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Identify Leadership Skills by Introducing New Print Software (Premium Content)

Leadership is about embracing change as an iterative process of improving upon how your business operates. In modern times that equates to getting software to do more work for your business so your human labor can focus on higher-value activities.


Catching the “Third Wave”

We’re in another wave of media change, the first with the consumer Internet, the second with social media, tablets, and smartphones, and now a third with an infrastructure built for heavy volume and high speed. Through two waves, there were printers who got out ahead with savvy judgment that went against the common wisdom and blazed their own paths of market engagement and abandoned industry practice. This third wave is already more intense, as printing shipments in the last six months are down more than -7%. Success in this third wave demands a new philosophy, a different understanding of capital, and a new assessment of risk. Dr. Joe offers The Third Wave, a new book, that addresses these issues.


USPS Informed Delivery: Research Shows Strong Interest! (Premium Content)

With Informed Delivery, the USPS has created a platform to promote consumer engagement with physical mail before it arrives, adding new value for marketers and recipients alike. According to recent research from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends, the initial perceptions about Informed Delivery are encouraging for the USPS.


Sell Workflows That Result in Printed Artifacts (Premium Content)

Print is an artifact of a business process/workflow. You should get very curious about the overall workflow so that you can provide more value than just the print. This is the path to embedding your services with a customer and increasing the areas where you can add value.


Memjet Launches DuraLink Aqueous-Based Pigment Ink and Inkjet Heads, Reaffirms OEM Strategy (Premium Content)

Last week, Zwang and Sherburne joined a small group at Memjet headquarters in San Diego for an exclusive preview of the company’s new pigment-based DuraLink ink, inkjet printheads, and modules, together with an overview of the company’s strategy moving forward. They provide insight into what this announcement means for Memjet and for the industry.


What Facebook Insights Can Teach Us for Direct Mail

Want to help your customers improve their direct mail marketing? Help them market on Facebook. Here’s how you can use insights from Facebook’s business pages to introduce your clients to demographic targeting — for free — and enable them to reap the benefits.


Mid-Year Progress Report: 2017 So Far (Premium Content)

We’re mercifully more than halfway through 2017. How is the industry faring thus far compared to last year? Our new Economics and Research Center report looks at the latest economic, technological, and cultural trends affecting the industry.


Takeaways from the 2017 Social Media Marketing Report

Printers may not yet be fully comfortable with social media marketing, but it’s critical that they understand the basics. Here are the primary conclusions of “2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report” just released by the Social Media Examiner to help in that effort.


Special Effects Beyond CMYK in Digital Printing (Premium Content)

A number of today’s commercially available digital printing solutions have added units beyond four-color, either inline or offline, to enable special effects that enhance digital print. Unique imaging capabilities can transform printed materials from commodity, price-sensitive offerings to higher-value products that command a premium. This article explores how special effects can enhance the value of print and create new growth opportunities for service providers.


Hidden Impact of Manual Workflows (Premium Content)

A manual, labor intensive workflow makes your print business inefficient – that is obvious. The hidden impact of manual workflows is the impact it might be having on your customer services team’s growth mindset.


Business Lessons after the Storm

As we ramp up to Print 17, three lessons from trees felled in a ferocious storm provide business lessons we can all learn from. Strength of foundation, flexibility, and integrity keep your “tree” upright under changing and challenging business conditions.


PIA Alliance Printer Panel Identifies Opportunities and Challenges for Digital Print Businesses

Last month, the PIA Alliance hosted a “Digital Think Tank” in New York City that brought together 150 equipment manufacturers, their customers, and other printers to talk about the latest technology and trends in digital printing and the industry in general. Here are the highlights.


Are You Ready for Emojis in Marketing?

Emojis have become an integral part of today’s communication. If you want to communicate in the language of your customers, like it or not, you need to think about integrating emojis.


Best Practices of High-Performance Print Sales Organizations: Part 2 (Premium Content)

According to InfoTrends’ research, high-performance print sales organizations follow clearly-defined sales strategies, hold their sales staff accountable, and continually adapt their organizations to keep pace with ever-changing market conditions. This article is the second in a two-part series highlighting the 10 common best practices reported by survey respondents that experienced double-digit sales growth in the past 12 months.


Updated Commercial Printing and New GDP Data (Premium Content)

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released the Q2-2017 GDP data and revisions to historical data beginning with 2014. Back in mid-May, the Commerce Department updated historical commercial printing shipments (NAICS 323) as part of its manufacturing shipments revisions. This week’s chart shows an updated view of both data series in current dollars (sometimes called “nominal;” both terms mean that data are not adjusted for inflation). The red line is year-to-year growth rate in GDP, and the blue line is year-to-year change in quarterly shipments. Since around 1997 printing shipments have not met GDP growth except for a moment between 2010 and 2015. The most recent printing shipments trend at the right of the chart are remarkable for their direction. A discussion of the GDP revisions and the current status of printing shipments can be found in the column of August 7.


Ask More Questions, Make Fewer Assumptions, Sell More (Premium Content)

People buy workflows; therefore sales is a discovery process that reveals the challenges in their workflows that you might be in a position to solve. You have to ask more question and make fewer assumptions.


It’s All About Me!

An image used in presentations at EskoWorld struck me as a telling comment on changing consumer behavior. Take a look.


Shutterfly Standardizes on HP Indigo, Adding More HP Indigo 12000s (Premium Content)

At drupa 2016, Shutterfly placed an order for 25 HP Indigo 12000 digital presses, with an aggressive installation plan over the summer to be ready for the company’s peak season. Now Shutterfly has added another phase of HP Indigo 12000s to the mix. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Shutterfly to get the details.


Wide Formant and Packaging are "Digital Proof" But But Where are the Real Opportunities for Printers?

You can’t protect an iPod in a digital box and you can’t replace vehicle wraps with email. Sure, there is some encroachment of digital technologies on the sign and banner industry, but there are limits based on the role that these products play. This article looks at some of the statistics on the current state of these two industries.


Kodak: An Update on Strategy and Performance (Premium Content)

Senior Editor Cary Sherburne tuned into Kodak’s Second Quarter Earnings Call to get an update on Kodak’s strategy. There were some surprises in the call, and more detail about strategic initiatives moving forward.


That Can-Do Spirit: New Trends in Beer Consumption Open Up a Can of Opportunities—Part 2 of 2 (Premium Content)

Canned beer isn’t your daddy’s tinny-tasting brew. As microbreweries move small-batch production from bottles to cans, it opens up opportunities for short-run can decoration.


Is the Future of the Traditional Textbook Business at Risk?

Time and again, we have seen non-traditional competitors storm a market to the detriment of the establishment. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne came across a fascinating story that could be a bellwether indication of trouble ahead for the textbook industry.


Best Practices of High-Performance Print Sales Organizations: Part 1 (Premium Content)

According to InfoTrends’ research, high-performance print sales organizations follow clearly-defined sales strategies, hold their sales staff accountable, and continually adapt their organizations to keep pace with ever-changing market conditions. This article is the first in a two-part series highlighting the 10 common best practices reported by survey respondents that experienced double-digit sales growth in the past 12 months.


How Well Does Your Staff Know Your Software? (Premium Content)

We train on presses, we engage with the press vendors. We make sure operators are competent – why don’t we do the same for software solutions (especially Print MIS, production workflow, and web-to-print)?


Transformation and Rebirth – July 2017 M&A Activity

July 2017 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries. LSC Communications rebuilds diversified publication services; Quark transforms; DG3 acquires UK printer Leycol; Multi-Color goes all-in with deal for Constantia Labels; and more…


Packing a Punch with Print: Catalogs and Direct Mail

Catalogs and direct mail can help overcome the ‘digital fatigue’ that many consumers are experiencing today. Our customers are frequently telling us that when done right -- personalized and relevant to each recipient – it is the printed piece, especially when married with other media, that helps marketers boost response rates.


Does OEE Apply to Digital Presses? This study says Yes

What is OEE and why should you care? How does this metric – Overall Equipment Effectiveness – play in the world of digital printing? Those are questions addressed in a new report from jzarwanpartners. We’ve got a summary of findings for you!


GDP Revisions Offer New Perspective; Printing Shipments Remain Troubling (Premium Content)

Revisions to GDP last month showed a slower economy in 2016 and a better one in 2014 and 2015. That’s fine – but we have to make decisions today, not three years ago. Do changes to economic data really matter? They do, but perhaps not the way you think. The stock market is up and setting records, so the economy must be great! A different metric says otherwise. Economic data: it’s a strange place. And commercial printing shipments? Pass the ibuprofen, please.


Conversations on Print - Ep 3: Owning The Creative Relationship - Featuring Peter Gunning

Jennifer Matt talks with Peter Gunning, CEO of Grafenia about how owning the creative relationship has moved from print to the website - our industry needs to evolve with that change. Grafenia's Nettl brand provides print service providers the tools they need to compete in the digital world.


Opportunities and Challenges in Life Stage Targeting

Life stage targeting takes advantage of a powerful truth in consumer marketing—for the most part, consumers are creatures of habit, and the times they are most likely to make major purchases is during times of transition. Understanding and tapping into those transitional times is where life stage marketing comes in.


Pricing Strategy: Labor Theory of Value versus Value-based Pricing (Premium Content)

Companies within in the printing industry have historically had a manufacturing mentality—they subscribe to the labor theory of value, which states that the value of a service is determined by the amount of labor that goes into production. Now, thousands of firms in a variety of industries are pricing their services according to the external value created—as perceived and determined by the client—rather than the internal costs incurred in generating services. This article explores the concept of value-based pricing and highlights some real-world examples of companies that are embracing this strategy.


Print Business Investments: Presses vs. Software (Premium Content)

Successful print companies have always been re-investing in their business to remain competitors. Up until now, that investment centered around production equipment and systems. Technology in the form of software will be a primary differentiator moving forward.


MIS Systems: Where are we now and where are we going? (Premium Content)

Management Information Systems (MIS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions in the printing industry have the reputation of being inconsistent and extremely diverse. We led a recent study for PRIMIR to explore the typical features of MIS/ERP solutions purchased and to what extent they have been implemented and integrated into print shop workflows. The result provides insight for both commercial printers and MIS/ERP vendors into which capabilities are most important, what their shortcomings are and improvements that can be made.


That Can-Do Spirit: New Trends in Beer Consumption Open Up a Can of Opportunities—Part 1 of 2 (Premium Content)

Canned beer isn’t your daddy’s tinny-tasting brew. As microbreweries move small-batch production from bottles to cans, it opens up opportunities for short-run can decoration.


Locating Who to Talk To… It’s an Art and a Science! (Premium Content)

Having a list of addresses simply isn’t enough in this modern age. Modern marketers are obligated to create an easy path to purchase, especially in an age where brick-and-mortar stores must compete with easy online purchases. This article explores how Geoservices tools can guide people to products by defining clear targeted areas for marketing campaigns.


Software with Print on the Side

Software is the toolset that enables you to solve the business challenges required to win the print that results from them. Your sales process is going to look like software as the main dish with print as a side dish.


Digital Embellishment Still a Hot Topic: JetFX to bring offline sheetfed solution to Print 2017

Digital embellishment was a hot topic at drupa 2016, and more companies are entering the fray. We came across JetFX at an event earlier this year and were intrigued by their approach. Read more about JetFX approach to foiling, spot varnishing, embossing, and high end digital holograms.


Opportunities and Challenges in Lifestyle Targeting

When personalizing marketing communications, it’s easy to default to demographic targeting, which tends to be straightforward and easy to understand. But lifestyle targeting crosses demographic lines and offers new levels of opportunity that can be explored.


Print is a Baby, Not a Geezer: The Newness Crisis (Premium Content)

What’s new? You should say “print,” because so many of the media decision-makers have not had noteworthy experiences with the medium. Selling what you know can actually be dangerous, because you need to know what your client and prospect know, first. Only then can you have a chance at relevance. Print is actually a baby, and reference to its glorious past diminishes the many new offerings and tactics that can involve printed materials and specialties in meeting the challenges and objectives of communicators.


50 Billion Customer Communications Can’t Be Wrong!

Print service providers that are currently supporting the customer communications outsourcing market are taking a number of approaches when it comes to navigating from a print-focused core competency to true omni-channel offerings. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore how providers are reacting to declining volumes and evolving customer needs.


The Intellectual Property Buried in Your Print Business

Every person in your business solves challenges every day with the tools they have at their disposal and the tools they are comfortable deploying. There is a rich set of intellectual property buried there which can be retrieved by listening and understanding how humans looks for ways to build trusted systems.


Demographics Less Traveled

When it comes to targeting customers, most marketers think about demographic data, such as age, income, gender, and lifestyle. A recent white paper from AccuData lists some less common demographics that may be easily overlooked but that can add a richer dimension to your marketing.


Digital Print for Packaging: The pace is steady and picking up with lots of room for growth (Premium Content)

In this article, Sean Smyth – Print Consultant with Smithers Pira examines the results of a new report that looks at the growth of Digital Print for Packaging to 2022. This report breaks down the projected growth by packaging application, and shows some surprising results.


Know Your Codes: As Signage Becomes a Hotter Commodity, Printers Can Offer Regulatory Guidance

Helping customers navigate complex and constantly changing postal regulations has historically been a vital value-added service for commercial printers. The various rules and regulations regarding signage today provide an opportunity for sign printers.


Adding Value to Direct Mail through IP Targeting (Premium Content)

Savvy service providers are merging online and offline technologies to compound the effectiveness of their campaigns. This article discusses how IP targeting is being used to add value to today’s direct mail campaigns.


Do You Know the Four Types of Mail Behaviors?

According to the USPS, consumers’ “mail behavior” generally falls into one of four categories: sorters, scanners, weak habits, or skimmers. Each category has a different generational makeup, and it may not be what you expect. Knowing what category your customers tend to fall into can help you develop mail that resonates.


Avoid Common and Costly Traps of Print Software Evaluation (Premium Content)

Evaluating software is not a math problem, please don’t count the number of features and award the deal to the highest score. Print software must solve your challenges, in the order of importance to your business.


Family-Owned Newspapers Roll It Up – June 2017 M&A Activity

Hearst, Gatehouse, Lee, Ogden, Phillips and Adams stir up the local newspaper business; Sandy Alexander acquires Designers’ Press; tuck-ins abound and more in the June 2017 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries.


They Say It’s Great, But That’s Up for Debate (Premium Content)

The economy is sluggish on the positive side, and it would be grand if commercial printing would be the same. Recent printing shipments trends are a concern as the industry continues to reshape itself in response to a dynamic communications marketplace that is seems to re-create itself daily. One Midwest printer lands a big contract for signage… but of the kind that a third wave of media change mandates.


Bobst Group and Radex Launch Mouvent for a Focus on Digital Print (Premium Content)

The Bobst Group and Radex formed a new company, Mouvent, to spearhead its digital printing strategy and has announced two production inkjet system for labels and textiles.


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