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PET Project: Label-less Labeling

Every beverage bottle must have a label to identify and brand the product—correct? Not necessarily, says the developer of a direct-printing alternative.


Point/Counterpoint: The Business Case For (and Against) Digital Signage (Premium Content)

Dynamic digital signage is becoming a hotter and hotter topic, and while there are ample opportunities for companies to get in on, if not the ground floor, than at least the mezzanine, it’s not to everyone’s taste. Here are some arguments for—and against.


Q1-2015 GDP Disappoints at +0.2%; Will We Hear the “R” Word Soon? (Premium Content)

The GDP estimate of Q1-2015 growth was at +0.2% when consensus was +1.0%. The estimate will be revised at the end of each of the next two months. That consensus estimate of professional economists has been revised down regularly since the beginning of the year, with many of the original estimates at +3% or higher.


Symeta: Selling Inkjet, Delivering Value

In what is perceived as a commodity-oriented marketplace, print sales reps struggle to maintain a proper balance between features and benefits. This article explores how Symeta (Brussels, Belgium) has transformed its business with strong sales and marketing and a value-based approach to communications.


Payroll per Employee for Commercial Printing and Content Creation Businesses

The 2013 County Business Patterns report was just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one of the most valuable of all government economic reports. The data are based on Social Security tax filings made by employers. In this manner, the BLS can count the number of business establishments and the number of employees of those establishments with great accuracy from analysis from the mandatory filings of Form 941, submitted with company payroll taxes. As the data show, content creation businesses have much higher per employee annual salaries. This makes these industries very attractive to new employees, especially those starting their careers. The most interesting to me is the rise in public relations agencies. In the late 1980s, the payroll for ad agency workers was about one-third more than public relations. In 2005, they were about the same. In these 2013 data, PR employees are paid about one-eighth more.


Workflow— Reinventing PRINERGY 7 and Kodak

This article is a part of a series of articles by David L. Zwang that focuses on the processes and products that can lead to the transformation of your current workflows and business to prepare you for the new challenges ahead. In this article, Zwang looks at the release of PRINERGY 7, in the context of Kodak’s reinvention.


Growth Opportunities: A Conversation with SpeedPro Imaging President Boris Katsnelson (Premium Content)

Founded 10 years ago, SpeedPro Imaging is a network of 120 franchises—or “studios”—located in 30 states that specialize in wide-format printing, from trade show and event graphics, to vehicle graphics, to wall murals, and beyond.


New Workflow Chief at Kodak (Premium Content)

We recently learned that Kodak has hired a new workflow chief. Allan Brown, formerly with HP and Xerox, joined the company as General Manager of its Unified Workflow Solutions business. Read what Brown has to say about workflow and Kodak strategies moving forward.


“R&D” on a Digital Press Takes Premier Markings to the Next Level in Label Production

Established seven years ago, this small but visionary shop is a case study in the rise of digital technologies in the label printing segment.


HP Aims to Disrupt 3D Printing with Inkjet Solution Now on Way to Market (Premium Content)

By adding a third dimension to what it already knows about inkjet printing in two, HP hopes to develop the fastest and most capable 3D printing solution yet seen.


Launching Additional Brands Online

What’s more costly, opening up a new successful retail location or a new successful online brand/store? The answer is “it depends”. Just because making a new e-commerce site is “cheap” doesn’t take into consideration all the costs of driving traffic and getting conversions.


Transformation: Are You Taking the Right Steps to Change? (Premium Content)

Service providers of all sizes are constantly talking about the need to transform their businesses from commodity-oriented organizations to marketing and communication service specialists. A recent article from McKinsey & Company details six steps for driving revenue and margin improvements, and these steps are discussed in this piece.


Printing Prices Compared to General Inflation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes many indexes of inflation, the best known of which is the Consumer Price Index. The BLS also publishes hundreds of other indexes in the Producer Price Index (PPI) series that track price changes in industries, products, and commodities. This week's chart shows the year-to-year change in CPI (orange line) and the PPI for printing (blue line) on a monthly basis for a little more than ten years. For most of that period, printing prices have lagged consumer prices, often by wide margins. Since December 2004, printing prices are up +14% while consumer prices are up +27%. That is, printing prices are increasing at about half the rate of consumer prices. Or, looked at differently, printing prices are about -10% less than the change in consumer prices: print is getting cheaper every day. But print owners and their workers cannot spend printing dollars when they go to the supermarket; they have to make up for the 10% shortfall in prices somehow. This is difficult since many of the prices printers need to pay for wages and materials more closely follow consumer prices. It's a double-edged problem: lower revenues, higher costs. Profit leaders have figured out how to survive in this environment as they still stand out from their peers. But these double-edged pressures have caused weak companies to leave or offer themselves as consolidation candidates.


Garbage In, Garbage Out, Good Accomplished

How an earth-friendly cleaning products company called method scours the ocean for plastic waste it can recycle into material for new containers.


Temporary Signage and “EMCs” Continue to Rile City Planners; What Aspiring Sign Shops Need to Know (Premium Content)

There are growing opportunities for print service providers in signage—both printed and electronic—but it pays to do your homework when it comes to signage regulations.


Interview with Kevin Cushing on Alliance Franchise Brands, Franchising and More (Premium Content)

Kevin Cushing, formerly CEO of AlphaGraphics, has accepted the position of President of the Marketing & Print Division of Alliance Franchise Brands LLC (parent company of Allegra Network LLC). Hear what he has to say about the company, franchising in general and the importance of a learning environment.


Sun Chemical Heads to INFO*FLEX with a Full Kit of Packaging Solutions (Premium Content)

A vertically integrated ink manufacturer, Sun Chemical takes a concept-to-shelf approach to packaging with a broad range of products and services for printers and converters.


BR Printers Colors the World of Black & White

BR Printers discusses how production inkjet printing is changing the way the company does business and opening up new business opportunities in a highly competitive marketplace. This article is sponsored by HP.


Is Your Print MIS Your Trusted System of Record?

Whether you have recently acquired a new Print MIS system or you’ve been using the same one for a decade, we recommend you assess it as the “trusted system of record” for your print business. This assessment is critical in our increasingly data-driven world.


Not Sure How to Recycle That Package? Look at the Label

The How2Recycle Label is a much-needed visual cue in the right place at the right time.


Print MIS and Data are NOT Boring

Nobody uses terms like exciting, sexy, or compelling when they talk about their Print MIS solution. Your Print MIS isn’t supposed to be sexy; its job is to serve up the story of your business in the form of data collected in a trusted system of record.


What’s My Line? Some Labelers Say, “Linerless”

Eliminate the peel-away part of a pressure sensitive label while protecting it from the adhesive on the backs of the other labels it’s rolled or stacked with: it can be done and is being done in the solution known as linerless labeling.


Software Investment Trends and the Return of Color Management

This article explores the increased interest in color management software among corporate and commercial printers. It cites research from InfoTrends to illuminate how more and more businesses are beginning to recognize the benefits of implementing a color management program.


NFIB Small Business Index Falls

The monthly NFIB Small Business Index took a step back after it nearly reached the pre-recession high. The chart shows that high of a few years ago as a green line. The index fell almost to the bottom of the 2003 recession level. For a few years the Index seemed range-bound between that recession and the lows of the recession of the early 1990s (the two red lines). This particular survey had all ten elements of its index fall, which is highly unusual. The Index bears watching as there are very few data series that follow small business activity.


ISA’s Sign Expo Goes Beyond "Sign and Display"

The International Sign Association’s Sign Expo took place last week in Las Vegas, NV. Richard Romano files his observations from the show.


Print Estimating & Quoting System Product Spotlight: arifiQ

Self-service is a growing preference among customers, pricing transparency is a feature of our online world, and speed is a growing differentiator in all aspects of our business. arifiQ has focused on a pivotal function of print – estimating/quoting; enabling printers to adapt to the new realities of our increasingly digital, online, and fast-paced business environment.


Print’s Representation at the MarTech Conference

MarTech – the Marketing Technology Conference took place March 31, 2015 in San Francisco. I attended to see how print is being represented within the modern marketing mix.


How MarTech Impacts Commercial Printing Business

Industry Analyst Junichiro Yamashita recently attended the MarTech Conference in San Francisco to learn about the latest trends in Marketing Technology (MarTech). He shares his thoughts with our readers about the opportunities and challenges MarTech provides for Commercial Printers.


Vistaprint Hits a Double with Global Acquisition Strategy – March 2015 M&A Activity

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


Online Marketing for Printers

You haven’t updated your website in over two years. You don’t remember if you have a LinkedIn page, you thought someone once tweeted something, and you recently had a customer complain about not being able to find you online.


HP’s New Single-Pass Printer Portfolio

Yesterday, on the eve of the opening of the ISA Sign Expo, HP took the opportunity to launch five new products in its high-end Latex and Scitex families. These are the HP Latex 370, the HP Scitex FB550 and FB750, HP Scitex 11000 Industrial Press, and HP Scitex 15500 Corrugated Press.


Are You Doing Your Part to Make Sure PRINT’S VOICE Is Being Heard in Washington?

Do you know about the joint NPES/PIA program for raising Print’s Voice in the Nation’s Capital? We all complain about Congress not getting anything done, but how many of US actually do anything about it? Here’s a great program that gets the word out about print and pokes at Congress to get stuff done.


Reinventing Your Business: It’s about Telling Your Story! (Premium Content)

Because of new and emerging technologies, today’s business owners face a whole new set of challenges. According to Josh Linkner’s book entitled The Road to Reinvention, the way that you position your company and communicate to your various audiences and target markets is a critical component of transforming your business. This article highlights real-world examples of how the art of storytelling can help accelerate businesses transformation.


Number of Employees per US Commercial Printing Establishment

The average number of employees in commercial printing establishments has declined over the years for many reasons. Among large printers, volumes of magazines, catalogs, inserts, and other long run length products produced on web offset and gravure presses have declined, leading to plant closures and consolidations. Desktop publishing shifted work to graphic designers, publishers, and other content creators. That, combined with direct-to-plate and digital printing have nearly eliminated the need for prepress departments. Presses require less staffing than older ones. In smaller printers, copies and digital printers have reduced the need for press operators. Other technologies, such as search engines, e-commerce, advances in administrative software have reduced employment in other functions. Even voice mail, cell phones, and e-mail have gradually reduced the number of staff required to run a printing business.


Adobe Tackles Next-Generation Digital Publishing with Summer Launch of Adobe Publish (Premium Content)

We’ve written a fair amount about digital publishing in this space since we believe it presents a good opportunity for new revenue streams for printing firms – not only for traditional publishing applications but increasingly for sales enablement and other enterprise dissemination of information. Adobe is about to take this to the next level with its summer launch of Adobe Publish.


Brother and Domino: An Important New Combination in Industrial Printing (Premium Content)

With its acquisition of Domino Printing Sciences, Brother Industries has made a strong move into industrial inkjet printing with applications including high-speed, full-color label production.


Data-Driven: Thriving Print Business in 2020

A data-driven print business starts with a trusted system of record and then as selected meaningful metrics that influence your business decisions and your staff’s daily behavior.


Find Big Challenges - The Sixth Rule of Social Selling

Your role is to enable your customers to meet their needs, grasp their opportunities, and defend against their threats. Whether you like it or not that’s how your customers see your role. If you’re not doing one of those three things, you’re a distracting and useless waste of time. Period.


“Dear Packaging, I Hate You”

When designers forget that that the product experience, not the act of opening the package, is what consumers are paying for, things can get stressful.


Earn Your Access – Fifth Rule of Social Selling

Direct, early access to the real decision-maker – not someone whose power is limited to saying “no,” but the person who has the authority to say the final “Yes” – It’s the Holy Grail for professional B2B salespeople. And it has gotten harder and harder to gain.


Is it Time to Reinvent Your Business? Can You Afford NOT To? (Premium Content)

The relentless pace of change is exacerbating the challenges that business owners face today. According to Josh Linkner’s book entitled The Road to Reinvention, leading companies are disrupting the status quo to achieve growth and economic gain. This article explores how businesses can take Linkner’s advice to avoid losing ground.


Know Your Wide Format Inks! (Premium Content)

Herein a basic primer on today’s ink options for wide-format printing, from solvent and eco-solvent to UV, from latex to dye-sublimation.


Enrich Your Network – Fourth Rule of Social Selling

One common trait is shared by all of the highest-performing salespeople I know. Each one works steadily and intentionally to increase his or her Sphere of Influence.


Winston Packaging Moves Into Its Second Century With a Speed Record and a Winning Game Plan

This North Carolina packaging printing firm has earned its place in a demanding market through stringent quality control, smart technology investments, and ultra-efficient production workflows.


Online Engagement: Thriving Print Business in 2020

The online channel is in the language of the customer and you have to compete to be found. These fundamental characteristics of this channel should drive your online presence at every level.


Sharpen Yourself! – The Third Rule of Social Selling

Some B2B salespeople I encounter baffle me. My work brings dozens of them across my path each year. There’s a significant segment who claim to desire and expect productive careers but who show almost no sign of investing in themselves. I don’t get it.


2nd Rule of Social Selling - Reject Funnelism

I have a confession to make. I’m not a Funnelist. I don’t worship at the altar of Funnelism. Never have. It's deadly. Ben Chestnut (founder of MailChimp) was right when he compared the “marketing funnel” to a meat grinder.


Sales and Marketing: An Investment, Not an Expense! (Premium Content)

Proactive sales and marketing investments are vital to growing and driving business results. Citing research from McKinsey and Company, this article explores strategies for building superior marketing and sales capabilities.


Real Interest Rates are Rising, Thanks to Low Inflation

The chart shows one of the rates for Treasury securities called the “constant maturity rate,” used to set rates for instruments like mortgages. The line in the chart is that monthly rate less the year-to-year change in the Consumer Price Index for that month. The Fed has worked hard to keep their interest rates below inflation to stimulate the economy, as well as make housing prices rise so that fewer mortgages were “under water.” It hasn't worked that well, but that's a different topic for a different day. But with all of the worries about the Fed raising rates, the combination of their inertia and changes in the inflation rate may be producing what they've wanted: a Seinfeldian case of “nothing” becoming something. At the end of 2011 the real rate in the chart was -3%, and the last observation in the chart is about +1.5%, a 450 basis point move. For about three years, the CPI has been below the Fed's target of 2%, and in December and January it was negative. February CPI was just reported as an annualized 2.4%, so this rate rise may disappear soon


Sustainable and Green: Do I Still Need to Worry About Compliance?

Standards for “green” or eco-friendly printed products and processes are still in flux, and don’t always gibe with environmental compliance reporting requirements. It pays to know what the differences are.


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