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Mercury Print: Positioned for Growth (Premium Content)

Mercury Print Productions of Rochester NY reports continued growth, increased use of digital print technologies, and a new facility that consolidates 3 previous ones. CEO John Place talks about current business and future strategies in this company spotlight.


Inkjet drupa 2016 – Continuing the Story

In this article, David begins the process of looking at the changes in production inkjet since drupa 2012, with an eye on educating the marketplace on what is out there and what we may expect to see.


What Price Privacy? The Pew Research Center Tries to Find Out

Does “privacy” have meaning any more? People are sometimes willing to trade personal information for rewards—even when they know they are going to regret it. There are implications for print in the conflict.


Small and Medium-Sized Businesses: A Marketing Services Opportunity! (Premium Content)

Just like large enterprises, SMBs want to look credible and professional as they spread the word about their businesses. This market presents tremendous opportunities for print service providers with the right go-to-market strategy. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore how service providers can aggregate volume with a focus on specific horizontal and vertical SMB markets.


Printing Was 1 of 8 Major Manufacturing Industries with Positive Growth in 2015

Part of print's good 2015 was how well it did compared to other industries. Of 21 major manufacturing industries, nine had positive years in current dollars, with commercial printing as sixth highest. Precipitous decreases in commodities prices caused manufacturing in metals and energy to have such a bad year that the entire manufacturing sector declined -4.3%. For the year, current dollar GDP growth was +2.9%. For the first time in twenty years, commercial printing growth exceeded GDP.


Print MIS Product Spotlight: EFI’s Pace

This product spotlight focuses on three areas that we see as the most powerful and differentiating features of Pace; PaceStation, Pace Customization Modules, and Pace Item Templates. The unifying concept with all three of these features is that they allow a printer to “configure” Pace to work for their unique business requirements.


Packaging Finds Its Proper Place on the Agenda at EFI Connect 2016

The user conference was too wide-ranging to have a single keynote, but it was a good place to catch up with what EFI is doing to streamline packaging workflows.


An Owner’s Strategy For A Receding Economy

The impact of a negative economic outlook on M&A activity will be to turn the current sellers’ market into a buyers’ market and result in decreased valuations. The situation will cause most owners who might have been considering a sale transaction in the near future to pause and re-examine their strategies.


POP! Retail Display Proves Attractive – January 2016 M&A Activity

January 2016 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries


Printing Shipments Have a Good Year Despite Mixed Signals from the Economy (Premium Content)

The unemployment improved to a level not seen since the recession began, but it doesn't feel that good. Have the statisticians been running their thermometers under running water until it gets to the number they want? Printing shipments beat GDP for the year for the first time since 1995. Where are the cheers? And then there's a beef with image campaigns. Yeah, it's Dr. Joe time again.


The Road to Wideformat Commoditization

Commoditization has come creeping into wide-format and specialty graphics, but does it mean the end of profitability?


Commercial Printing Prices Less Than December 2007; Paper and Ink Higher

Since December 2007, the CPI is up by +12.6%. How have the PPI for commercial printing, ink, and paper changed? Commercial printing prices are lower, -0.8%. This means that a commercial printing business has to increase its productivity and profitability to reward its owners and employees to make up for the loss of purchasing power they have in their paychecks.


No Packaging Necessary—No Question?

There are those who envision a future free or nearly free of packaging. Although it might seem unachievable, some tentative steps in that direction have been taken.


Catalogs: The Power to Drive Sales (Premium Content)

Major retailers like Lands’ End and J.C. Penney are bringing back their printed catalogs because they recognize the critical role that these catalogs play in driving business. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to highlight how catalogs remain an important marketing tool for reaching today’s consumers.


Recovery Indicators Show Economic Slowdown Underway

The monthly recovery indicators were uneven again. The NASDAQ fell almost -7% in the last month, and ISM non-manufacturing new orders and imports also declined.


Build Collaboration into Your Meetings to Innovate

Business meetings can be horribly ineffective, yet with a set of small hacks you can unleash the productivity and innovation your company desperately needs. Here’s the good news, all you need is some Post-It Notes and a phone.


IDEAlliance and Epicomm Join Forces for the Benefit of the Industry

Yesterday, IDEAlliance and Epicomm announced a proposed merger that, pending member approval, will combine the two organizations under the 50-year-old brand IDEAlliance. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with IDEAlliance’s David Steinhardt and Epicomm’s Ken Garner to get the inside story.


Fresh, Flexible, and Family-Inspired: Values that Breed Success at Emerald Packaging

Look around the produce section of your supermarket. Notice how many colorfully printed flexible bags there are? Meet the company that put some of them there.


4Q-2015 GDP Disappoints at +0.7%; 2015 GDP +1.8%

Real Gross Domestic Product (RGDP) for the US increased by an annual rate of +0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2015. On a year-to-year basis, RGDP was up +1.8%.


Wideformat Regulatory Outlooks for 2016

New OSHA workplace safety regulations and changes in reporting requirements and on-site inspections are on the horizon. Here’s what companies in the specialty graphics industry need to know to ensure they are compliant.


Direct Mail in 2016: Print Providers Need to Deliver… and Some Are! (Premium Content)

Today’s market holds a tremendous opportunity for direct mail printing. How can today’s service providers better meet marketers’ evolving needs, and what are the essential ingredients for success? This article explores three key areas of focus—data-driven personalization, multi-channel communication, and an agency approach.


Cloud Product Usage in the Printing Industry

The chart shows the percentage of US commercial printing establishments of all sizes and their responses to the question about the cloud-based services they use today. The question did not ask them their frequency or intensity of use, just whether or not they use it today. Some of the “non-users” may not even be aware that they are using cloud services, since some services run transparently in the background, such as backup services like Carbonite and others. Others may not be aware that they are using a VOIP phone system. Some cloud services such as Dropbox allow customers to brand their service so it looks like a company file sharing site. Generally, larger printers are using more cloud services than others, but the disparity is narrow.


Print Software Success Requires Collaboration at All Levels

As technology continues to change at a rapid rate, collaboration needs to extend into the functional areas of your business. Don’t stop at creating a peer group for print owners, encourage your accounting lead to get into a peer group, each functional area should have multiple sources of knowledge sharing.


Web-to-Print Product Spotlight: Propago Marketing Management Platform

In studying the Propago product, a consistent theme reverberated throughout the product; this product was built based on real-time feedback from live users in a large scale deployment. The approach to solving the business challenges of web-to-print are rooted in data-driven decisions rather than theoretical solutions to ill-defined challenges. Propago came out of a large commercial printing organization that consisted of twenty-five companies across the nation.


Advanced Materials for Advanced Applications

Gearing up for drupa yet? At WhatTheyThink, we are. In fact, our drupa page is already up, so be sure to follow the news as the show gets closer! One of the areas worth investigating when you go to drupa is the developing area of advanced materials, whether it is resins for 3D printing, conductive inks, or advanced inkjet ink formulas.


Revenues Go One Way, Profits Go the Other (Premium Content)

Profits are the focus of Dr. Joe this week. His data show two halves of the industry at the same size but the profits are not divided that way. It's not what you might expect.


Gecht and Wynn at EFI Connect: for Printers, the Ultimate Vegas Double Bill

As leaders in their respective fields, Guy Gecht and Steve Wynn share an exceptional ability to hold a stage and captivate an audience. Both played to a packed house as keynote speakers at EFI Connect 2016.


Inkjet Ecosystems: Notes From EFI Connect 2016

EFI is integrating hardware and software for specialty printing applications, as well as making the most of its many recent acquisitions. Here are some wide-format-related highlights.


Direct Mail’s Integral Role in the Marketing Mix: A Direct Marketer’s Perspective (Premium Content)

Despite the surging popularity of digital marketing, direct mail will continue to play an integral role in savvy businesses’ marketing initiatives. This article cites data from recent InfoTrends research to explore the role that direct mail will likely play in the marketing initiatives of the future.


Consolidation is Somewhat Different Than Industry Common Wisdom

Here are data from our survey at the end of 2015 where we asked respondents to identify the status of their companies in terms of consolidation. Generally, formal consolidations are executed by the largest print businesses, and small businesses close their respective shops and reopen a new business with new partners.


Marketing Services, Cross-Media, and YOUR Print Business

It’s time to stop talking about what we should become (marketing services providers) and actually take the steps that move us in that direction. Think through a go-to-market strategy for offering digital products, execute on that plan on your print business’ marketing, enable your sales team, and start diversifying your revenue streams for the digital age.


Wide-Format Quick Hits for January

Herewith a handful of recent new announcements that caught your Section Editor’s eye.


X-Rite Pantone’s CEO Ron Voigt Shares Insights (Premium Content)

As 2015 drew to a close, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne had the opportunity to sit down with X-Rite Pantone CEO Ron Voigt to review the year and look ahead into 2016.


What’s in Your Wallet? A Printed Piece of $1.34 Trillion

Paper currency has been part of the American mindset ever since Benjamin Franklin pamphleteered for it in 1729. But, folding money has to confront 21st-century trends that could displace it.


Chatbooks: Linking the Physical and Digital Worlds

Our President, Eric Vessels, came across the Chatbooks service in Instagram and shared it with the team. Our own Frank Romano commented on it in a video last week, and today we have an interview with Chatbooks CEO Nate Quigley for a deeper look at the service and print’s value add.


Direct Mail: Integral to the Marketing Mix in 2016 (Premium Content)

While some forms of marketing are fleeting and forgotten, a postcard, brochure, or catalog can serve as a lasting reminder of a marketing message. Direct mail can compel recipients to act, attract new customers, increase customer loyalty, boost brand awareness, reactivate dormant accounts, and deliver profitable results. This article explores how businesses of all sizes are rethinking their strategies and incorporating more direct mail in their messaging.


NFIB Small Business Index Still Shows Weak Small Business

The latest survey of NFIB shows their index bouncing along the level of the early 2000s recession low, and down from the high prior to the December 2007 recession. Passing that level on the way up would have indicated a completed recovery of this sector but it just couldn't make it that far and break through. Using this indicator that means that small business did not emerge from the recession yet. Big business and the stock markets dominate the headlines, but small business remains the front line of the economy, and its difficulties are often hidden from view as being un-newsworthy. Its breakout above the bottom of the early 2000s recession took some time, and the recent trend in the chart looks like it's getting ready to fall below that again. It dipped below that level briefly a few months ago and climbed back out. Will it climb out again? It's worth watching.


3D Printing Makes Room for a Fourth “D”

Just when we thought that the definition of “printing” had been pushed to the limit, along comes a new one that envisions morphing objects made of self-assembling materials.


Data Modeling: A Critical Juncture of Print MIS implementations (Premium Content)

In Print MIS implementations, your business data entered into the Print MIS database structure creates the data model of your business. Your attention to detail at this critical juncture of Print MIS implementations can set you up for success.


Gestalting the Printing Industry - 2016 Mergers and Acquisitions Forecast

December 2015 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries


Heidelberg Crosses the Digital Divide: an Interview with Jason Oliver (Premium Content)

Now a committed developer of digital printing systems, Heidelberg knows where it wants to go in the digital equipment market and what it can do to get there.


What’s New(s) In Flatbed Wide-Format Printers? (Premium Content)

Our annual rundown of the current flatbed wide-format printer landscape.


Early Economic Confusion Puts 2016 on Uncertain Footing (Premium Content)

It is times like these that make one yearn for one-armed economists. What should we believe? The crazy gyrations of the stock market? The collapse of commodity prices? Or what might be a surge in employment? No wonder Dr. Joe's lost his hair. He adds his comments to the economic stew.


An American Journalist in Cuba

After the U.S. executive order in early 2015 that allowed more classes of U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba without seeking prior U.S. government approval, I decided I would like to visit the island to learn more about the culture and doing business there. In my role as a journalist covering the printing, packaging and publishing industries, the goal was to visit those types of companies.


2016: The Year of the Customer Experience (Premium Content)

Whether improving direct customers’ experiences or the experiences of clients’ customers with better communication products, a positive customer experience delivers bottom-line results. This article provides InfoTrends’ recommendations on areas that print service providers should focus on in the year ahead as they strive to improve the customer experience.


What Share of Shipments is Sold by “Marketing Service Providers”?

For about a decade, many print businesses have marketed themselves as “marketing services providers” with varying degrees of success. Our recent survey showed less than half of print businesses market themselves in this or a similar manner.


VistaPrint and the Upload-and-Print Market

Cimpress (parent company of VistaPrint) is expanding into the core of the print market; “upload-and-print”. They are buying demand generators and no doubt investing in user experiences that will enable self-service online purchasing of print for the largest segment of the print industry (manufacturing of the customer’s design/file).


Recovery Indicators Look More Like Recession Indicators – Are They?

Are the recovery indicators becoming recession indicators There's enough negative news of late to be wary about the state of the economy, and a lengthening list of geopolitical issues, for sure.


Eighteen Months of Industry Growth, Beating the Economy, Too

US commercial printing industry shipments are up for 18 consecutive months in current dollars compared to the corresponding month of the prior year.


Digital Applications Make Gains in Packaging, but Progress Is Hard Won

A special report ahead of drupa 2016 sees the event as the setting for a turning point in the adoption of digital printing for packaging production.


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