.


2017: A Look In the Rear-View Mirror

More industry consolidation in response to decreased demand. Yet, encouraging business conditions, and challenges with managing productivity. Meanwhile, inkjet continues to conquer the world and new print product and business opportunities emerge in strange new places. Let’s take a look back at the year that was.


From 3D to 2D: An Interesting Journey

There has been a lot of hype over the last few years about 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, being the next big thing in the print-related world. We recently learned that EFI hired Gal Barak as its Inkjet Eastern Region Sales Manager. Barak most recently worked for 3D printing company Stratasys. Why did he make this move and what are his thoughts on 2D versus 3D? Read more.


Here’s How You Can Help Take the Pulse of the Industry!

When approached to participate in a survey, the initial response for many is to decline because participation takes time and the value proposition is not always clear. This article explores the benefits that survey data can deliver to the industry as a whole.


More Reasons to Focus on Print-to-Mobile

With the exploding growth in e-commerce, the ability to prove print’s value as a primary driver of online activity becomes increasingly important. This includes m-commerce, which is growing even faster than e-commerce in general. This makes investment in print-to-mobile technologies a must.


How to Simplify Print MIS Implementations (Premium Content)

Print MIS implementations are complex, they touch every corner of your business. It is critical that you actively looks for ways to simplify the project in order to increase your chances of success.


Looking at Consumer Trends from a Channel Perspective

Are you reaping the benefits of free consumer trends reports to benefit your client base? If not, you are leaving opportunity to help your clients refine their targeting, improving their messaging and channel mix, and better understand the competitive landscape.


Digital Direct-To-Shape Market (Premium Content)

Direct-To-Shape (DTS) has become a commonly used term in recent times. We want to try to clarify a little around the definition of DTS and to describe the state of this particular art. We are prompted to do this by our recent visit to the InPrint Europe Industrial Print show in Milan, Italy, where there was a lot of discussion of the potential of DTS as a market.


Flexible Packaging is Hot – November 2017 M&A Activity

TC Transcontinental executes long term strategy in flexible packaging, Graphic Packaging acquires again; Kingery Printing acquires United Graphics; and more…


It’s an Omni-Channel World… Especially During the Holidays! (Premium Content)

This holiday season, savvy retailers are working to meet customers on the channels where they are shopping and buying, whether it’s in a physical store, online, or via social media. This article highlights how various retailers are driving sales and encouraging engagement with multi-channel integrated campaigns.


The Customer’s Perspective of Web-to-Print (Premium Content)

I’ve been interacting with a lot of customers of web-to-print lately (the people who order from web-to-print, not the printers). In every single interaction I learn something new.


Apocalypse Soon? Retail’s Troubles and What They Mean for POP Printers (Premium Content)

Brick and mortar retailer has been struggling with foot traffic. According to early estimates all signs are pointing to more ecommerce, less in-person commerce this holiday season. What does this mean for retail graphics?


The Cloud Lets Printers Go Computer Agnostic

When we think about the cloud, we think about benefits such as anytime, anywhere access, cost savings from the elimination of servers, and automatic updates. But there is one benefit that many people don’t think about—computer agnosticism.


Tax Reform May be Near; Only Dr. Doom Would Celebrate a Recession Anniversary

What’s more important than tax reform? A tenth anniversary! It’s been ten years since the recession started. What does one get as a gift? We’re told it’s tin or aluminum. Does that mean someone’s giving all of us litho plates? Tax reform is a much better gift for the celebration. The reform is flawed, but better than nothing. There are some signs that the economy is improving for real, and Dr. Joe has his unique twist to offer.


Direct Mail Engages…Even with Millennials! (Premium Content)

Even in this digital age, tried-and-true direct mail communications continue to get noticed. This article cites recent research from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends to explore how direct mail can be used to cut through the clutter and capture the attention of today’s “always on” consumers.


My Evolving Opinions on Project Management (Premium Content)

Creating results in your company takes coordinated effort by a group of people – some would call that a “project”. Project management is the art of keeping all the contributors to the project on task “herding the cats.” This skill set and this role is underappreciated in our industry. When you need to get complex things done with a group of people – you need a project manager to drive the project to successful completion.


Collaboration: The Low-Hanging Fruit of Cloud Migration

Whether it’s for administrative, production, or marketing initiatives, the cloud brings significant benefits to businesses of all sizes. One of those benefits, and one that is the easiest to implement, is collaboration. Let’s take a closer look at this low-hanging fruit from the cloud.


Using Overall Equipment Effectiveness in Flexo Packaging Printing

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is a powerful tool that can be used to benchmark, identify areas for improvement, and measure progress. It combines equipment availability, performance, and quality (waste) into a single metric.


Do We Need to Move Beyond the Terms “Prepress” and “Workflow”?

As an industry, have we moved past the terms “prepress” and “workflow”? Are they too broad to provide any significant benefit to the industry discussion? There is an argument to be made that it’s time to break up the process and discuss it in terms of its discrete elements.


Print Software Investments Have to Fit into Your Technology Stack (Premium Content)

When you buy print software for your business, it needs to “fit” into the technology stack you already have. This means that it solves challenges you cannot solve with your existing software and it will fit with the other pieces of your technology.


Want Better Marketing? Study Says: Automate It

A new report from eMarketer looks at the growing use of marketing automation to help marketers better manage their marketing consistency and effectiveness across channels. Data is drawn from third-party data over the multiple years. The results beg the question: What are the implications for MSPs and print?


Printing Ladies of the Night at Roland’s “Image Imaginarium”

One of the pioneers of digital art walks through the steps involved in printing images for a recent book project and complementary dye-sublimation aluminum prints.


The Truth is Not Always in the Headline

Look at the shiny object, and please don’t peek behind the curtain. It’s a data game that’s played by many, and it starts with a good headline, and sometimes includes a great chart. A rising stock market without increasing revenue? Declining e-book sales that conveniently ignore niches that are contrary? And then there’s one for the record: the LP record. A pretty chart makes that story convincing, but only if you forget history. Don’t fall into that vinyl LP trap: there’s a hole in the middle of it.


Information is Power… Use It to Make Your Best Business Decisions! (Premium Content)

Printing business executives and managers who have learned to fortify their companies' business plans and strategies with a consistent flow of useful and compelling business data will be much better positioned to unlock growth potential and protect against sales declines. This article explores how business leaders can use internal and external information to drive business expansion.


Print MIS Product Spotlight: printIQ

The Print MIS/ERP system is the foundation to your overall print business technology stack. It is the system that should run your business. Many Print MIS solutions have and continue to expand their support for a diversified printing operation. One of printIQ’s strengths is its approach to and the execution of a modular approach to supporting additional manufacturing processes


Solution Selling of Print: Find the Challenges Important to the Customer

The solution sale only works if you’re solving the problems that are most important to the customer. The race to find solutions often results in sales teams wasting tremendous effort solving the wrong customer challenges. When you first agree on the challenges and their importance to the customer – solution selling works.


Understanding the Alphabet Soup of Expanded Gamut Printing (Premium Content)

CMYK, XCMYK, CMYKOVG, ECG, Fixed Palette – so many terms to describe various types of process printing. What do they all mean and why should you care? We’ll explore all of that in this article.


AWA’s Annual Market Update: Release Liner For Pressure-Sensitive Labels

Overview of the annual update on release liner for pressure-sensitive labels by industry market research firm AWA (Alexander Watson Associates).


Xerox Sets the Page Free at NYC’s 92nd Street Y

The company’s unique rebranding project resulted in an anthology of current authors writing about work, a series of videos, and a book launch event with author readings at New York’s venerable 92nd Street Y.


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