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Selling Print is Never Going Back to Normal

Sales is never going back to normal. The pandemic didn’t create anything new—it simply accelerated what was already happening. Evolve your sales team now; donuts and face to face meetings aren’t coming back.

Around the Web: Candy Cruise. Academic Apparel. Novel Notions. Susceptible Satellites. Listing Letters. Sustainable Sandwiches.

Candy chutes for social-distanced trick or treating. The International Library for Fashion Research set to open in Oslo. Clever but strange inventions from the early 20th century. What would we do without GPS? A new book traces the history of alphabetical order. (No, really.) Burger King tries out reusable packaging. RIP Ed Benguiat. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly track-and-tracing miscellany.

Reducing Costs through Cybersecurity

A sudden shift to digital workflows has created opportunity for cybercriminals to exploit unprepared businesses. This article puts forward three low-investment tips to help print companies prevent data breaches in 2020 and beyond.

Industry News

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A Passion for Fashion: Meet Class of 2020 Graduate Amelia Hughes

It’s always exciting and rewarding to view the launch of new careers in fashion design. In this week’s article, we share the story of recent graduate Amelia Hughes and her hopes for the future in an interview conducted by textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan.

The Question Print Sales People Must Be Prepared to Answer

A seasoned print buyer offers insight into what newly minted print salespeople often do wrong and what they need to do right instead.

Talking Textiles: The Supply Chain, Sustainability, and the Impact of Digital Technologies

The COVID-19 crisis has upended the fashion industry, but it has also given the industry an unprecedented opportunity to reinvent itself for the better. Texintel CEO Debbie McKeegan discusses the supply chain, sustainability, and the impact of digital technologies on textile production.

Corrugated Growth and Challenges Part 2: Design Opportunities and Cost Challenges

Growth projections from the pre-COVID forecast for digital print for packaging are just slightly below the initial 2019 forecast in the short term, while a longer-term forecast looks much more encouraging. However, moving from analog to digital production brings some challenges.

Smart Photo Books: An Interview with Michal Czaicki, CEO of Printbox

Smart photo books are the next major trend in the photo products market. In this article, sponsored by Enterprise Photo Product Software provider Printbox, CEO Michal Czaicki talks about this new product area, and Printbox’s new Smart Creation photo book designer.

A moment of levity. View Today's Dilbert Dilbert Cartoon Strip

Dilbert is brought to you by the hiring pros at PrintLink. PrintLink is the industry leader in Executive Search & Professional Placement.

Industry Data
Paperboard Container Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018
Paperboard Container Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018

In 2010, there were 2,205 establishments in NAICS 32221 (Paperboard Container Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined -11% to 1,961. In macro news, the American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score was up in September. This is a leading indicator for the economy in general, but also for the signage market in particular. Full Analysis

European Print Industry Snapshot: Belgium
European Print Industry Snapshot: Belgium

According to the Eurostat production index, the printing industry in Belgium did fairly well in 2019 and even during the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, despite the country being hit hard by the virus. Although production volumes in 2019 were down compared to 2015, Belgium did better than the European Union average in the production index for printing and recorded media. Full Analysis

August Printing Shipments—The Rebound Continues
August Printing Shipments—The Rebound Continues

In August 2020, printing shipments rose to $6.90 billion—the third straight month of increasing shipments—and while it’s still well below August 2019’s $7.52 billion, given where we came from, that ain’t bad. Full Analysis

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Recent Discussion

Robert Godwin on Selling Print is Never Going Back to Normal

Jen, Much of what you describe in regard to sales skills speaks to the culture of the company. If the shop has customers that communicate through online interactions then the shop has the skills you are discussing. If they don't have that customer… Full comment Reply

Robert Lindgren on Selling Print is Never Going Back to Normal

Jennifer says: "Imagine competing against a printer who has become experts at the medium (online meetings, video conferencing, demonstrations, collaboration). The optimization of this medium gives you a lot of options when it comes to team selling." … Full comment Reply

Robert Lindgren on The Question Print Sales People Must Be Prepared to Answer

Isn't the starting point in the conversation, the customer's own objectives and their accomplishment? While there may be situations where reducing the cost of doing exactly the same thing as they're doing now is the starting point, it's usually prefe… Full comment Reply

Dave Hultin on Selling Print is Never Going Back to Normal

Change is scary. Staying the same is scarier. Reply

Heidi Tolliver-Walker on The Question Print Sales People Must Be Prepared to Answer

Agreed. I think the buyer's point was not that the salesperson be limited to his or her company's sweet spot, but that if you don't even know that sweet spot, there isn't really a starting point for a productive conversation. Reply


WhatTheyThink Magazine is the resource for the Commercial Printing, Visual and Graphic Arts Industries. Industry experts share their ideas and technical knowledge on ways to improve operations.

WhatTheyThink publishes 2 editions of the magazine: Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage. Subscription are free to qualified industry professionals or via paid subscription.