WhatTheyThink

Commentary & Analysis

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So what do I need to know? Print + eMedia Part 4

In the fourth article of the series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a high level look at what you need to know to begin implementing eMedia production workflows. This overview will act as an executive summary for future articles that will delve into the specific issues and requirements.

Consumer Packaged Goods - Blending Mobile and Print to Drive Business

Due to the growing significance of electronic media, packaging is being integrated with mobile technology to drive sales. Consumer Product Goods manufacturers are beginning to incorporate mobile messaging into their packaging graphics and print advertisements to engage consumers. This article discusses why it makes sense for marketers to incorporate mobile messaging into packages. It also provides examples of companies that are currently engaging in this practice.

Show Me the Money? Don’t Look at Us, Say the Banks

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. By now, the economy should have picked up, printers’ prospects should have improved, and the banks should have responded by letting some sunlight into their vaults when borrowers from the industry came calling. What happened? Although the nation’s general banking crisis may be over, says Tom Williams, partner, New Direction Partners, there’s been little improvement in the availability of credit for business and equipment financing.

Questioning Common Wisdom is Important to Strategy

How often have we heard that print is a trusted medium, that awareness and familiarity are goals of advertising communications, or that print is key to touching prospects or customers? The new communications market is filled with opportunities for print entrepreneurs, but going against the common wisdom of industry myths is an important aspect of the entrepreneurial spirit. If you believe it's important to embrace change to be successful, then start by questioning commonly-held beliefs about the medium of print.

Use Managed Liquidation As Bankruptcy Alternative

Print owners are often looking for ways to escape companies with balance sheets that are deep in the red. Typically there’s a strategic acquirer who’s only taking on the general intangibles. Asset values are often less than debt levels. And timing between payments might not always match up with debt obligations. Bankruptcy might seem like an obvious solution, but the NAPL’s John Hyde explores the many advantages of Managed Liquidation.

New Media... More than Hype!

Marketing has evolved, and today’s marketers must use both new and traditional media channels to effectively engage their customers and prospects. It’s time to get rid of the gimmicks and utilize technology effectively. This analysis discusses how Hotels.com leveraged new and traditional media to drive results and improve its bottom line.

Living with My iPad

Andy Tribute didn’t anticipate becoming an iPad evangelist, but now he’s hooked. He wrote a few months back that he wasn’t sure what he was going to do with it, but now he has seen the light. In his latest article he sings the iPad’s praises, and explains why it might just be the most important tool in your arsenal.

How magazine circulation, ad pages and mailed by piece has changed since 2000

How have magazines changed over the last 10 years? Dr. Joe looks at subscription circulation, ad pages, postal shipments and weight, and what they tell us about this critical segment of our industry.

Were we sleeping or just too busy Googling our life away?…

In the third article of a series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications with some thoughts on how we got where we are and where we are going. This is important background that will help enable print providers and marketing services providers to stay ahead of the curve.

Old media, new media, and now newer media

There’s a new report out predicting significant growth in US media and communications spending over the next four years. Is it time to start the presses running again? Frank Romano examines what impact new media is continuing to have on media budgets.

SMS Text and Print… Reaching On-the-Go Consumers

SMS text messaging has emerged as an effective and measurable engagement tactic that marketers can use to power a variety of programs targeting sales, loyalty, and brand awareness. The nearly universal reach of text messaging makes it a tremendous platform for reaching and engaging on-the-go consumers. This article provides examples of marketers that are using a mobile call to action to establish a digital opt-in relationship with their existing customers and prospects.

Printer’s Survival Kit: Understand & Participate in the Digital Economy

The modern marketing budget has many more choices beyond print, and some of these choices are essentially free to implement. What are the roots of this massive change and how does it relate to the print industry?

The Unsatisfying L-Shaped Recovery Continues

Remember when people used to argue about a V-shaped recovery, or a U-shaped one, or even a W-shaped one? Dr. Joe kept saying the recovery was a lot earlier in the alphabet, and that letter was “L.” Recent economic data seem to be playing out exactly that way, with employment virtually the same as it was last year and GDP growth declining to levels that are indicative more of recession than recovery. Don't say you weren't warned. Yet despite all of the market pessimism, the printing industry seems to be righting itself and showing some signs of vitality.

How Do You Handle Change?

Change is something everyone in business (and in life) has to face. With the economy still fragile and the graphic arts industry in transformation, it’s likely you, your company and your customers are in some state of significant change. You might be changing your go-to-market strategy…your business model… the services you offer…or a cutback in staff or capabilities. Read on to understand how managing change more deliberately could make the difference between success and failure.

Print and Mobile… Better Together

Mobile media devices have become a primary source of portable media from which we can obtain information and communicate. This article highlights some recent examples of companies that are combining print and mobile technologies to create added value.

Email Marketing: Does it still work?

Does email marketing still work, or is it beset by too many problems with mailbox clutter, spam and more? A recent study and a specific example indicate there is plenty of life left in this medium. Is it part of your service mix?

Second Quarter U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +2.8%

June 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.2 billion, up +2.4% compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +1.3%. “This is the first three month gain in shipments on an inflation-adjusted basis since the period of October 2006 through April 2007.

All these new channels: and no Lucy…you still can’t be in the show.

In the second article of a series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications with details about the new communications channels that print service providers/marketing services providers should be considering as they lay out their cross-media strategies.

More printers interested in buying than selling books of business customer base

Who's buying and who's selling? The print business has been consolidating, and we're certain there is more to go, especially with the popularity of "tuck-ins." Dr. Joe explains why "tuck-ins" are not about what you should do with your shirt, but how it has slowly been creating a more efficient industry.

Committed to Internal Growth, Sandy Alexander Adds Capacity and Capability

We hear it constantly: the industry won't return to normal until printers start investing in their businesses again. But at one printing company in New Jersey, they never got the memo about capital investment being on hold. Sandy Alexander of Clifton isn't waiting for economists to tell it that the time finally is right to add capacity and services. The company - with a staff of 230, one of the largest printing employers in the state - has already spent $7 million on new production machinery this year, and its quest to equip itself for growth isn't over yet.

Lean and Mean: A Case Study in Remaining Competitive

Today’s printing environment is seeing shorter production cycles, diminishing run lengths, and an increased emphasis on versioning and variable data. The ability to respond quickly to varying customer demands requires the use of manufacturing production techniques and systems that can be reconfigured on the fly. This article discusses the lean manufacturing techniques that printers might utilize in today’s marketplace. It also provides background on RT Associates, who implemented lean manufacturing in 2008.

Inkjet Printing – Technology to Make a Change

The rise of inkjet printing is making its mark on the print industry. Andy Tribute has been following this trend, and he’s noticed some unexpected changes in short run book printing, shrinks sleeves production, label printing and localized news print production.

The Profitable Survivors

The printing industry may be through the worst of its restructuring efforts, but we know there is still more work to do. Dr. Joe explains how the corner may have been turned about a year ago, creating a class of surviving businesses that are claiming revenue increases. Then he puts on the green eyeshades and discusses "bonus depreciation." Of course, his take on the issue is different than what you might have heard elsewhere. (Again?)

Report from the future: The printer in 2020

None of us know what the future holds for the print industry, but Frank Romano looks into his crystal ball and sees a bright future for a trimmed down industry, run more by computers and technicians that printers, better integration between products and packaging, and a few other surprises.

Hitting the Bulls-eye with Target Marketing

Today’s successful print service providers are finding was to target the consumers that truly need and want their services. Your target market is the bulls-eye at which you want to aim all of your marketing efforts. This article discusses the benefits of target marketing, considers different strategies, and highlights a few companies that are successfully targeting certain markets.

Preparing to acquire: the basics of due diligence (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this primer on evaluating acquisition targets, Paul Reilly and Peter Schaefer of New Direction Partners reviewed the questions a prospective buyer should ask about the things that make the seller's company productive: its plant, its equipment, and the state of its relations with employees. Their discussion continues with advice for assessing the outcomes of that productivity: the quality of the financial results; the condition of the customer base; and the nature of the relationships that the seller has with its suppliers.

Change in Commerical Printing Segments 1997-2008

Dr. Joe discusses how commercial printing segments have changed their share of industry shipments from 1997 through 2008, and why digital printing's share might be even larger than the data indicate.

So you want to be a Marketing Services Provider?

David Zwang has a new series for WhatTheyThink readers called “Print + eMedia: the path to success.” David will take readers through the variety of channels printers now have to reach potential customers. This first article goes through the basics of what it means to be a marketing services provider.

Washington Post picks up Boarman story

New evidence has surfaced in relation to the nomination of William Boarman for the post of U.S. Public Printer. WhatTheyThink has been covering this story since the nomination was announced through posts on the Print CEO blog. Most recently, we learned that Boarman had received—and cashed—a check for a “gain sharing” payment in 2010—33 years after he left active employment with the GPO.

Agfa Graphics Acquires The Pitman Company

The July 15th announcement of Agfa’s Pitman acquisition had been rumored for some time. Agfa expects the acquisition to strengthen its presence in the U.S. printing market, including an expanded growth opportunity for Agfa’s industrial inkjet and prepress solutions. The company held a press conference to discuss the acquisition.

Market Positioning (or Re-Positioning) in a New Media World

Print service providers have historically not spent a lot of time positioning—much less re-positioning—their firms. During a prolonged recession, however, the business approaches that worked during a healthy economy will often become ineffective. When this happens, it becomes necessary for a firm to change its positioning. This article offers an overview of the strategies that print service providers can use to reposition themselves and also provides key examples of vendors that have effectively transformed their businesses.

The Chinese Challenge

The print industry is yet another area where the Chinese are making enormous strides. How will American printers compete? Andy Tribute might not have all the answers, but he has the perfect vantage point for providing key insights about what the Chinese are doing so right.

AlphaGraphics Unveils Bold Plan for Network Growth

AlphaGraphics has recognized the importance of keeping up with the changes in the marketing services industry. At the their recent annual owners conference, CEO Kevin Cushing announced to franchisees the major strategic changes they’re planning for the network. Cary Sherbune caught up with Cushing to find out how they’re staying on top.

Dr. Joe reviews the "recovery", USPS rate hikes and our latest & greatest tax policies

Months ago, Dr. Joe said we would have an L-shaped recovery, and indeed that seems to be the case. 2011 taxes are already playing into today's economy and creating unintended consequences. And then there's the Postal Service request for emergency price increases. Is it as out of touch with the marketplace as it seems, or is that just the way bureaucrats cry out for help?

HP Adds Director of Marketing for the Americas to Graphic Solutions Business

With a little more than a week in his new position, HP’s Director of Marketing for the Americas, Graphic Solutions Business, took time out to speak exclusively with WhatTheyThink about his goals and objectives in his first 100 days.

What’s Hot, What Should Stay Hot (Some Light Summer Reading)

Here are five trends that will remain hot for the foreseeable future. As you think about how to sustain and grow your business over the next few years, consider making some big bets in these areas.

After 17 Years, Kevin Joyce Swaps Print for TV

Last month, Kodak’s Vice President of Worldwide Sales & Marketing for Digital Printing, Kevin Joyce, announced he would be leaving Kodak—and the industry—for a different media opportunity. Among other things, Joyce looks forward to taking some lessons learned from print into broadcast. Read the whole story in this exclusive WhatTheyThink interview.

It’s Time to Revisit your Marketing Plan

Rather than focusing on cost cutting measures, aggressive firms are now seeking revenue growth opportunities to improve their bottom lines. The starting point in this process is the creation of a good strategic marketing plan. This document outlines strategies for revisiting your marketing plan and also explains why now is the perfect time to make a change.

May U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +3.6%

May's shipments were up compared to 2009, and April's were revised significantly upward. This is the first time since early 2008 that the industry produced two consecutive months with shipment increases. For complete details see this month's printing shipments report.

Marketing Services, 2010-Style

As consumer media consumption patterns continue to change, marketers are shifting their budgets from traditional to new media at a rapid pace. As the budget shift continues to digital media channels, marketers will be seeking partners that can provide expertise in execution. With limited resources, outsourcing is the only choice for many. This article discusses how marketing service providers can capitalize on this opportunity.

PSDA Opts for Professional Association Management Firm SmithBucklin

PSDA, formerly DMIA, has made a decision that is likely to have a major positive impact on its future. The association has chosen to work with professional association management firm SmithBucklin rather than continue to operate as a standalone entity. WhatTheyThink spoke with several stakeholders to gain an understanding of what this move means for the association.

Disrupting the Future of Books

I recently read a Wall Street Journal article entitled “’Vanity’ Press Goes Digital.” It featured author Karen McQuestion, who had spent nearly a decade trying to persuade a variety of New York publishers to print one of her books. Failing to get their attention, she decided to self-publish. Although enabling technology has been available for more than a decade, many publishers have only recently begun to understand the value of print on demand in the book life cycle. Now they are faced with an even greater challenge—how to deal with e-books within the publishing framework. Karen McQuestion’s experiences are a great example of the disruptive process of self-publishing at work.

What Would Get the Economy Moving Again?

Dr. Joe wants to start the economy booming again, and he offers a prescription he knows no one will heed. He also explains how small business owners make hiring decisions and some of the financial factors that roll through their minds as they do so. Just what we need... medicine no one wants to take, and a lesson in finance. The July 4th weekend can't come soon enough.

Indexx, Inc., of South Carolina Expands Marketing Services Offerings

Indexx, Inc., serving upstate South Carolina, including Anderson, Greenville and Spartanburg, as well as customers throughout North America, has taken an aggressive approach to migrating its business from traditional commercial print to a marketing services business that includes print among its offerings. Owner Jordan Finn talks about his transition in this interview.

Preparing to acquire: the basics of due diligence

If you’re acquiring a company, you better do your due diligence. But what does that involve? Patrick Henry spoke to two M&A experts to get the lowdown on how to ask the right questions. This is the first of a two part series; this one deals with inspecting the facilities and determining what kind of team you’re inheriting.

Selling to SMBs…Process Automation, Not Print

The small and medium-sized business (SMB) market provides an exciting sales opportunity for print service providers. For those interested in capitalizing on this opportunity, however, SMB marketing requires a unique selling approach. Treating the non-homogenous SMB market as a single entity will result in failure. This document discusses some strategies that services and solutions providers can implement to successfully reach this complex market.

GPO Celebrates 150th Anniversary

The Government Printing Office (GPO) was established on June 23, 1860, when President Buchanan signed the Congressional Resolution creating the agency. It opened its doors several months later on the day of Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration. Surprisingly, the only sitting President to ever visit the agency was Lincoln, but that hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of the employees at this $1 billion agency, some of whom have several generations of family who have worked for the GPO.

Maximizing Your Recycled Waste Revenue

The print industry keeps growing more competitive, and finding new revenue streams can be difficult to find. An often-overlooked area to increase your profits is recycled waste. John Braceland takes you through a thorough review of your recycling process to help you determine if you can’t squeeze a little more revenue out of the trash.

Dr. Joe reviews the latest economic data

Dr. Joe reviews the latest economic data and explains where we're headed for the third and fourth quarters and why.

Viva direct mail!

Recent innovations in variable data printing have created huge opportunities in direct mail. Are you taking advantage of it? If not, Frank Romano lists a variety of reasons why you should be.

Your Mobile Marketing Strategy: Where Does Text Messaging Fit In?

Mobile marketing is becoming a popular segment of multi-channel communication campaigns. With the rise of mobile device users, new marketing opportunities are opening up for marketers and service providers. What is your strategy for participation?

Quad/Graphics adds iPad app to digital edition

Quad/Graphics has once again demonstrated a high level of innovation, being one of the first, if not the first, print manufacturer in our industry to provide its customers with a customized iPad application that offers clients another distribution channel for their publications. Hear what Jason Sawtelle, Director of Premedia Sales, has to say about this exciting move.

RR Donnelley – Driving Forward in Inkjet Printing

RR Donnelley is the largest commercial printer in the world, but they are also way ahead in high-speed inkjet. Andy Tribute moderated a talk at IPEX with Ronnie Sarker of RR Donnelley, and he’s reported his insights on how they’re staying ahead of the curve.

First Quarter 2010 Profits for U.S. Commercial Printing Businesses

The first quarter of 2010 was a significant change compared to the same quarter of last year. The industry had a difficult time in 2009, and the profits that were initially reported for the fourth quarter of 2009 were swept away in a data revision by the Commerce Department. But 2009 was profitable, and this first quarter of 2010 was very encouraging. Profit levels are increasing, not because of higher market prices, but because of employee downsizing, and the departure of weakest printers. Dr. Webb emphasized that there are still challenges ahead because of the continuing growth of new communications that will affect the demand for print. We must remember that just because the industry may be having a tough time, there are profitable companies who are offering innovative services to their clients. The restructuring of the industry will be built on the entrepreneurial actions of these firms.

"Print is Not Dead" Should be DOA

A man walks into a pet store, holding a bird cage by its handle, and approaches the counter. At the bottom of the cage is a blue parrot, claws up. The man and the clerk engage in some banter, not about the bird being dead, but how beautiful its plumage is. Why is it that “print is not dead” only conjures up some decades-old Monty Python sketch? Dr. Joe explains how just having a pulse does not qualify one for a new and dynamic communications marketplace... how new technology is conspiring to make us a craft industry, yet again.

The Buck Stops Here - Managing Your Purchasing

As the Manager of a purchasing cooperative I get to see firsthand how many different printing companies manage their purchasing decisions. Companies that don’t manage this critical area don’t stay in business. Although some companies do a good job, I find that old habits die hard.

In-Plant Managers Dream in Color at IPMA Conference in Albuquerque

Barb recently had the opportunity to participate in IPMA’s 2010 Conference themed “Dream Color” in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While there, she interviewed IPMA President John Sarantakos and Past President Debbie Pavletich to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing today’s in-plants. This article considers industry opinions on the issues that in-plants will face throughout 2010.

Keep a Close Eye on Inflation

With much of the media focus on recently enacted health care reform legislation, pending financial reform, and the continuing large number of unemployed, the government's inflation reports for the most part have been pushed to the back burner - not eliciting much attention when released. One reason for the muted reaction: Overall inflation has been relatively benign to non-existent. But that may be changing.

April 2010 commercial printing shipments

April 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.05 billion, down -1.9% compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were down -4.1%. For the first four months of 2010, shipments were down -4.7% on a current dollar basis.

Are QR Codes Finally Catching On in the U.S.?

We have been hearing about QR codes for some time, but adoption rates in the U.S. have been slow compared to the rest of the world. Not sure what QR Codes are or what business opportunity they represent? This interview with Val DiGiacinto of Manhattan’s Ace Group tells the story.

Positioning your Business for the Future

Past articles of “Thinking Creatively” have focused on creating a unifying, differentiating strategy to help position your business for the future. One key input is to look at trends -- both near term and longer term trends. This entails some imagination but can lead you to a path of sustained growth. In this article, we cover four categories, including a few that may be quite surprising.

Value Innovation and the Blue Ocean

In the international bestselling book entitled Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, the authors assert that a “blue ocean” strategy is about creating uncontested market space by simultaneously pursuing differentiation and low cost. Too many companies are swimming in the “red ocean” of bloody competition, where there is limited room for real growth. This article provides a brief description of some businesses that are seeking their own blue ocean.

IPEX – A Digital Printing Show

Based on our experiences at IPEX 2010, it’s finally looking like the mood of the industry has changed and we might be entering a period of economic growth. The event showcased developments in a variety of areas, but the greatest interest seemed to be in the rise on inkjet printing. Andy Tribute offers his thoughts.

How to kill inkjet

IPEX 2010 affirmed that inkjet is here to stay. The show is over but the memory lingers on. There are almost 300 roll-fed production inkjet printers sold or installed in the world. And Xerox validated inkjet by showing an inkjet technology. But we could see inkjet die very quickly if suppliers and users do not re-invent the way they do business. Here's how they might fail.

Ipex Post-Mortem: International Social Networking - In the Flesh

So you thought you might like to go to the show? If so, you discovered that the best thing about trade shows like Ipex, Drupa, Print, and Graph Expo isn't necessarily checking out new products and technologies - although that helps. Instead, these shows are forums for the original social networking.

You can't manage what you don't measure

In this analysis, Barb addresses the challenges that marketers face to show how profitable ad campaigns can be. She provides examples of companies that were able to achieve the goals of their current clients, but also measure the success of their ads to strengthen their position in the marketing arena.

Don’t Count on a Non-Compete

The challenge facing printing company owners over whether and how to secure non-compete agreements was debated recently with a lively exchange of views on the NAQP listserv. Having encountered this issue from an M&A and business valuation perspective for many years, and being sensitive to the legal implications, given my background as a lawyer, I unequivocally weigh in that a Non-Compete Agreement is NOT the ultimate solution to protect general intangibles.

Is the Case for the Double-Dip Recession Stronger Now?

Double-dip usually means a diet-busting serving of ice cream. If ice cream is easy money, and the diet is the judicious use of credit, then it's another way to explain Europe's economic crisis. To paraphrase the old saying, “What if they gave a V-shaped recovery and nobody came,” might be what's happening to the economy. When no one's certain what's ahead, they focus on what they know.

Is Your Firm Fit for Acquisition? Here’s How To Make Certain It Is

When selling out is the best exit strategy for your print company, there’s careful planning that needs to happen from the moment you make your decision. Patrick is joined by Tom Williams and Jim Russell of New Direction Partners, to review the long range preparation that will put you in the best position to make the sale.

Could Happy Days Be Here Again? Optimism at Ipex Portends Potential Industry Renaissance

"Smiles, everyone, smiles!" That's not something one has heard at a printing industry trade show in rather a long time, but this year’s Ipex—which opened Tuesday, May 18, at the NEC in Birmingham, UK—is one of the happier occasions I (or many) can recall in a good long time.

Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Printing Industry

IPEX is many things – a celebration of print, a Euro-centric gathering of major and minor vendors, a walkable show that makes it easy to enjoy the variety of offerings that compose our industry – but it’s certainly no drupa.

Photobooks Meet Facebook

In this analysis, Barb takes a look at the impact of social networking Websites on printed photos and photo merchandise. She also provides examples of companies that are evolving their methods and creating photo applications for social networks to maintain revenue and attract potential customers.

Commerce Department Revises Printing Shipments Data

The Department of Commerce revised almost 10 years of printing industry shipments data last week. The WhatTheyThink economic data elves dug into the data and explain what those revisions mean, what years were revised up, and which ones were revised down.

“We Really Want To Make Things in Chicago Work”: An Interview with GASC’s Ralph Nappi

The best news that the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC) has heard in a long time is that cost-saving reforms finally are coming to McCormick Place, the Chicago home of the Graph Expo and Print events. And while these much-needed changes can't guarantee a successful show by themselves, they should go a long way toward easing exhibitors' concerns about the high costs and logistical headaches of taking part in what continue to be the industry's leading trade expositions.

Where to Look for Creative Inspiration

Sometimes it can be difficult to put yourself into the “creative zone”. We’ve assembled a collection of ideas and links that should help you open your mind and expand your thinking.

Photo Merchandise is the Gift that Keeps on Giving... Profitably!

Photo merchandise items such as photo greeting cards, photo books, and photo calendars have caught the attention of consumers and retailers alike. Consumers like photo gifts because they are thoughtful, emotional, and can take the place of more expensive merchandise. Retailers like photo gifts because they command a higher price than traditional photo prints and represent a growth market. This article discusses how Fullerton Photographics, a photo lab and studio in California, is using photo merchandise to increase its profits.

Francis McMahon at Océ: The Details

At the end of March, Francis McMahon, director of marketing for HP's US Graphic Arts Business, Imaging and Printing Group, departed HP after being there for eight years. Effective April 12th, he joined Océ North America as the Vice President of Marketing reporting to Mal Baboyian, President of Océ Production Printing Systems Division based in Boca Raton, Florida. Here is what McMahon has to say about his new company and the Canon acquisition.

Does it Have Legs? The Economy's Still Wearing Long Pants

The unemployment report was released Friday, and though it was almost 10%, there was good news. Will it last? Print and GDP continue their decade-plus estrangement. Disposable income is not the money you throw away, but the money you can spend as you wish. Well, maybe it is the money you throw away. Unless something changes, some of that money will go to filling out forms. Nothing like bureaucracy as a growth business.

Students help predict the future

None of us know what the future holds. Frank Romano teaches a class in print media trends, and he asked his students to look into their crystal balls. Here's what they thought the future might hold.

EFI Announces 15% Revenue Growth for Q1, Acquisition

Cary Sherburne talks with EFI CEO Guy Gecht about their recent earnings release and acquisition of Radius Solutions.

If You Haven’t Done It, Why Not?

Production digital printing technology was introduced to the market 20 years ago. The Xerox DocuTech was introduced on October 2, 1990 and its major competitor was the Kodak Lionheart. Since then, a plethora of new products have made digital printing more affordable and colorful. This document discusses six compelling reasons for investing in digital color printing.

Will Inkjet Printing Kill Offset?

If one reads many of the projections being made about the future of printing there is a belief that offset printing is in serious decline and the new high-speed inkjet printing will kill the offset business. Various claims have been made that we could see offset being replaced in almost all areas by inkjet printing by 2020 or earlier. What do I think about that? I think it is a total load of rubbish.

Year/Year Changes in Real GDP vs. Real Proprietors Income

The first quarter GDP showed that the economy is growing, but that was compared to the fourth quarter. How is GDP changing on a year-to-year comparison? The GDP data are about the whole economy, but how is small business doing? Dr. Joe explains how a rarely reported part of the quarterly GDP data helps us judge the health of small businesses.

Getting the Most Out of Vendor Relationships

There are many important relationships in business. Certainly, the customer relationship is critical. The employer - employee relationship is a key one as well. But one that is sometimes overlooked is the vendor relationship. At one time vendor relationships were seen as adversarial. Less was more when revealing information to your vendor about your operation. Then, when it came time to negotiate price, each side's goal was to get as much as possible.

2010 CMO Outlook: Intentions and Investments

This article provides a brief overview of the CMO Council’s 2010 Marketing Outlook to assess the trends in strategic marketing progress and performance, the marketing plans of influential organizations, and the priorities and intentions of industry leaders. It outlines the key goals and strategies for marketers while also discussing the implications for print service providers.

Profit by being a good employer

Why motivate employees to join and stay with your organization? First of all, because it’s good business. Companies that strive to attract and retain skilled personnel show consistently higher bottom-line profitability, increased value to customers, and stronger sustainability, especially in challenging times.

On Recoveries and CAPEX Investment Cycles: Why This is Different

A rising tide makes everyone a genius, even the bad managers. The improving economy is a less powerful trend than the upheavals that digital media are creating. Capital investment by printers is being affected by consolidation, the upside-down condition of interest rates, investments in new media, and a shift in industry print processes. For those waiting for the old economic and investment cycles to repeat themselves, this will be disappointing.

Printing Leadership Made Easy: Interview with Joan Davidson of the Sheridan Group

Leading a printing company can be a challenging task in the best of times. Not only do you have to keep up with all the technology, maintain connections with and a deep understanding of your customers’ business needs, but you also have to build the right team and inspire them to carry your message to customers and prospects. A recent keynote by Joan Davidson at EFI Connect sheds some light on how a successful leader is accomplishing these objectives.

Reynolds DeWalt: Playing in the Blue Ocean

Instead of dividing up existing (and often shrinking) demand and benchmarking competitors, the blue ocean strategy is about growing demand and breaking away from competitors. This article discusses how Reynolds DeWalt, a cross-media communications company, is striving to do just that.

Adobe CS5 Makes Its Debut

Proficiency in the dark art of prepress once required expertise in a bewildering array of applications; there was QuarkXPress and Pagemaker and Photoshop, but also Freehand, Streamline, Suitcase, Trapwise, INposition Lite and a host of others. Now that prepress has become premedia, the twenty-first century skill set centers on color management, PDF workflows and automation. For most shops, these tasks are made easier by the integration and powerful tools found within Adobe’s Creative Suite software bundle.

EFI Connect Draws 500+ EFI Customers to the Las Vegas Wynn

This is the 11th EFI Connect conference and the fourth time it has been held at the Las Vegas Wynn. Compared to 2009, the conference has 50% more attendees, and users are seeing first-hand enhancements made to PrintSmith, Pace and Monarch, EFI’s three MIS product families. Also taking center stage are inkjet offerings from VUTEk, Rastek and Jetrion, as well as Fiery.

Inflation-adjusted and Annualized Publishing and Advertising Revenues

The trends in industry revenues of advertising and publishing sectors each tell an interesting story. They get more interesting once iPhones, Kindles, and iPads are added to the mix. Dr. Joe explains it all, but may have more questions than answers, which might spell opportunities for print businesses.

Kodak’s Eric Owen Discusses Kodak Strategy, Shares Advice for Printing Success

Eric Owen, newly appointed as Kodak’s Worldwide Vice President of Customer Development for Digital Printing Solutions started at Scitex and moved to Creo, then Kodak, as a result of acquisitions. Read what Eric has to say about the key strategic objectives of his current position, where he sees inkjet and toner fitting, and his advice for print service providers as the economy begins to recover.

The “Irreplaceability” of Direct Mail

Even though the world is now consumed with electronic communications like Twitter and Facebook, it is reassuring that mailboxes are still brimming with advertising mail. Here are five completely unique reasons why direct mail will be a medium of choice for years to come.

Mediaware: Making a Difference with Digital Packaging

Digital printing is the same technology that has been used by commercial printers, in-plant shops, and corporate offices for quite some time. In industrial printing, however, the technology is just starting to transform packaging design; inventory management; and the ability to respond rapidly to changing design, brand management, and regulatory requirements. This article provides a brief overview of how Mediaware leveraged the digital packaging opportunity through an agreement with Microsoft.

For Sellers, Six Scenarios—and a Word about Timing

Like a weak hand at the card table, a weak offering in the M&A market won’t be improved by the length of time it’s in play. Unlike a poker hand, it can’t be bluffed because the “cards”—the fundamentals of the business—are always in plain sight of the buyer and its due diligence.

FedEx Office, Canon and HP Announce “Game-Changing” Deal

Yesterday, FedEx Office, Canon and HP jointly announced an alliance to create an unmatched network of printing and imaging capabilities. Over time, FedEx Office will be sole-sourcing its black & white and color staffed and self-service copying and printing equipment from Canon, wide format from HP, and will take advantage of other technological advantages and innovations derived from the three companies and their partnership. Read what Canon and FedEx Office have to say about this major announcement.

A Look at the B2 Digital Press Market

The first B2 format sheet fed digital presses will come to market this year. This article doubts there is a market for the B2 format compared with the market for the current B3 format digital presses. Among the reasons for this are there are few applications that cannot be handled on the B3 format digital presses, and the increasing efficiency of B2 format offset presses and the arrival this year of Presstek 75DI B2 format D.I. press.

Print is Not Vital but the Print Business Should Be

The power of print. Print is vital. Print has had longer than a decade of power outage. Print is not vital, print is a choice, and sometimes that choice is "no." Now what? In this kind of environment, the printing business becomes more important than the print medium. How that all plays out is up to our entrepreneurs. Dr. Joe explains.

Xeikon at the Crossroads

Xeikon and Basys Print are likely to have new owners before Ipex starts. One of the largest private investment companies in Europe has made an offer that values Xeikon and Basys Print at $96m. At Ipex, Xeikon will introduce a new industrial label press they claim to be the most productive press in the industry. They will also introduce an enhanced Xeikon 8000 press for document printing.