Social networks, communities, blogs, forums, and friends/followers are useful from a brand-building and marketing perspective. This article explores some of the ways that print service providers are building out their business-to-business social strategies.
When I interview print sales representatives and ask them why their customers do business with them, they almost always say because we have a great relationship, our service is great, and our people are great. Relationship selling is a very common way to sell.
New York City-based RICG recently rebuilt its Website, and the company is clearly optimized to appeal to B2B marketing executives. This article covers the key areas that RICG addressed during its quest to make a good B2B Web presence a reality.
Half of the printing companies that were in business in 1995 are gone. We are losing 1,000 to 1,500 more per year. And…since those firms are gone, i.e., they didn’t survive; it seems likely that they failed to change in some way that might have led to their survival.
A first sales call is a make-or-break situation that only happens once. Prospects expect sales people to show up PREPARED and understand their unique needs. This article offers practical steps to harness Internet resources to learn a prospect’s business, marketplace, and key pain points.
At PRINT 13, Neopost USA unveiled an interesting cloud-based Delivery Preference Manager (DPM) solution designed to help companies manage customer delivery preferences. A little over a year after Neopost S.A.’S acquisition of GMC Software Technology, we checked in with Dennis P. LeStrange President & CEO of Neopost USA to find out more about DPM, what else is new at Neopost and look into the impact of the GMC acquisition.
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend a major printing trade show in Chicago—you may have been there as well. A quick take on the show is that it was well-executed and well-attended, but smaller than we’ve come to think the quadrennial Print event should be.
This article includes tips for saving money and improving your operational excellence by using all your resources – especially your vendors. Areas covered include: consumables, freight, paper, and recycled waste. By picking one or two of these ideas you can improve your operation and lower your costs.
There is a lot of talk in the printing industry about transforming and changing business models based on new technologies. Luke Williams’s book Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business offers a five-stage process for practicing the disruptive thinking needed to facilitate change. This article highlights key points in the book and real-world examples of printing firms disrupting the status quo.
With run sizes per print job going down and the variety of labels going up, new solutions are needed to supply label printers an affordable, efficient option. The concept of using the Internet as a custom printing-enablement tool is based on a high degree of automation coupled with the benefits of digital color printing
The default for decades has been, when you want to communicate something (a marketing message, information, education, compliance message, etc.) you contacted your printer and discussed the timeframe, manufacturing specifications, and quantities. Printers could be passive
In this article, David looks at many new production workflows solutions that were introduced at Print13 in Chicago. Due to the sheer volume of new announcements, this is Part One of two articles covering this new product review.
Apple unveiled its new flagship device, the iPhone 5S, along with a cheaper model. To the disappointment of many, the devices do not support NFC (near field communications). This article highlights NFC and the alternative Apple is pursing, wireless transmitters called beacons.
No, that title isn’t a typo. Mergers and acquisitions are getting lots of attention again. That means mine will probably be the most contrarian voice on the subject. Over the past 14 years, I’ve watched 8 different deals up close. So let me apologize in advance: I’m not a fan of mergers or acquisitions. Here’s why..
Adobe, MPA, 4As and a group of publishers collaborated to develop a set of metrics to standardize the measurement of engagement for digital publications. Previously there were a variety of inconsistent measurement methodologies with no standard reports and varying metrics. Hear what MPA’s Ethan Grey and Adobe’s Lynly Schambers-Lenox have to say about these new standardized audience metrics for digital publications.
PRINT 13 was held September 6-10 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. This article provides a brief overview of just some of the hardware and software announcements that greeted visitors on the show floor.
The centerpiece of digital production at AGS Print & Marketing Communications is an inkjet web press with a combination of capabilities that the president of the company calls “marketing’s Holy Grail” for print.
On Kodak’s first full day in business after emerging from bankruptcy, Antonio Perez, its chairman and CEO, detailed the company’s plans to rebuild its stature as a supplier of technology solutions in a narrower cross-section of markets than it once served.
Capturing consumers’ attention while they are in a store is critical, and this often involves blending signage with mobile technology. This article discusses some of the ways that today’s retailers are accomplishing this goal.
On September 5th, Adobe announced the Adobe PDF Print Engine 3 (APPE3), bringing significant enhancements to its RIP architecture that enable its OEM partners to stay current with digital printing market demands. WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne and WhatTheyThink Contributor David Zwang collaborated on this analysis of the anticipated impact of APPE3’s market entry.
The information included in this article is a short summary of the data presented in SGIA’s soon-to-be-released 2013 Market Trends & Product Specialties Benchmarking Report. The data presented is culled from the responses of 136 U.S. sign and graphics producers, and provides an excellent snapshot of the graphics and sign segment today. A full report will be available on SGIA.org later this year.
Workflows have been around since the start of computer to plate, when the printing industry looked much different than today. The convergence of offset and digital as well as the other cross media applications has made a streamlined workflow more important than ever. Fujifilm has recently developed a whole new workflow called XMF. This has allowed them to build their software based on today’s needs.
Resilience and perseverance are crucial behavioral competencies when individuals and organizations must overcome significant obstacles. The capacity to be flexible as well as demonstrate the range of responses to adversity will dramatically impact our level of future success. One of senior management’s responsibilities is to ensure that during these transitional times we surround ourselves with the people that approach these challenges with the most appropriate behavioral competencies.
A number of tools and resources are emerging that help maximize social Web presence, including techniques for rewarding social influencers to promote products and services. This article discusses industry players that are driving customers to become powerful marketing assets.
Stakeholders in the sign and display market can look back on the past 18 months and note solid growth attributed to the steady and measured ascent of digital printing. Globally, we witnessed the continued adoption and embrace of digital as innovative new technologies helped print providers convert analog pages to generate new business and increase opportunities with existing clients.
Outbound marketing is promotion-based; spread the message about my company, my products, and my services to as many people as I can interrupt in the hope that some will find the message relevant. Print examples of this are blasting out huge direct mail campaigns to strangers, newspaper advertisements, and billboards.
Following a recent experience with a personalized video bill from AT&T, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne interviewed SundaySky President and chief revenue officer Jim Dicso to learn more about the company’s operations. SundaySky provides the infrastructure for high volume personalized videos from AT&T, Lenovo, Office Depot and more.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently joined 36 other industry analysts and journalists at a special event at Canon USA’s brand-new Melville NY headquarters located at One Canon Park. Also attending the event were WhatTheyThink’s Frank Romano, Richard Romano, David Zwang and Patrick Henry. Sherburne shares her thoughts about the visit.
Within the last few years we have seen the introduction of two high-speed inkjet technologies aimed at the direct mail space. One is the new high-speed color inkjet presses and the other is high-speed color inkjet heads that can be mounted on existing offset presses.
A number of savvy marketers have transformed large format signage in public locations into virtual shopping centers that are accessible to on-the-go travelers. This article discusses how retailers are leveraging QR codes to bring consumers the ultimate in shopping convenience.
A 2002 Standish Group study of software projects found that 45% of features were never used and only 20% features were used often or always. We base our software investment decisions on the number of features a product has and then we fail to utilize 80% of those features. Does that make sense to anyone?
As the first HP Indigo 30000 units begin to come to market, we are checking in with new owners to see how these B2 sheetfed presses, optimized for folding carton work, will be affecting their converting businesses.
In this article, David looks at cloud-based production management systems, a relatively new concept and product category, what they look like and how they compare to the more conventional workflow management offerings.
Consumers are changing the way that they interact with brands and how they ultimately buy. Service providers that have worked to add cross-media communications to their mix must now assess how they can help marketers deliver an engaging brand experience. This article cites recent research to show how emerging technologies can enhance the consumer experience.
As part of its ongoing philanthropic and community support efforts, Canon Solutions America spearheaded an effort to support Delray Beach’s Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens in the production of a catalog featuring its world-class exhibit of Japanese Kokeshi dolls. Learn how this first-ever digitally printed catalog has opened new doors for the museum.
Multi-Packaging Services, based in New York City, is an early adopter of the HP Indigo 30000 folding carton press. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with them to learn more about why they bought this press and what benefits they expect to gain from adding it to their production portfolio.
The wide format inkjet market is growing rapidly with expanding new products and applications. The equipment cost is relatively modest when compared to offset presses and bindery equipment. What do I need to consider before I jump on board?
To be successful, service providers need to focus on the challenges that keep the world’s CMOs up at night, including the explosion of data, engaging with customers through social media, the proliferation of channels and devices, and changing consumer demographics. This article cites recent market research to discuss how savvy service providers are meeting the changing needs of today’s CMOs.
FESPA is the Federation of European Screen Print Associations. It started as an annual exhibition by Display Graphics, Textile, and Specialist Screen Print suppliers of products for their customers and over time came to include inkjet wide-format print offerings by their various vendors.
In past articles we have brought forward excerpts from a 2012 PRIMIR study that Karstedt Partners was commissioned to write titled Packaging: Evaluation of Vertical Markets & Key Applications. This study was unique to many industry studies in that it looked at the force being placed on Brand Owners, the originator of packaging orders.
Most print service providers are serving the business-to-business market space. These B2B marketers need to target specific audiences with significant sales cycles and price preferences. This article discusses how service providers are evaluating content marketing in their go-to-market strategies.
The challenge of attracting, recruiting, hiring and the on-boarding of talented employees continues to be high on the priority list. How we determine who the most talented candidates are, where we find them, engage them and motivate them to seriously consider our industry for their career path requires a well-executed strategy. And as the workforce transitions from the Baby Boomer generation this process is becoming even more complex.
We collectively make a lot of poor software decisions, according to my very bias and unscientific research we make way more mistakes in this area than we do with other business decisions. What is it about technology that causes a collective brain freeze when it comes to making good decisions?
The HP Indigo 10000 B2 press caused a bit of a stir at drupa 2012. Now, more than a year later, the first sold units are making their way into the marketplace. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne takes a look at two very different installs to see how this new press is fitting in and the impact it might be having on conventional printing technologies.
Dscoop, the Digital Solutions Cooperative, recently appointed Mike Fogarty as its new Global Executive Director to replace long-time Executive Director Eric Hawkinson, now at Canon. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Fogarty to learn more about why he joined the organization and what he expects to achieve there.
In a rapidly changing industry, traditional printers must view the dynamics surrounding the offset-to-digital transition and new media as opportunities for much-needed growth. This article provides an overview of how Snyder Printer, Inc. leveraged digital color technology to improve its market opportunities.
With Print 2013 rapidly approaching, ‘tis the season for product updates, many of which were shown as technology demos or prototypes at drupa 2012. Delphax Elan is one of those products. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Delphax CEO Dieter Schilling to see what’s new.
Signage and wide format graphics have become an integral part of the marketing mix. This article highlights recent InfoTrends research and also explores how PIP Printing (Peoria, IL) is leveraging wide format to expand its own business opportunities.
Now in its fifth full-year since its introduction, the continuous-feed inkjet printer market shows no signs of maturity. There are few other markets in either the printer segment or consumer electronic segments that continue to show growth after five years. This doesn’t mean that the path forward is lined with rose petals.
With the adoption by Procter & Gamble of PantoneLIVE to better control its iconic library of brand colors throughout the production process, we wondered what that means for the packaging supply chain as a whole. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talks to Pantone’s Cheryl Johnson to learn more.
AT&T Mobile now features personalized video explaining bills for new customers or those who change their plans. In addition to reducing the call volume at AT&T call centers (a significant reduction in bill-related calls, according to a company blog), it has a real WOW factor, with almost 80% of recipients watching the video all the way through. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne explains.
A couple weeks ago, a source informed Senior Editor Cary Sherburne that HP was in the process of pulling the plug on its Hiflex MIS and web-to-print offerings. While there has been no official public announcement from HP, this article summarizes what customers are being told and includes an official statement from HP.
Marketers face the challenge of getting their messages out in a way that breaks through the clutter and encourages desired behaviors in recipients. Although TransPromo communications can address this challenge, adoption has been spotty to date. This article uses recent InfoTrends research to discuss the opportunities that TransPromo can bring in today’s market.
HP may have its share of problems in its overall business, but its maniacal focus on expanding its footprint among existing analog wide-format graphics print applications is not affected. At FESPA, it introduced two new high-volume wide-format printers, its most productive latex and UV-curable ink jet printers to date aimed at expanding HP’s footprint among wide-format analog graphics print applications.
On July 10th, Xeikon conducted a web briefing for journalists and industry analysts to provide an update on developments with its Trillium liquid toner technology shown as a technology demonstration at drupa. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne shares some of the highlights.
In business and in our personal lives our ability to negotiate effectively is constantly being tested. Whether we are focused on selling, buying, hiring, team building or any personal relationship, the ability to negotiate always comes into play.
With the recent announcement of a bankruptcy filing by National Envelope, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne took a closer look at the envelope market. Is it a doomed and declining market or are there bright spots that signal a viable market moving forward?
WhatTheyThink's Eric Vessels made a short trip from his home in Ohio down to the xpedx headquarters in Cincinnati for one of fourteen Wide Format Summits being put on by the company in 2013. This piece gives his impressions as well as thoughts from those who attended the event.
The DLR (Docklands Light Rail) train wended its way through London’s East End and the Docklands and pulled into the station for London’s ExCel Centre. The conductor announced, “Customs House for the ExCel Centre. If you’re going to FESPA 2013, please alight here.”
There’s no denying how much the inkjet market has changed in the last few years. It has come so far, so fast that it’s probably an appropriate time to step back and ask: Is it a cost effective printing solution? Does it deliver ROI?
Recently I had the chance to attend HP’s Print Your Future event, held near the HP inkjet labs in San Diego. The event was hosted by HP’s IHPS division which makes the high speed continuous feed inkjet presses (T2xx, T3xx, T4xx series). I was able to tour the labs and see each of the three press models in operation.
In a world where content is king, service providers must assess how they are differentiating their businesses by offering valuable insight to clients and prospects. Service providers have a number of options for delivering content to clients, and this article discusses just a few.
I had the privilege last week of attending the Smithers Pira Conference in Atlanta on the topic of Digital Printing for Packaging. Having been on the advisory board for the conference it was rewarding to see the fruits of our labor being so well received by those in attendance.
Signage is becoming an increasingly important marketing component for attracting on-the-go consumers. Wide format graphics represent a major opportunity for print service providers. This article explores how retailers can use wide format graphics to increase their marketing presence in today’s cross-media world.
Neenah Paper is “running towards new media,” not running from it, with its The Beauty of Engraving and The Beauty of Letterpress sites. They are also leveraging this presence to financially support two worthy causes: preservation of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum and support for victims of the Moore OK tornado tragedy. Read more.
The number one best answer to any question posed by a prospect during the sales process is a clarifying question (hopefully several of them). The two best clarifying questions are, “what business challenge are you trying to solve?” and “how would you define wild success?”
David looks at some of the packaged workflow systems that are now being offered, either with hardware products or as standalone solutions. He will look at them as primary support for a device as well as how they work in the context of a broader plant workflow.
With today’s challenging economy and technological advances, graphic communications service providers continually need to reassess what they are doing and how they are doing it. This article provides recommendations on how to set up a “self university” for yourself, while simultaneously building the right infrastructure for your employees.
Following Ricoh’s announcement that it would not be participating in Ipex 2014, WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne reached out to Ricoh Europe’s Graham Moore to learn more about this decision and Ricoh’s overall customer engagement strategy.
It is universally accepted that one’s interpersonal skills will have a direct effect on their ability to interact and get along with others, build critical relationships and function as a productive member of a team. Whether we consider their communication effectiveness or the way they approach and solve problems the soft skills they possess will either inhibit or contribute to their success.
Successfully integrating digital printing into your manufacturing process requires more than a digital press. Prepress and post press workflow changes and equipment are often required. Most printers have inline coating on their offset presses. Offline coating may be a new area with the addition of digital presses. What is right for you depends on your customer’s needs.
Everyone with a printing company to sell dreams of making a deal with full payment in cash at closing. That’s an achievable outcome for some sellers, but not for others. Two case studies provide a helpful dose of realism.
Today’s in-plants are continually re-inventing themselves to remain competitive. This article provides examples of a variety of organizations that are stepping up to today’s challenges by evaluating their offerings and making changes based on customers’ demands and market shifts.
Greater revenue utilization and lower labor costs will drive the slow but steady growth of electronic billboards—despite public and government opposition—but print billboards will still account for more than 96% of all billboards by 2015.
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.