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The Print Management Market: Where Is it Growing and How Big Can it Get?

Through consolidated purchasing, print management providers offer cost savings and upgraded efficiencies that in-plants struggle to match, as well as a wider array of products, applications, and expertise than a single print manufacturer can manage. This article provides an overview of the print management market and discusses key opportunities for growth.


Why Do You Need a Print MIS Administrator? (Premium Content)

Software is like a press; it needs to be staffed. Software is like a press; it needs to be maintained. Software is like your business; it needs to keep evolving. Your most important piece of software is your Print MIS—dedicate the tasks of your Print MIS to one individual.


Forget Passalongs—What If Print Is “Shared” Instead?

Traditionally, when people share a printed piece they have received with others, we use the term “pass-along.” But what if we want to think about print in a more current context? What if we started using the term “shared” instead?” In other words, what if we started thinking about print the same way we think about digital channels?


A Legal Alien in New York (Premium Content)

Our European correspondent reports from the US, and reminds us that small cultural differences can affect how we communicate with each other.


Is Personalization Important to Labels and Packaging? (Premium Content)

We have all seen the studies and even experienced first-hand the value of personalization in direct mail and other forms of communication. But what about the value of personalization in products and packaging? There are a lot of projections into what the market value “could” be, but how do you take advantage of that?


Retail Expert Shares Thoughts on Digital Transformation (Premium Content)

While the retail and apparel industries are moving to more digital technologies and processes, many observers still believe we are in the infancy of the analog-to-digital transformation the industry will ultimately need to undergo. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently spoke to a digital advocate to gain insight into the industry’s progress. Kelly Price, Director of Business Development for consulting firm ArcherGrey, made some interesting observations.


Around the Web: Tome Readers. Apple iArmor? Laptop Typewriter. Tiny Tomes. Sappy Sentiment. Me+Moo.

Print books remain more popular than digital formats. Save the date: WTIN’s digital textile webinar. The first laptop typewriter. Why did people stop wearing hats? An exhibition of really tiny books. Unlucky in love? Try writing to a tree. (No, not D. Eadward Tree.) All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Advertising Agency Establishments—2010–2016

In 2010, there were 13,248 establishments classified as Advertising Agencies. By 2016, there had been a net gain of +1.0%, the ups and downs reflecting the changing role of the ad agency.


What Hololens 2 Means for PSPs

Last month, Microsoft announced the introduction of its Hololens 2 mixed reality headset. This article explores what the upcoming product could mean to the print market, while grounding print service providers’ expectations.


Give Your Employees Better Tools (Premium Content)

New software tools are often rejected because the humans feel like their jobs are being replaced by computers. Software does math better, faster, and more accurately than humans—that is not debatable. But new tools augment brainpower—not replace it.


Do You Know the Psychology of Discounts and Deals?

Part of being a marketing services provider is helping your clients with their marketing, and this goes beyond integrating marketing channels and improving databases. It includes selecting and tweaking the right offers, too. Studies on this topic provide fascinating insight into the psychology of discounts and deals.  


When Mayhem Calls: Part Two (Premium Content)

Business as usual is great...when business is usual. But what happens when disaster or some other disruption hits the shop? It can be a business killer if it prevents execution of contracted customer work. Do you have an emergency plan? In part two of this new series, Pat McGrew offers tips on planning for the worst and how to manage customer expectations.


TechTextil 2019 Generates Inspiration, Excitement (Premium Content)

Techtextil North America was a success by any measure. The show, which moved from Chicago to Raleigh N.C., drew more than 3,000 textile and apparel professionals and included an impressive symposium program. Cary Sherburne provides a quick summary.


Printing Outlook 2019—Has the Industry Turned a Corner? (Premium Content)

WhatTheyThink’s annual printing industry outlook report, including the results of our Winter 2018–2019 Business Outlook survey, is now available in our Report Store. This article offers some of the top-level results from that survey.


December 2018 Printing Shipments: Ending 2018 on a High(ish) Note

Printing shipments for December 2018 came in at $6.40 billion. In keeping with the industry’s new seasonality, that’s down from November, but higher than December 2017—but just barely.


Around the Web: Forensic Fashion. Grayscale iPhone Display. 3D-Printed Orthotics. Hypnotic Password Retrieval. Independent Bookstore Owners Help Out One of Their Own.

Forensic garment analysts. Fast fashion and the environment. A toast matching system. John Steinbeck sends Marilyn Monroe a fan letter...sort of. Death of a robot. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Platinum Equity Likes Print—February 2019 M&A Activity

Multi-Color Corporation taken private, McCormick Armstrong joins list of defunct web offset printers, trade-only printers trade hands, and more…


InPrint USA to Showcase the Latest Industrial Printing Opportunities

InPrint USA heads to Louisville, Ky., to showcase the latest opportunities for commercial printers in the fast-growing area(s) of industrial printing. Richard Romano offers a preview, and talks with InPrint co-founder Frazer Chesterman about the show and industrial printing.


FiberForce Partners with Pantone to Bring Professional Color to 3D Printing Filaments (Premium Content)

Last month, Pantone entered into an agreement with FiberForce Italy to bring Pantone colors into the world of 3D printing. Although color has been available in 3D printing filaments and powders for some time, there has been no standard way to ensure users achieve the color they are truly looking for. All of that changes with this partnership. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with both Pantone and FiberForce to learn more.


Automation on Display at Hunkeler Innovationdays: Watch Out for the Robot!

During odd-numbered years, the Hunkeler-sponsored Innovationdays event in Luzern, Switzerland, features finishing solutions for the transactional, commercial graphic arts, and book industries. This article provides a brief overview of the announcements that brought the theme of automation to the forefront at this year’s event.


Is the Offer One of Your Database Variables?

To move the needle on direct mail responses, your customers may change up their copy, their images, or their list. But what about their offers? A new Bed Bath & Beyond mailer raises an interesting question.


The Importance of Uninterrupted Time in a Print Business (Premium Content)

Your print business is being invaded by software tools. These tools require a level of thinking/concentration that requires blocks of uninterrupted time for your employees. Without this uninterrupted time, your software will remain grossly underutilized and lacking measurable ROI.


When Mayhem Calls: Part One (Premium Content)

Business as usual is great...when business is usual. But what happens when disaster or some other disruption hits the shop? It can be a business killer if it prevents execution of contracted customer work. Do you have an emergency plan? In part one of this new series, Pat McGrew offers tips on planning for the worst.


World on the Windows: The Changing Face of Window Graphics (Premium Content)

Window graphics are a growing subset of wide-format printing, and are popping up in more and more locations, both public and private, and new films and materials are making window graphics more versatile and eye-catching than ever. Printing is the easy part; it’s installation that can cause problems, and eat into your profitability. Here are some dos and don’t for working with window graphics.


Roland DGA Enters Direct to Garment Market (Premium Content)

Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Roland DGA President Andrew Oransky about the company’s entry into the direct-to-garment (DTG) market as well as its overall go-to-market strategy and its future plans relative to direct-to-textile printing.


Advertising and Related Establishments—2010–2016

In 2010, there were 38,335 establishments classified as Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services. By 2016, there had been a net loss of -1.2%. This is a very broad industry classification, comprising a disparate bunch of business types, each of which has its own unique dynamics.


Around the Web: Traveling Texts. Fit to Be Untied. Kodak Film Is Da Bomb. Uber Economics. Office Space Turns 20. Paper Fold-Away Bed. Lunar Library. Bridge of Size.

Getting a text from sender to receiver. The Internet of shoes. Nuclear testing and Kodak film. An oral history of “Office Space.” In praise of standards. Retrieving DNA from old books. Digitize yourself for the perfect fit. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


HP Highlights New Business Opportunities at the 2019 Indigo VIP Event

HP Indigo hosted its annual Global VIP event in Tel Aviv, Israel, from February 11–14, 2019. This year’s event drew over 650 visitors to HP Indigo’s headquarters, production, and Research & Development sites to learn about the company’s latest offerings. The event highlighted the latest devices in HP’s digital press lineup and also discussed business opportunities for growing applications.


Sustainability and E-Commerce Driving Growth in Luxury Packaging

The demand for luxury packaging across the world continues to increase. Sustainability, e-commerce, and material trends are driving the luxury packaging market and will continue to shape it over the next five years. A new Smithers Pira report details these key products, materials, and market trends.


Here Comes the Flood—Going Live with Print Software (Premium Content)

Think of your go-live date for your Print MIS as a flood. Prepare for it by training everyone how to create sandbags and then monitoring that everyone actually applied the learning and figured out how to do their jobs in the new system BEFORE go-live.


When Did High-Speed Inkjet Become Just Another Capital Investment?

Looking at a series of case studies on high-speed inkjet, the takeaway is how unremarkable investing in this technology has become. The decision is no longer about the readiness of the technology itself. It’s about market pressures and cost-justification...just like any other capital investment. How times change!


Hunkeler Innovationdays Does It Again! (Premium Content)

Hunkeler Innovationdays is a biennial event that brings together some of the latest digital press workflows and equipment with the latest finishing equipment to showcase complete solutions. Surprisingly, this is done in an atmosphere that presents exhibitors as equals, without much of the hype or fanfare that you might expect at a print show. The theme of this year’s event “Success with Automation” is a very timely topic considering the growth and impact of production inkjet technology. As they have done in the past, they have accomplished their goal.


Minnows, Whales and Digital Technologies, Oh, My! (Premium Content)

As the analog-to-digital transformation heats up for textiles, the opportunities for entrepreneurs heats up as well. Experience in transformations of other industries shows that not only do opportunities abound for entrepreneurs, but established businesses risk the most from non-traditional competition. We share some of their transformative stories in this article.


Wide-Format Printing: Still a Compelling Business Opportunity and Investment Category (Premium Content)

As we put the final touches on our Printing Outlook 2019 report, based on our Winter 2018–2019 Business Outlook survey, this article highlights a few of the findings specific to wide-format and specialty printing. Is it still a compelling business opportunity? And what are print businesses’ wide-format investment plans?


Printing Shipments as a Percentage of GDP

Since 1997, the value of printing shipments went from around 0.75% of GDP all the way down to about 0.35%. So we should not be surprised that parts of the printing industry are falling off the government’s radar.


Around the Web: Fabric Runs Hot and Cold. Rebooting...literally. Digital Advertising Surpasses Analog. One More Color. Red Rum. Nom Daguerre. SPUDwrite. Your Cover’s Blown.

Fabric that responds to its wearer. I got my soul shoes on my feet. (Maybe.) The world’s first photographed human. An E Ink typewriter that only does one thing...like a typewriter. The earliest book covers. The calming sound of a dot matrix printer. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Why Legacy Publishers Struggle in the Digital World (Premium Content)

Much has been written recently about the issues legacy publishers are facing as they try to navigate the digital world, including Jill Abramson’ book "Merchants of Truth." Setting aside the plagiarism charges, Abramson, formerly an editor at the New York Times, makes some excellent points. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne wanted to add her two cents’ worth in this article.


Saving $1 Million with Workflow

Although printers acknowledge that dealing with a high number of small jobs is a major workflow bottleneck, many have not automated their processes. This article offers some quick tips for getting started with automating processes to aid employees and benefit customers.


Study: Marketers Focusing More on Acquisition Than Retention

A new study from Yieldify shows that, even though it costs more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, marketers are more focused on customer acquisition than retention. What does this mean for you?


Learning Through Engagement at Print Vendor User Conferences (Premium Content)

User conferences are a great way to change your perspective and get a break from your day-to-day activities. The learning happens when you engage with both the presenters and the participants.


Three Ways to Unleash the ROI of New Equipment (Premium Content)

Once a new piece of equipment has been installed and the vendor training team has exited the building, the work is just beginning. Without understanding the real advantages of the new equipment, assessing and updating “talk tracks” for sales team members, and revisiting the marketing collateral and campaigns, the return on that investment may not be truly realized. Pat McGrew explains how to optimize pricing, sales, and marketing to get the most out of the new equipment investment.


Consumer Trends and Developing Food Contact Regulations Driving $271 Billion Printed Food Packaging Market by 2023 (Premium Content)

New research from Smithers Pira forecasts growth opportunities for suppliers in the printed food packaging market, driven by trends including sustainability, and premiumization features such as 3D and metallized effects on packaging. That growth will come in the context of navigating continual developments in the regulatory landscape for food contact materials, however.


WeaveUp and JOANN Fabrics Make Ordering Custom Fabric Fast and Easy (Premium Content)

An announcement from WeaveUp, a technology company offering digital print room solutions and customization tools for fabric, about its partnership with JOANN Fabrics, the leading fabric and craft retailer in the U.S., caught our eye. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne connected with Flint Davis, the company’s President, to learn more.


Book Printing Employees—2010–2016

In 2010, there were a total of 28,935 employees in U.S. book printing establishments (NAICS 323117). By 2016, book printing employment had dropped to 19,842.


Around the Web: BLS Loses Track of the Printing Industry. Where and What the Jobs Are. Apple’s “Netflix for News.” Confessions of a Content Marketer. Collecting the Elements.

The future of digital fabric printing. Printing industry government classifications consolidating. The fastest growing jobs in each state. Newspapers not subscribing to “Netflix for News.” The dark art of content marketing. A Death Star waffle maker. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Gen Z Marketing Madness: What Was Old is New Again!

Gen Zers—despite being branded as digital natives—are embracing more traditional media types. This article explores how Gen Z consumers interact with communications and discusses how increased knowledge about this generation can be turned into actionable implementation of direct mail marketing, TransPromo communications, and advertising support.


ING Summit Heads to PRINT 19 with an Ambitious Two-Day Program

The International Newspaper Group (ING) provides a forum for newspaper industry executives to network and share idea on a variety of topics from production, to operations, to logistics. The revitalized organization’s annual Summit heads to PRINT 19 this fall in Chicago, with an ambitious two-day program. Here’s an early look at what attendees can look forward to. 


Let’s Hear a Round of Applause for TOMS!

TOMS has just given us more to love. Not only is the company an outstanding example of effective branding, but now its branding efforts are driving a new high-volume direct mail campaign.


All or Nothing with Print Software (Premium Content)

When buying and implementing print software, start with the simple jobs software does well, implement and learn. Do not get stuck in a myriad of “use case exceptions” as an excuse to do nothing. You will never get ROI and you’ll never find software that can do everything.


Kodak Doubles Down on Packaging (Premium Content)

Kodak Enterprise Inkjet Systems Division (EISD) has officially put a stake in the ground—and that stake is positioned in the heart of volume label and packaging production. While they have been flirting around the edges of packaging production since drupa 2012, outwardly their focus has seemed to be in their legacy wheelhouse; transactional, direct mail, and commercial print. That is about to change, and in fact it already has….


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