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Recent Commentary & Analysis

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Displaying 51-100 of thousands of articles

 

New Owner Greg Ellison Gets Up to Speed at SpeedPro Denver (Premium Content)

Last November, Greg Ellison took over as the new owner of the well-established SpeedPro Denver. Coming from outside the printing industry, he found the learning curve has been steep but enjoyable.


The Impersonal Personalized Letter

Today I received a marketing letter that was an interesting twist on the use of faux handwriting to make a communication feel more personal. But instead of the handwriting being on the front, it peeked through a window on the back.


Elevating Foundational Print Software Decisions (Premium Content)

There are a lot of decisions to be made around print software; it might surprise you which ones I think are the most important.


Designing With Technology In Mind (Premium Content)

A designer can create a fantastic-looking printed piece, but great design doesn’t mean much if it can’t physically be printed. ColorKarma’s Shoshana Burgett discusses how the technological limitations imposed on designers—whether it be web or print—can actually be empowering.


drupa Preview: Re-Automating Automation—The Next Wave (Premium Content)

On the 20th anniversary of Enfocus PitStop Server, one of the earliest of the automated workflow tools, there is a broader movement to bring automation tools to the next level in order to support the new business and production requirements of today and tomorrow.


Printing Outlook 2020—Happy Days Are Here Again? (Premium Content)

WhatTheyThink’s annual printing industry outlook report, including the results of our Fall 2019 Business Outlook survey, is now available in our Report Store. This article offers some of the top-level results from that survey.


Use Win Themes to Increase Prospect Receptivity (Premium Content)

There is a secret sales strategy known as the “Win Theme”: a sales approach that aligns a prospect’s priorities and goals with your company’s strengths. Lisa Magnuson explains how you can use Win Themes to turn your prospects into customers.


RIP Technology—Colorimetry and Color Management in Digital Textile Printing (Premium Content)

With the growing share of digital print for textiles, software and workflow can often be more critical than the printing engine itself. In this article, we provide information about software RIPs and their role in the digital fabric printing process.


Around the Web: Hygienic Handshakes. Public Pix. Mobile Museum. Continuing Catalogs. Stop Signage. Face Filter Failure. Funny Fashion. Cuttable Condiment.

A possible alternative to the handshake. Both the Smithsonian and the Biodiversity Heritage Library have released thousands of images into the public domain. Libraries are ditching overdue fines. Take the Swedish Design Museum home with you. Believe it or not, printed catalogs and the mail order business may be in the process of restoration—if not Restoration. Inside the NY DOT inplant and Stop sign manufacturing. Rough weather for a meteorologist who left an AR filter on his broadcast. Stop-motion animation using pancakes. The best thing since sliced...mayonnaise? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Retail Sales—January 2020

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for January 2020, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $529.8 billion, an increase of +0.3% (±0.4%) from the previous month, and +4.4% (±0.7%) above January 2019. Retail drives a lot of printing and packaging volume, so it’s important to keep an eye on that sector.


Choice is Key to a Positive Customer Experience

Providers of transactional communications must continually reinvent themselves to keep up with consumers’ changing preferences and work to effectively deliver their messages. Above all, today’s consumers are demanding a say in the way that their providers communicate with them. This document provides data points from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends’ most recent transactional communications survey to underscore the importance of choice in delivering a positive customer experience.


Winning the Marketing Automation War (Premium Content)

Fueled by mindset, society, and technology, a new generation of business buyers is forcing companies to re-think how they approach every aspect of their business. As a result, marketers across all industries are investing in solutions that help capture, distill, and present customer data—and automating how leads are generated, scored, nurtured, and converted from suspect to prospect to customer. Joanne Gore examines the current marketing automation landscape.


Solving All Your Print Software Challenges at Once (Premium Content)

It's easy to get into a panic when you wake up to the reality that your approach to software in your print business requires a major overall. It probably took you years to get into this state; don’t freak out because it could take years to crawl out of it. The best thing to do is to calmly prioritize and then start making incremental progress.


Neiman Marcus Shines a Spotlight on OptiChannel Marketing (Yes, Opti, not Omni)

A short case study from Neiman Marcus that includes direct mail shines a spotlight on the importance of a term we don’t hear much anymore, but maybe we should revive—optichannel marketing.


Cracking the QR Code: Xanté Goes Beyond Print with InfoMark (Premium Content)

Xanté has launched an alternative to the QR code called InfoMark that lets writers and other content creators “attach” multimedia elements to print via a unique four-digit code. We gave InfoMark a spin to see how it worked.


The Sales Process Review Crawl (Premium Content)

No one likes reviews, but they can be a necessary evil. In this article, Pat McGrew explains how acquiring comprehensive data about jobs sold—and keeping that job database updated—can make the review process quick and painless.


What’s the Dresscode? Smart and Savvy CashCuff® Wearables! (Premium Content)

As the market for wearable technology continues to evolve, UK-based Dresscode has taken a unique approach with CashCuff, the world’s first smart payment shirt. See what founder and CEO Andy Boothman has to say about the origin of the company and its strategy for the future.


King of a Changing Bookmaking Paradigm (Premium Content)

There is a surge in demand for printed books, driven by two trends: self-publishing and on-demand printing, both enabled by digital printing technology. Of the 700 million books produced in the U.S. last year, about half were printed on demand using digital technology. Frank Romano profiles Lowell, Mass.’s King Printing Company, which takes on-demand book printing to the next level.


Book Printers—2017

The latest edition of County Business Patterns is out, which updates number of establishments and other data to 2017. In that year, there were 500 establishments in NAICS 323117 (Book Printing). The majority of these establishments (63%) had fewer than 10 employees.


Around the Web: Glowing Garments. Election Ensemble. Lasting Lore. Waning Watches. Blocking Bracelet. Pivot-Table Percussion. Victorian Vehemence. Fowl Footwear.

An LED light system to add high visibility to safety apparel. Forevernote will preserve your family memories—professional biographer included. The Apple Watch outsold the entire Swiss watch industry. “Bracelet of silence” keeps Alexa from eavesdropping. Weird punctuation in film titles. Turn Microsoft Excel into a drum machine. A Victorian shop manager quits in protest over bar codes. KFC and Crocs team up for...huh? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Frank Romano and the Desktop Publishing Revolution

Late last year, Frank Romano completed History of Desktop Publishing, the third book in a trilogy that includes History of the Linotype Companyand History of the Phototypesetting Era. This book, described by Jonathan Seybold as a “Tour de Force,” is enriched with Frank’s deep knowledge of the history of the printing industry. This article offers an overview of some of the book’s highlights.


Creatives Push Digital Textile Print to The Max (Premium Content)

The push and pull between creatives and production professionals occurs in just about every industry, including textiles. Creatives want bold designs that enhance their portfolios and bring beauty to the world. Production folks just want something that they can produce! Helping bridge that gap is the topic of today’s article by WhatTheyThink contributor and textiles expert Debbie McKeegan.


Print Trade Shows and Events in Europe in 2020 (Premium Content)

While drupa will be the must-attend show in Europe in 2020, there are many other European trade shows and events worth attending—although they are usually more for local or specialized markets. European Section Editor Ralf Schlözer rounds up a selection of smaller shows that are worth attending, even in a drupa year.


We Know Martech Works—Here’s Proof

According to new research, marketing technology does more than make marketing automation easier.  It results in higher response rates and higher ROI. A look at a study from Printing for Less (PFL) and Demand Metric.


Technology + Direct Mail + Consumer Behavior = A Future to Bet On… (Premium Content)

Christine Erna explains how direct mail printers can use “enhanced print” technologies to increase engagement, generate new leads, track real-time results, and stay top of mind with customers and prospects.


Lucent Botanicals Offers Unique CBD Mints in Equally Unique Packaging (Premium Content)

As we continue to cover the burgeoning cannabis market and the business opportunities it offers, we spent time talking with Chris Cooper, CEO of California-based Lucent Botanicals, who has taken a different approach to CBD that is taken orally—mints enhanced with a variety of herbs and essences to tune their effects to different consumer requirements. He also shared his packaging strategy for these unique products.


Ghent Workgroup Launches New Specification for Sign and Display

Wide-format printing often involves a phenomenon called “apparent resolution,” which can be quite different than a print’s actual resolution. An image designed to be viewed up close, like a photograph in a magazine or direct mail piece, will have a different apparent resolution—and thus resolution requirement—than one designed to be viewed from a long ways away. Taking apparent resolution into account was the raison d’êtreof a new specification for sign and display graphics just released by the Ghent Workgroup.


Industrial Inkjet Gets RIPPED (Premium Content)

In an industrial inkjet environment, a lot of pieces go into creating a specialized solution, but it’s the raster image processor (RIP) that does the heavy lifting. Elizabeth Gooding takes a detailed look at all the criteria to keep in mind when selecting RIP software for an industrial printing workflow.


The Print Distributor Market Changes with the Times (Premium Content)

Technology and a changing print product mix drive changes in the distributor–client relationship. We spoke with Matt Bruno and Nathan Goldberg of the PSDA to get a bead on how the non-asset-based print sales market has evolved.


Pang-Wangling to Fashion Success (Premium Content)

To pang-wangle is to live or go along cheerfully in spite of minor misfortunes. That’s exactly what Jennifer John is doing with her Pang Wangle fashion business, creating sustainable fashion ideal for hot, buggy climates such as is experienced in her home state of Louisiana. We spoke to Jennifer to learn more about her background, her growing business, and the challenges she faced finding just the exact right fabric for her unique creations.


December Shipments: Ending 2019 on a High Note

The value of printing shipments for December 2019 was down from November—as we expected it would be—but not down as much as been the case in recent years. At $6.95 billion, December shipments were down from November’s $7.03 billion, but far above the depths of 2017 and 2018.


Around the Web: Cool Clipart. Book Bot. Artistic Appetizers. Calligraphic Collection. Lotsa Letters. Grotesque Garfield. Jurassic Driver.

Royalty-free illustrations from old books. A Japanese artist hand-draws every meal he eats. A new book teaches hand-lettering. An Ohio man receives 55,000 copies of the same letter from his daughter’s Student Loan Company. A reimagining (and improvement) of Garfield. Printed greeting cards are still in fashion. Making 3D printing resin from old fryer oil. Why are people getting worse at The Price Is Right? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Triage for People Performance Issues (Premium Content)

Every business has employees who don’t perform as expected, or even as well as you as a manager know they are capable of performing. Why is that? There are a number of reasons why employees underperform, and they aren’t all the fault of the employee in question. Wayne Lynn details four primary reasons that people underperform on the job, and what employers can do about it.


Why Should I Buy From You?

Regardless of our job responsibilities, we, as employees and businesses, should be putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes and asking ourselves why should they buy from us? This article explores some of the questions that marketers can ask themselves to help improve sales success.


Lessons from Resonate’s “State of the Consumer” Report

Reports like Resonate’s “State of the Consumer Report” provide valuable insight into buyer types and how to understand and segment them in ways that help you develop great targeted copy. But before you can develop personalized or targeted content, there is a more fundamental question to ask. Once this question is answered, your targeting and personalization efforts will have maximum success.


Print Software Strategic Planning (Premium Content)

Your software investments deserve big picture, strategic planning. It’s time to step back and assess your core business processes and how software helps, hinders, optimizes, or ideally automates the steps required everyday to deliver on your customer promises.


Global Market for Print and Printed Packaging Output Reaches $826.5 Billion in 2019, Smithers Finds

Printing and printed packaging remains an important industry sector in 2019, with a value of more than $826 billion in sales supporting paper and substrate suppliers, ink makers, plate and cylinder suppliers, and high-tech printing equipment manufacturers. This article, adapted from a new Smithers report, looks at the future of global print to 2024.


Do Reviews Annoy Your Salespeople? (Premium Content)

Which print sales people are compensated for a sale, and at what rate, is often part of a contractual relationship between the company and the sales representative, but not always. Sometimes the relationships are based on “how things have always been done” or verbal agreements. And not every deal brought in is a winner. As a result, some kind of periodic review is necessary for the business to effectively allocate its production resources. In Part 1 of a new series, Pat McGrew discusses sales review processes.


The Sourcing Group Brings Technology Expertise to Corporate Clients (Premium Content)

At the recent EFI Connect 2020 conference, Lynn Smith from The Sourcing Group spoke on the customer panel, sharing The Sourcing Group’s unique story. We followed up with her afterward to get more details on this print-related Business Process Optimization (BPO) company.


Screen Printing Establishments—2017

The latest edition of County Business Patterns is out, which updates number of establishments and other data to 2017. In that year, there were 5,186 establishments in NAICS 323113 (Commercial Screen Printing). The majority of these establishments (74%) had fewer than 10 employees.


Around the Web: Printing Parkinson’s. Shedding Sheep. Shark Suit. Bartending ’Bots. Scorigami! Publishing Palaces. Canine Cans. Hog Hearses. Daliwood. Mobile Men’s Room. Junk Jam.

A new typeface raises awareness of, and helps fund a cure for, Parkinson’s Disease. Pineapple wool aims to replace sheep. A shark-proof wetsuit. Dye-sub transfer for non-polyester fibers. Japan experiments with robot bartenders. Private equity tries to acquire .org domain registry. Scorigami tracks rare football scores. Former newspaper headquarters have become luxury apartments. A Florida brewery puts pictures of adoptable rescue dogs on beer cans—and one woman finds her lost dog. Motorcycle hearses for uneasy riders. Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney once collaborated on an animated short film. “Uber for lavatories.” Faking a traffic jam on Google Maps. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


The Smartest Investor Ever Exits Newspapers—January 2020 M&A Activity

Berkshire Hathaway Gives Up on Newspapers, Transcontinental Embarks on Retail Strategy, Graphic Village Acquires Brand Consultancy, and more…


What Will AR Headsets Mean to Print Service Providers?

This article considers how the shift from mobile-based to headset-based augmented reality (AR) will impact augmented print offerings. It also explores when print service providers can expect to see the first mainstream AR headset and which company will likely introduce it.


Digital Textile Printing Unlocks the Supply Chain to Offer Speed Plus Sustainability (Premium Content)

As the world’s second largest polluter, the textiles and apparel industry has placed a huge focus on improving supply chain management to reduce its environmental footprint. WhatTheyThink contributor and textiles expert Debbie McKeegan talks about how digital textile printing can be a key to this effort, unlocking the supply chain while offering speed and sustainability.


Marketers Are Starting to “Get” the Real Benefits of Personalization

According to data from Evergage/Research International, marketers are starting to “get” one of the most fundamental values of personalized experiences. Yes, personalization drives immediate sales, but more importantly, it creates better customer experiences and higher customer loyalty, which drive better ROI over time. The shift from a short-term to a long-term perspective is great news for everyone producing personalized campaigns, whether they are doing online personalization or not.  


The Carpeted Area of Your Print Business (Premium Content)

We have spent decades focusing and optimizing the production floor (where there is no carpet). It is time to focus our energies on the carpeted areas of the business which impact customer’s perceptions of our business.


Shifting From an Omni-Channel to an Immersive Customer Experience (Premium Content)

Omni-channel campaigns have become old hat; marketers today are looking beyond omni-channel to fully immersive customer experiences, often using augmented reality. Colorkarma’s Shoshana Burgett looks at some cutting-edge examples.


drupa Preview: Corrugated Re-Envisioned—Part 3: Preprint (Print and Laminate) Even More Choices! (Premium Content)

High color corrugated packaging is growing and will continue to grow. The run sizes are getting smaller to adapt to the new market requirements, and the opportunities for print service providers to jump on this moving train abound. In Part 3 of this series, I focus on the available preprint solutions with some limited product mentions. Selecting which method is better is really based on a lot of factors, including your market opportunities, capital investment, production costs, and internal skills. Although making that determination also involves board and run size as well. Both analog and digital presses are and will continue to be in the mix and grow. It’s a pretty exciting time with some great opportunities.


How George Brown College Is Addressing Workforce Needs and More in Textiles and Apparel (Premium Content)

You can’t attend any textiles and apparel events or speak with industry professionals without the subject of workforce challenges arising. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Marilyn McNeil-Morin about the Fashion Exchange program at Toronto’s George Brown College that has programs in place to help address these issues.


Graphic Arts Employment—December 2019

In December 2019, overall printing employment dropped -0.2% from November, and on a year-over-year basis, it is down -2.4%. Production employment was down -0.5% from November to December (and -4.4% Y/Y) while non-production employment was down -0.1% from November to December—but actually up +1.7% Y/Y.


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