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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.


What’s New(s) in Roll-to-Roll Printers? (Premium Content)

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


Cimpress CEO Robert Keane Shares Thoughts on Business Growth (Premium Content)

In December, Cimpress, the parent company of Vistaprint, announced plans to acquire German web-to-print company WIRmachenDRUCK. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talks to CEO Robert Keane to find out more about the company’s strategies and growth plans.


Three Critical Trends for 2016 (Premium Content)

As the end of the year approaches, it becomes helpful to think about the trends that will likely impact our industry in the future. This article offers a top-level overview of three trends that are expected to impact commercial printers and in-plant printers in the coming year.


Printing Profits Dive as Large Printers Have Massive Writedowns (Premium Content)

The third quarter of 2015 marked a huge divergence in the performance of the industry, according to the Department of Commerce Quarterly Financial Report. Printers with more than $25 million in assets wrote down assets amounting to nearly -15% of revenues. This sent the quarterly moving total of inflation-adjusted profits before taxes to +$1.46 billion.


Wideformat 2016: The Road Ahead (Premium Content)

Last week, we took a wide-format look back at 2015. Now let’s switch directions. What can we expect in 2016? Before we answer that, though, what is 2016 likely to hold for the printing industry in general?


Happy to Be Content, But Not To Ship It (Premium Content)

We took a survey of printers and they told us they were really happy. We got data about ad agency revenues and their revenues is still heading up. A big consulting firm says digital content will be bigger than ever. The post office data tells us there's less and less of their work in our mailboxes. The world is full of contradictory trends, and Dr. Joe sorts them out.


2016 Printing Industry Business Conditions Report

These are the results of the Economics and Research Center’s (ERC) survey conducted in October and November 2015.


#SharePackage Puts Holiday Boxes to Compassionate Use

A promotional campaign for paper and packaging goes for the heartstrings with special boxes to be filled with gifts for kids spending the holidays in hospitals.


The Graphical Genius of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity is 100 years old, but his appeal as a creative inspiration for graphic illustrators is 100 years young.


Print Catalogs Are Back this Holiday Season… And for Good Reason! (Premium Content)

The print medium is returning as an important marketing and sales tool. This holiday season, firms like Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue are sending more targeted and specialized catalogs. This article cites InfoTrends’ recent research to explore how catalogs are cutting through the clutter in today’s digital world.


How the Business Structure of Commercial Printers Changed from 2008 to 2013

The recession started just before 2008 was beginning and the latest data from the County Business Patterns report shows how the business formats of the industry changed by 2013.


Get Comfortable with Change (Premium Content)

Last week I attended Singularity University’s Executive Program in Silicon Valley. The best way to describe what happened to me after a week of hearing some of the brightest people in tech talk about the future is that they dramatically changed my perspective. Come to find out, I had a very narrow lens through which I viewed the world; they replaced it with a wide angle lens that goes beyond our planet and looks far into the future.


Patent Troll Targeting Printing Companies that use Common Web-to-Print Functionality

A company called High Quality Printing Inventions, LLC, is using a patent initially granted to Moore (now R.R. Donnelley) to file patent infringement lawsuits in the U.S. District Courts in a litigation campaign against several printing companies using common web-to-print functionality.


Tech Trends for Labels and Packaging: the Year in Review

2015 was a chock-full-of-news year on the technology front—but only a curtain-raiser for what lies ahead in 2016.


Stocking Stuffers: “The 12 Days of Packaging”

Santa Claus, who knows a thing or two about packaging, has a sackful of innovations for fans of the art form this year.


That Was the Year That Was: A Wide-Format Look Back at 2015 (Premium Content)

What were the top growth areas for wide-format in 2015? What applications are ascendant? What technologies are emerging and evolving?


Another Exciting Chapter for SG360?

Integrated direct marketing solutions provider SG360° made an exciting announcement the other day, and I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss it.


Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ - November 2015 M&A Activity

Saugatuck Capital bolts Plymouth Printing onto Pharmaceutic Litho & Label, Rondo-Pak adds Contemporary Graphics to US pharma printing platform, Firespring evolves into MSP, Circle Graphics corrals grand format printer Imagic, the Mittera Group continues traditional printing rollup.


Print Business Leadership – Give Yourself a Promotion

Rather than face the reality that all print businesses need to evolve, many print owners default to staying “busy” running the business the way it’s been run for years. Don’t be tempted to “numb yourself” by keeping busy, the market conditions are indisputable, the past performance of your print business is not indicative of future results. We are operating in a different reality with very compelling digital alternatives to print communication.


Holiday Retailing Season Is Shaping Up Nicely - with a Few New Twists

For the holidays, “shop early and shop often” is still good advice—assuming that you know what “early” now is starting to mean in the retailing world.


Commercial Printing is Closing 2015 with Historic High in Key Metric (Premium Content)

Last week's unemployment report did it again, it was all wrapped up in a pretty package but it seemed empty when you looked inside. Contents must have settled during shipping. Speaking of content, employment in agencies and designers are up strongly compared to last year. The content creation business is doing well. Commercial printers are reconfiguring their businesses and produced an historic high in shipments per employee. Dr. Joe has the details.


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